nl en

Introduction to Statistics


Admission requirements

Required course(s):



Whether you realize it or not, statistics is a part of your everyday life. Increased awareness and literacy in statistics provides the opportunity to be a more informed citizen and consumer, a more critical analyst of research, and creates opportunities for more effective communication with data. This course is meant to improve your ability to understand and communicate with data that matters in the real world, as well as critically reflect on the limitations and challenges of data analysis and its social impact. You will need to apply these careful and reflective data analysis skills in other courses during your education at LUC and perhaps even in your everyday life now and in the future. Whether you have had a statistics course before or whether the concepts are new to you, this course is an opportunity to develop your skills to understand presented data, as well as effectively communicate and analyzing data using statistical techniques.

The course assumes no prior knowledge of statistics, but participants who are less confident about their mathematical skills or less familiar with basic statistics should plan to spend additional time preparing for class using posted videos and readings.

Course Objectives

After successful completion of this course, students are able to:

1. Understand the options for describing and presenting data
2. Understand basic principles of statistical inference
3. Critically reflect on the power and limitations of data analysis

4. Apply statistical reasoning to real world examples
5. Effectively summarize data using descriptive statistics, tables, and graphs
6. Interpret and critically evaluate presentation of data and analysis in graphs and tables
7. Perform basic data description and analysis using the R software environment


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2023-2024 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The course will involve interactive sessions to practice interpreting, analyzing, and displaying data from real world examples. Some of the conceptual learning will be done though online videos and readings. This learning will be reinforced through its application in in-class activities and discussions, which means that it is vital that students come to class prepared. Students will practice running analysis each week in the R software environment.

Assessment Method

  • Weekly quizzes, partially based on problem sets – 6% each, Five quizzes during weeks 2-7 (Learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5)

  • R Lab assignments – 15%, Weeks 1-6 (Learning outcomes 4, 5, 6, 7)

  • Group project – 10%, Week 7 (Learning outcomes 4, 5, 6, 7)

  • Final exam – 45%, Week 8 (Learning outcomes 1 - 7)

Reading list

The required textbook is:

  • Foster, Liam; Diamond, Ian; and Jefferies, Julie. 2015. Beginning Statistics: An Introduction for Social Scientists. 2nd edition. SAGE.

Additional readings and videos will be posted on the Brightspace page.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Kristin Makszin,


Preparation for first session:
Check Brightspace for videos and readings. Read the syllabus.