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Statistics & Data Science (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 behavioural sciences.

How can we model the spread of a virus? How do global events affect people's wellbeing? How effective is a vaccine? 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 behavioural sciences. It is open to students with a variety of backgrounds, both in the applied domains (e.g. psychology, biology, medicine), and in more fundamental domains like mathematics and statistics. Our programme aims to educate multidisciplinary researchers and professionals who can combine theory and practice. The programme consists of a core programme shared by all students, elective courses, and a thesis project. Ultimately, 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 programme Statistics & Data Science.

Discover why our students choose the Statistics & Data 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 provide for a thorough preparation for a career as a data scientist, researcher or statistician anywhere, be it in industry, government or academics. 
  • The focus of this master is on applications in life sciences and behavioural sciences, such as biology, agriculture, medicine, biomedical sciences, psychology and other social sciences.
  • 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. Not only is our programme accessible  to students with  a bachelor's degree in sciences like statistics or mathematics, but also to students with  a bachelor’s degree in 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, and want to dedicate yourself to applying such knowledge in the life and behavioural sciences. You should also enjoy teamwork, as many applied statisticians and data scientists work as consultants in interdisciplinary teams. Therefore, a good knowledge of English, both written and spoken is essential as you will be taught to communicate technical results in a clear and comprehensive way. Moreover, you should like to work with computers, as advances in computing, optimization and simulation also drive much current research in statistics and data science. 

Be aware that the programme focusses on applications in the life and behavioural sciences.  It does NOT cover topics as financial or business analytics and you will not be trained to become a business intelligence analyst or computer engineer.

Regardless of your background and your reasons for choosing this programme, with the growing importance of data in modern society, you will 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 studying at Leiden University or student life in Leiden? Do you want more information about the Statistics & Data Science programme? Chat with a current student for answers to your questions!

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