Due to the Corona virus education methods or examination can deviate. For the latest news please check the course page in Brightspace.


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Introduction to R


Entry requirements

Only open to Psychology Master student and Research Master student (not available for students with specialisation Methodology and Statistics in Psychology).


R is a popular statistical programming environment, which provides a wide variety of statistical analysis tools, like data manipulation, model construction, simulations, and visualization. It can be used as data analysis software, but also as an effective programming language. In addition, R is available as Free Software, underlying code can be viewed and the researcher can make changes to suit his needs. Due to this open nature, R is highly flexible and can easily be extended, either by adding packages or programming new functions. Therefore R contains an ever-growing large collection of tools for data analysis, making it the primary tool of many researchers and a cutting edge environment for statisticians.

This course will give an introduction to R and computational statistics, handing a toolkit of theory and practice of the environment, making it both possible to use R in a variety of statistical analysis, and creating a base for acquiring further knowledge and skill.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student:

  • Knows how to use R and its environment and how to get help;

  • Knows how to handle simple data and functions;

  • Knows how to handle complex data and functions;

  • Knows how to handle graphs;

  • Knows how to handle different data analyses;

  • Knows how to program in R;

  • Knows how to do matrix algebra in R;

  • Knows how to find the optimum of a function; and

  • Knows how to perform Monte Carlo simulation and re-sampling.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis.
You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from early August. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December. The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC)

By registering for a course you are also automatically registered for the Brightspace module. Anyone who is not registered for a course therefore does not have access to the Brightspace module and cannot participate in the first sit of the exam of that course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Mode of instruction

The course consists of self-study modules and about 8 online meetings in different compositions.

Assessment method

Asssessment for this course consists of 2 home assignments. The final grade is a weighted average of these 2 graded assignments.
The final assignment forms the basis of an online oral examination.

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

Manuals and articles are available from Brightspace during the course.

Contact information

Dr. Frank Busing (first semester) busing@fsw.leidenuniv.nl
Dr. Julian Karch (second semester) j.d.karch@fsw.leidenuniv.nl