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SAS (General Statistical)

Statistical analysis software

Functionality Background Licence availabiity, restrictions
and links to distributor
SAS is an enormous suite of tools and programs, supported by a fourth generation programming language and advanced database and data warehousing tools. It provides advanced statistical tools which, together with its programming language, allow a professional statistician to develop and conduct virtually any analysis. It also provides very advanced data mining tools. Indeed, it is one of the suites of tools that are driving the analysis of ‘big data’ within the public and private sectors, lying at the heart of the analytics movement. In short, there is very little that the full SAS suite cannot do, but it has a steep learning curve.

SAS has its origins in agricultural statistics programs developed at North Carolina State University in the 1960s. Set up as a private company, the SAS Institute is now one of the world’s biggest providers of statistical and operational research software with profits nearing $3billion. Its software is used throughout the (commercial) research community, business and industry.

The USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a number of other research funders and regulatory bodies often require the use of SAS data analysis programs within their protocols.

The university subscribes to the Academic Analysis suite and “SAS/OR” – an advanced analytics product. Made available through a CHEST site licence, including home use rights for staff and students. This software is for research only. Now available as a free download from ITS:
The SAS Institute website ( provides a range of support, but tending to supporting advanced SAS users rather than beginners.



Note on General Purpose Statistical Packages:

Broadly, these packages offer the user an easy way of applying standard estimation, confidence interval and hypothesis testing techniques to general data, usually input in the form of a spreadsheet.

Please share your experiences and examples of how you have used this software by leaving a comment below, to help others choose the right software for their research requirements.