Statistics for Non-Specialists


An introduction to the theory of statistics to non-specialists.

The method of Ordinary Least Squares will be discussed as will the notion of correlation. The theory of probability will be developed including: conditional probability and mutually exclusive events. Discrete and continuous probability distributions will also be investigated and applied to real world problems. Inferential statistics will also be introduced calculating 95% and 99% confidence intervals and performing hypothesis tests. The chi squared distribution will also be applied to contingency tables and to goodness of fit models.

Programme details

Course starts: 17 Jan 2024

Week 0: Course orientation.

Week 1: Variables and graphs.

Week 2: Frequency distributions and measures of central tendency.

Week 3: The standard deviation and measures of dispersion.

Week 4: The method of Ordinary Least Squares, correlation coefficients.

Week 5: Elementary probability theory, the normal distribution and confidence intervals.

Week 6: The binomial, normal and Poisson distributions.

Week 7: Sampling theory and the central limit theorem.

Week 8: Statistical estimation theory and hypothesis testing.

Week 9: The chi squared distribution.

Week 10: Contingency tables and the F-distribution.

Digital Certification

To complete the course and receive a certificate, you will be required to attend and participate in at least 80% of the live sessions on the course and pass your final assignment. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so.


Description Costs
Course Fee £257.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Vasos Pavlika

Dr Vasos Pavlika is a Associate Professor (Teaching) at UCL and Saturday School lecturer at the LSE. He has been a lecturer in the Department for Continuing Education, Oxford for several years. Vasos also teaches the History of Science and the History of Mathematics  at the Institute of Continuing Education, Cambridge. Vasos is also an Online Tutor at SOAS (University of London in M.Sc modules in Mathematical Finance) an Online Tutor at Goldsmiths College (University of London in B.Sc modules in Computer Science) and an Online Tutor in Mathematics with the Open University. 

Course aims

  • To introduce measures of central tendency.
  • To discuss the theory of probability.
  • To introduce regression and correlation. 

Course Objectives:

  • To introduce correlation and regression.
  • To introduce probability theory.
  • To discuss the theory of sampling.

Teaching methods

Students will have access to a pre-recorded lecture to be watched in advance of the weekly online session.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected:

  • to comprehend measures of location and and of dispersion;
  • to understand the method of ordinary least squares;
  • to comprehend inferential statistics.

After attending this course, students will:

  • be able to linearise data and to use regression techniques on data provided
  • be able to solve problems on probability using the Poisson and binomial distributions as well as many other probability distributions;
  • be able to determine confidence intervals and perform hypothesis tests

Assessment methods

The students will given "Warm Up" exercises (tutorial exercises) based on the previous lecture's material at the beginning of each week and one portfolio exercise (in week 5) that will count towards the award of the 10 CATS points.

A set of exercises (an assignment) will be set in week 5 which will constitute the assessment for the award of the 10 CATs points. Alternatively the students can submit a portfolio of exercises which will arise from solving the homework exercises that will be set at the end of each week. 

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


We will close for enrolments 7 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (7 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an enrolment form (Word) or enrolment form (Pdf).

Level and demands

Before attending this course, prospective students will:

  • know how to use a scientific calculator;
  • be familiar with elementary statistics e.g. mean, median, mode and range/spread;
  • understand the basics of probability as the theory of chance.

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)