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Statistics for Computer Scientists


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


Statistics is the science concerning the description and analysis of data, with the aim to draw generally valid conclusions. Statistics forms the core of many methods in data science and artificial intelligence, making it an essential foundation for other courses (e.g., machine learning, data mining).

The focus of the course is on thoroughly understanding and correctly applying statistical methods, not on the formal justification or derivation of those methods. We consider both descriptive statistics, i.e., methods for describing a given collection of data, and inferential statistics, i.e., methods for inferring properties of a population based on a limited yet respresentative sample.

The course introduces the necessary basic concepts (probability, random variables, statistics, parameters, probability distributions, inference, point and interval estimates, hypothesis testing), various inference methods for specific parameters (e.g., for a single mean or proportion, for two samples, for correlelation, ...), and methods for constructing predictive models (linear regression).

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students should be able to correctly analyse data using statistical methods. This requires knowledge of and experience with
1. a variety of statistical methods for estimation and hypothesis testing;
2. the types of questions that can be answered using these statistical methods;
3. knowing how to correctly apply those methods; and
4. knowing how to correctly interpret the outcomes of statistical analyses.
In addition, students should be able to describe both the importance and the limitations of statistics from a broader scientific and societal perspective.


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

One 2-hour lecture and one 2-hour tutorial per week.

Assessment method

  • There will be an in-person written, open-book exam.

  • During the semester there will be two assignments that are to be submitted via Brightspace.

  • The assignments are not mandatory, do not have any resit possibilities, and grades from previous years cannot be used.

  • Final grade F will be computed as
    F = max(E, 0.1 A + 0.9 E),
    where E is the grade for the exam and A is the average of the grades for the two assignments.

The teacher will inform the students how the inspection of and follow-up discussion of the exams will take place.

Reading list

  • Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences, Global Edition – Fifth Edition, Alan Agresti, Pearson Education, ISBN 9781292220314. Needed for tutorials and open-book exam, hence having a physical copy is mandatory. (Pearson New International Edition – Fourth Edition, ISBN 9781292021669 is also allowed.)

  • The slides that will be published via Brightspace.


Register with MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information. Exemptions are minor students and fall semester for 1st year bachelor students: the student administration will enroll these groups for courses.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Marieke Vinkenoog

Matthijs van Leeuwen