Statistical Science


Practical Statistics for Medical Research

Medical Statistics Short Course: 14 - 17 June 2022


COVID-19 Notice

Owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the next Practical Statistics for Medical Research (PSMR) course will run online.

About the course

Medical statistics plays an essential role in all stages of a quantitative health care research project from design through to analysis and interpretation. This intensive course covers the essential principles and methods required. Emphasis is on study design, appropriate analysis, and interpretation of results. The underlying concepts of statistical analysis as well as basic and some more advanced analysis techniques are covered. Sessions include lectures and practical work, both computer based (using Stata) and using small workshops for discussion. The course has been running for more than 30 years and is taught by experienced medical statisticians.

Note: The workshops will now be taught using Stata (not R).

Organisers and Tutors

The course is jointly organised by UCL Statistical Science and the UCL Joint Research Office. The main speakers and tutors are: Prof Rumana Omar, Dr Gareth Ambler, Dr Julie Barber, and Dr Menelaos Pavlou (UCL Statistical Science) and Prof Ian White and Prof Andrew Copas (UCL and MRC CTU at UCL).

Dates and times

14 - 17 June 2022.  Registration will start at 9:00 on the Tuesday and the course will end by 13:00 on the Friday.

Course objectives

The course aims to teach health care researchers the essential elements of research methodology and statistics. The focus is mainly on interpretation and understanding appropriate methodology.

At the end of the course the participants will have gained an understanding of:

  • The various design possibilities for a research project, and the important considerations for observational studies and randomised trials
  • The types of data generated in research studies
  • The most common methods of analysis for categorical and continuous data, including regression methods and survival analysis
  • When particular methods are appropriate and how to interpret their results
  • Reviewing and appraising published research

Who should attend?

The course is relevant to all health care professionals or anyone in the health care field who needs to understand, use or carry out health care research studies. Material covered is of an introductory and intermediate level and provides some references and foundation for more advanced techniques. The course assumes a familiarity with the statistical terms used in the medical literature (e.g. P-values and confidence intervals) but does not assume any deep understanding.

Course content

The course is structured into a number of teaching sessions per day, most consisting of lectures followed by a computer workshop. Discussion is very much encouraged. 

The following topics are covered:

Day 1Day 2 Day 3Day 4 
Introduction to Data AnalysisComparing Groups of Categorical DataFurther Regression TopicsAnalysis of Correlated Data
Design of Observational StudiesRisk, Rates and OddsLogistic RegressionAdvanced Issues in Trials
Design of Randomised TrialsComparing Groups of Continuous DataMissing DataSample Size Calculations
Overview of Study DesignCorrelation and Linear RegressionAnalysis of Survival Data 
Estimation and Hypothesis Testing   

Comments from previous participants

  • "I was after an overview of statistics so that I could better understand and interpret what it is I read in medical journals and this course was perfect." 
  • "Maintained my interest throughout, engaging speakers, incredibly well designed course." 
  • "I wish I'd been taught this well at medical school!"
  • "I have been taught Statistics many times in my undergraduate and post graduate studies but this is the first time that I have actually managed to understand it and feel confident to apply it! Thank you
  • "I have enjoyed the course even though I don't like Statistics!"
  • "I really enjoyed the course and feel much more confident than I did before I started."
  • "The pacing and practical work suited all levels of ability and I feel I really consolidated my overall knowledge throughout the week."
  • "Inspiring and a real treat, good enthusiastic teachers, superlative in all respects"
  • "Practicals very well designed, tutors extremely patient and helpful"
  • "As a surgeon my aim was to get an understanding of which statistics to use for certain studies. I think the course has done this well"
  • "Very improved understanding of overwhelming statistical theory… course very well organised"
  • "This is the best medical statistics course I have attended"
  • "Please think very hard before trying to "improve" this marvellous, no-nonsense, no mumbo-jumbo statistics course!"

Recommended reading

Books recommended as good accompaniments to the course and for background or further reading are:

  • D.G. Altman Practical Statistics for Medical Research Chapman and Hall
  • J.M. Bland An Introduction to Medical Statistics Oxford
  • B.R. Kirkwood and J.A. Sterne Essential Medical Statistics Blackwell


    This course is accredited with 21 CPD points from the Royal College of Physicians. Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of attendance.

    Course fee

    The course is now full.


    The course will be held online.