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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This highly regarded course will take your understanding of statistics to the next level and provide you with the skills and confidence to analyse your complex biological data. Through a combination of lectures, computer based practicals and group work you will gain an understanding of how to deal with pervasive issues in the analysis of real world biological data such as heterogeneity of variance and spatial and temporal non-independence. Hands on computer tutorials will allow you to apply statistical models using modern statistical software (R) to real data, collected by researchers to answer real biological questions.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Alex Douglas

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

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Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course will be divided into themed weeks during which you will gain experience in understanding complex sampling methodologies and dealing with pervasive issues in the analysis of real world biological data. You will be taught using a combination of lectures, computer practicals and directed group work and emphasis will be placed on the practical implementation of various modelling strategies using the statistical programming environment R.

Weeks 1 and 2: Following a recap of linear models, you will be introduced to some the limitations of using standard linear models for analysing biological data and gain experience in identifying common issues arising from model misspecification. During this week you will focus on dealing with the common issue of heterogeneity of variance using a generalised least squares (GLS) approach.

Weeks 3 and 4: During this week you will learn how to fit models which can account for correlated data arising from repeated measurements from the same sampling unit or from sampling units that are not spatially independent. You will learn to extend the GLS approach introduced in week 1 to model this non-independence.

Weeks 5 and 6: The final weeks will bring together concepts introduced during the first two weeks and introduce you to analysing data from complex experimental or survey designs using the linear mixed effects modelling framework.

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 3 Computer Practicals during University week13
  • 5 Computer Practicals during University weeks 14 - 18
  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 13 - 15

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

Individual Report (100%)

Resit: Resubmission of failed individual elements of continuous assessment

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Written, individualised feedback; formative feedback throughout practical sessions of the course

Course Learning Outcomes


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