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Introduction to Life and Behavioral Sciences


Admission requirements



Emphasis, in this course, is on the biological and psychological subject matter knowledge needed to understand statistical applications in these areas and on how statistical methodology contributes to the progress in the life and behavioral sciences. Six themes will be highlighted. Part of each theme is a visit to a research institute, where an overview of the area is given together with examples of statistical applications. Additional biological or psychological background knowledge of the areas is provided by self-study of articles and book chapters.

The themes include:

  • Clinical research (visit to LUMC/Center of Human Drug Research / Astellas)

  • Epidemiology and Observational Medical Research (visit to LUMC)

  • Plant/animal/human genetics and genomics (visit to Department of Plant Science and Department of Animal Science, Wageningen University)

  • Psychometrics and Educational Testing (Instituut voor Toetsontwikkeling (CITO))

  • Forensic applications (a visit to or from the Netherlands Forensic Institute)

  • Statistical applications in the Environmental Sciences (visit to Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University)

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to introduce students to important areas of application of statistical methods in the Life and Behavioral Sciences.

Mode of Instruction

The course consists of a series of lectures and visits to research institutes.

Time Table

For the course days, course location and class hours check the Time Table under the
tab “Statsci Students —> Program Schedule” at

Not all of the course days will be used for class, the specific dates will be announced during at the start of the course

Assessment method

An oral exam based on a written paper.

An oral exam of 20 minutes with two of the three teachers in which the student will be asked to defend her/his written paper. For dates of the exam see the Time Table under the tab “Masters Programme” at

The student is requested to write a paper on an application area of his or her own choice covering at least the following points:

  1. a description of typical research questions in the application area
  2. a description of the statistical methodology used to help answering these typical research questions,
  3. a discussion about the contribution of the statistical methodology to answering these research question in the application area,
  4. a comparison of the use of statistics in the application area with that in one or more of the other application areas covered in the course.

The paper should contain about 2000 words (excluding figures, tables, references) and should be sent by email to all teachers not later than 5 days before the date of the exam.

Lecture attendance is obligatory in the whole course. Details concerning this obligation will be announced at the first day of the course.

Date information about the exam and resit can be found in the Time Table pdf document under the tab “Masters Programme” at The room and building for the exam will be announced on the electronic billboard, to be found at the opposite of the entrance, the content can also be viewed here.

Course Registration

Enroll in Blackboard for the course materials and course updates.

To be able to obtain a grade and the ECTS for the course, sign up for the (re-)exam in uSis ten calendar days before the actual (re-)exam will take place. Note, the student is expected to participate actively in all activities of the program and therefore uses and registers for the first exam opportunity.

Course Materials

Literature will be specified during the course, no books are required.

Course information

T [dot] Stijnen [at] lumc [dot] nl


  • This is a compulsory course in the Master’s programme of the specialisation Statistical Science for the Life & Behavioural sciences.