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Statistical Science for the Life and Behavioural Sciences (MSc)

This two-year master’s programme provides you with a thorough introduction to the general philosophy and methodology of statistical modelling, data analysis and data science, with a focus on applications in the life and behavioral sciences.

Please note: This master programme is undergoing reconstruction. From September 1st, 2021, there will be no specialisations. All students will have the same core programme that includes courses in both statistics & data science and can specialise by choosing elective courses. The new name of the programme will be Statistics & Data Science. More information will be communicated via this website later.

How can we model the spread of a virus? How effective do we think a vaccine is? What is the uncertainty of that estimate? These are pertinent questions in today's society that you can answer with statistics, but the applications are much broader than that: How does your phone recognize your face? How can an algorithm better diagnose cancer than a doctor? How can you draw conclusions from the expression of thousands of genes? A formal education in Statistics & Data Science will equip you with the skills to answer complicated questions like these, both in industry and academia.

Helena van Eijk


Helena van Eijk

The skill-set I acquired during my education was very useful, and also directed at the academic world. I had to find the link between academic knowledge and the business world. At the moment I am not actively carrying out statistical analyses, but my background in for instance analytical skills is appreciated very much. I would advise students to learn how to link your education to practical needs. For instance by gaining experience in business during your studies.

What does this master’s programme entail?

The two-year master’s programme in Statistics & Data Science provides you with a thorough introduction to the general philosophy and methodology of statistical modelling and data analysis, with a focus on applications in the life and behavioral sciences. It is open to students with a variety of backgrounds, both in the applied domains   (e.g. psychology, biology, medicine), and in quantitative domains like  mathematics and statistics. It aims to educate multidisciplinary researchers and professionals that can combine theory and application. The programme consists of a core programme shared by all students, elective courses, and an internship and thesis. The electives allow you to specialize in a research or application domain.
The programme acquired the European Master of Official Statistics (EMOS) label, and is a member of the network of 32 certified European master's programmes in statistics.

Read more about the Statistics & Data Science.

Discover why our students choose the Statistical Science master's programme

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Why study Statistics & Data Science at Leiden University?

  • This programme is a joint collaboration between three faculties of Leiden University: The Faculty of Science (FWN), the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) and the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Science (FSW), and the Biometris institute of Wageningen University & Research (WUR). 
  • We are a certified master's programme. If you choose the European Master in Official Statistics (EMOS) core module elective, you can obtain an internationally recognized certification as a statistician, on top of your master's degree.
  • Specialized electives offer you a unique combination of knowledge and expertise. These allow for a thorough preparation for a career as a data scientist, researcher or statistician anywhere, be it in industry or academe.
  • Job perspectives are great: Statisticians and data scientists are highly sought after in various fields, including: health care, industry, universities, marketing, government, official statistics, bioinformatics and more.
  • We welcome students from a wide variety of backgrounds. Our programme is not only open if you have a bachelor's degree in sciences like statistics or mathematics, but also if you are a bachelor graduate from the application domains such as psychology, biology or biomedical sciences, as long as you have a sufficient basis in quantitative methods.    

Find more reasons to choose Statistics & Data Science.

Statistics & Data Science: the right master’s programme for you?

You are a potential candidate if you like mathematics and statistics, you want to work on real world problems, you like to work with data, and have interests in applications in the life and behavioral sciences. You should also enjoy team work as many applied statisticians and data scientists work as consultants in interdisciplinary teams. And you should  like to work with computers as advances in computing, optimization and simulation also drive much current research in statistics. Regardless of your background and your reasons for choosing this programme, with the growing importance of data within our society, you’ll be in high demand with a degree in Statistics & Data Science. 

Read more about the entry requirements for Statistics & Data Science.

Chat with a student

Do you have a question about student life in Leiden, studying under COVID-19 measures, or do you want to hear firsthand experience about the Statistics & Data Science master? You can get in contact with a student directly!

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