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ST332: Medical Statistics

Lecturer(s): Professor Jane Hutton

Important: If you decide to take ST332 you cannot then take ST409. Bear this in mind when planning your module selection. Recall: an integrated Masters student must take at least 120 CATS of level 4+ modules over their 3rd & 4th years.

Commitment: 3 lectures/week. This module runs in Term 2.

Prerequisite(s): Either ST218/219 Mathematical Statistics A&B or ST220 Introduction to Mathematical Statistics

Content: Modern applications of statistics to medicine are highly developed. A look at almost any medical journal reveals that a substantial proportion of medical research papers employ statistical techniques. Large numbers of statisticians are employed in medical research establishments, particularly in the pharmaceutical companies and the medical schools, and medical statistics continues to be the most buoyant area for statistical recruitment. Although the course will cover some topics of a specifically medical nature, much of the work will be discussing basic statistical techniques as applied to medical data, but which could equally well be applied to data arising in other applications. Thus, whilst medicine provides the focus of the course, it could also be viewed as a more general applied statistics course. The course will explain why and how statistics is used in medicine, and study some of the statistical methods commonly used in medical research. Examples and case studies in areas such as cancer, heart disease and psychiatry will be discussed.

  • Generalised linear models: linear models as an extension of linear regression; analysis of binary data by logistic regression; analysis of counts and proportions. Two by two tables.
  • Study designs: cohort, case-control and survey designs; randomised clinical trials; sample size and power; conditioning and covariance adjustment.
  • Analysis of censored survival data: life tables; hazard and survival functions; Kaplan-Meier survival curves; parametric survival models, the proportional hazards regression model.

Aims: To introduce applications of statistics in medicine, and some of the statistical methods commonly used in medical research.


  • To appreciate the role of statistics in medical research.
  • To understand some of the statistical principles of good practice in medical investigations.
  • To understand how to use and interpret some of the statistical techniques used in medical data analysis.


  • A.J.Dobson, “An introduction to generalised linear models”;
  • D.G.Altman, “Practical statistics for medical research”;
  • D.Collett, “Modelling survival data in medical research”. (All Chapman & Hall)

Assessment: 20% by coursework (group project), 80% by 2-hour examination.

Deadline: Group project: Week 2 (Term 3).

Feedback: Feedback on the group projects will be returned after 2 weeks, following submission.

You may also wish to see:

ST332: Resources for Current Students
(restricted access)