Introduction to Statistics

Our Introduction to Statistics course, one of the online medical courses offered through the MSc Epidemiology program developed by the UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University, will provide you with a basic understanding of statistics. Geared towards people studying and working in the health domain, the course will enable you to interpret research data, and to explain and use different types of variables. The aim of the course is to bring all students, irrespective of their prior knowledge, up to the necessary level to enable them to participate in other statistical courses. In order to achieve this aim, you will be tested on your statistical knowledge at the start of the course. The results will give you an insight into your own statistical strengths and weaknesses, enabling us to provide you with specific advice on how best to participate in the course. Introduction to Statistics is part of MSc Epidemiology Postgraduate Online; the online MSc program in Epidemiology offered by Utrecht University, University Medical Center Utrecht, MSc Epidemiology and Elevate Health

Learning objectives

By the end of the Introduction to Statistics course, you will be able to:

  • Explain and use the different types of variables: quantitative (numerical) vs. qualitative (non-numerical) with their corresponding sub-types (continuous, discrete, ordinal, non-ordinal)
  • Summarize data in a graphical and numerical way, using measures of location and dispersion

In particular, you will be able to:

  • Interpret data that is presented both graphically and numerically
  • Calculate the different types of frequency measures: 'absolute', 'relative' and 'cumulative' frequency
  • Calculate (standard) normal probabilities for, and apply standardization formula to, normally distributed data
  • Calculate binomial probabilities
  • Apply the principle of statistical inference from sample to population
  • Perform simple statistical analysis in the statistical packages SPSS and R

Course topics

  • Discrete outcomes
  • Binomial probability distribution
  • Continuous outcomes
  • The normal probability distribution
  • Central Limit Theorem
  • Statistical inference (estimation and hypothesis testing)

Learning methods

The whole course will take place online, apart from the final exam. The following learning methods will be used:

  • Web lectures You will start each new topic with a web lecture on the content from one of our content experts.
  • Exercises You will do exercises on the course topics selected by the content expert. After you have finished the exercises, you will be given the answer key and have the possibility to ask questions.
  • Group discussions These will help you to find answers to questions you have or that are asked by others. The e-moderator will always be on hand to help guide the discussion in the right direction.

Course Deadlines

Week 0
Sunday before start date - introduce yourself Week 1
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 1 and 2 Week 2
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 3 and 4 Week 3
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 5 and 6 Week 4
Monday – final exam


This Introduction to Statistics course includes a multiple-choice exam, which is the only part of the course that is not online. The exam dates can be found on the website of Elevate.

If you are able and willing to take the exam in Utrecht, the Netherlands, we are available to proctor the exam for you without any costs. If you have to take the exam from a different location, you need a proctor. This proctor may ask you to pay for their expenses. The exam is not compulsory. However, if you want to receive the Course Certificate and the credits, it is obligatory to take the exam. You are allowed to redo the exam once. The re-examination date will be announced as soon as possible after the initial examination.


An Introduction to Statistics is a university course, it is covered by academic accreditation. Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive a recognized certificate from Utrecht University and the UMC Utrecht.

Entry requirements

To enroll in this course, you need:

  • An academic (university) level of thinking
  • Access to the computer programs SPSS & R
  • The Cast e-book
  • We will use the Introductory statistics (biometrics) e-book for the statistical theory. For extra practice material, you can use the Exercises e-book. (Note that to make full use of CAST you have to have JAVA installed on your computer.)
  • Sufficient proficiency in English reading and writing

Please note
As this is an online course, you do need access to an internet connection in order to be able to follow lectures, complete assignments and communicate with fellow participants. (The only part of the course that is not online is the examination.) This course is offered through the MSc Epidemiology program developed by the UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University.

The course is offered by Course101 As part of the following program:

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Last updated October 10, 2018
This course is Online
Start Date
3 weeks
385 EUR
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