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Study designs in the Life and Behavioral Sciences


Admission requirements



A good study design is very important as poorly designed studies may yield misleading results. In this course study designs both for experimental studies (where an investigator is actively intervening) and for observational studies are considered. Applications are in agricultural, social and bio-medical sciences. A selection of the topics included is:

  • Experimental designs

  • Optimal designs

  • Sample size calculation

  • Randomized clinical trials

  • Follow-up studies

  • Case-control studies

  • Bias and confounding

  • Survey sampling

Course objectives

Obtain knowledge on the most common study designs statisticians cope with in the life & behavioral sciences.

Mode of Instruction

Class time will consist of lectures and class discussion of assigned readings and homework problems.

Time Table

See the Leiden University students' website for the Statistical Science programme -> Schedules 2018-2019

Assessment method

Written Exam, plus obligatory assignments, which are graded as pass/fail. A student needs a pass for all assignments. The final grade will be the grade of the written exam.

Date information about the exam and resit can be found in the Time Table pdf document under the tab “Masters Programme” at T.B.A. 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

Reading List

  • Friedman LM, Furberg CD, and DeMets D L. Fundamentals of Clinical Trials. Springer-Verlag, New York. 4th edition. 2010 (e-book available at university library).

  • Welham SJ, Gezan SA, Clark SJ, Mead A. Statistical Methods in Biology: Design and Analysis of Experiments and Regression. Chapman and Hall/CRC. 2014

  • Internet material provided during the course

Course Registration

Enroll in Blackboard for the course materials and course updates.

To be able to obtain a grade and the EC 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.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

s [dot] le [underscore] cessie [at] lumc [dot] nl


  • This is a compulsory course of the Master Statistical Science for the Life and Behavioural sciences.