MSc Medical Statistics (pre-course info)

General welcome

I am delighted to welcome you to LSHTM and to the MSc Medical Statistics. We hope that you will find studying with us to be an enjoyable and stimulating experience. The year ahead will be very full, but exciting. LSHTM has a diverse student population from a wide range of backgrounds, and teaching staff who are all active researchers in their field. You will find that you will learn a lot from each other as well as from formal teaching.

If you have any questions or problems then please email me at and I will do all I can to help.

Kathy Baisley, Programme Director

Welcome Week

Welcome Week timetable

In addition to School-wide sessions, there will be a specific introduction to the MSc Medical Statistics. Further sessions during the week will introduce you to the staff, MSc and LSHTM.  Our formal teaching also begins in Welcome Week, with the first two sessions of Foundations of Medical Statistics, and the first session of Introduction to Statistical Computing.

Please note that all new students, including those studying part-time, are expected to attend this first week in full.

Personal tutors

At the start of the programme you will be allocated a personal tutor whom you will meet regularly with throughout the year. This tutor will support you throughout the programme discussing and advising you on academic and pastoral matters (if needed). Where possible we try to match personal tutors to the student’s background and areas of interest. To enable us to do this as effectively as possible, we ask that you complete this brief survey to give us an overview of your background and interests by Wednesday 21 September.

Term 1

Term 1 starts on Monday 26 September and runs until Friday 16 December. There is a one-week ‘reading week’ with no teaching sessions scheduled from Monday 7 - Friday 11 November.

During Term 1, you will study five compulsory modules. In three of these, you will be studying with other Medical Statistics students only; in the other two, you will be studying alongside students from other MSc programmes. All Term 1 formal teaching takes place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday are generally free for self-directed study; however, we may hold occasional online question-and-answer (Q&A) sessions on Wednesday mornings.

Most modules will have pre-recorded lectures, a number of live practical sessions and Q&A sessions. The practical sessions will be delivered in person; the Q&A sessions will be delivered either in person and online. It is expected that all students will have listened to the associated pre-recorded lecture before attending each practical session.

A broad draft Term 1 timetable for full-time study is given below.

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
AM Foundations of Medical Statistics Basic Epidemiology   Introduction to Statistical Computing Introduction to Statistical Computing
PM Foundations of Medical Statistics Foundations of Medical Statistics   Clinical Trials Introduction to Statistical Computing

Reading week

AM Foundations of Medical Statistics Basic Epidemiology   Foundations of Medical Statistics / Robust Statistical Methods Foundations of Medical Statistics / Robust Statistical Methods
PM Foundations of Medical Statistics Foundations of Medical Statistics   Clinical Trials Introduction to Statistical Computing
Terms 2 and 3

In Terms 2 and 3, you will study three compulsory modules, and two modules where you will have some choice. You will make your module choices during Term 1. Although most Medical Statistics students study the two recommended options (Analysis of Hierarchical and Other Dependent Data, and Advanced Statistical Modelling), there are several other modules that you may choose from. Your tutor and the Programme Director will guide you and help you make the right decision. Most of the Terms 2 and 3 teaching takes place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, although some modules may have teaching sessions on Wednesdays.

Summer project

During June – August, all students undertake a summer research project for submission in early September. Medical Statistics projects usually involve the analysis of real life data from a clinical trial or epidemiological study. Occasionally, students will undertake a more methodological project which may involve simulations.

A list of potential project will be circulated in early February. You should discuss these with your tutor, and select three projects in order of your preference. The projects are then allocated in early March. It’s not always possible to assign each student their first choice, but we try to make sure that everyone is happy with their allocated projects.

Students may also arrange projects directly with the tutor, or may be provided with a project topic and data from an employer.

Project titles from previous years include:

  • Estimation of treatment effects on toxicity outcomes within a breast radiotherapy trial
  • Changes in anxiety and depression in cancer patients as predictors of mortality in patients with cancer
  • Statistical or machine learning approaches to identify genetic variants associated with tuberculosis drug resistance
  • Depression, quality of life, and treatment effect moderators: auxiliary analyses of SMaRT-Oncology 2 and SMaRT-Oncology 3 trial data
  • Bayesian analysis of incomplete data from malaria epidemiological studies investigating pfHRP2/pfHRP3 gene deletions
  • Growth curve modelling of children and adolescents living with HIV and chronic lung disease in Zimbabwe
  • Identification of risk factors for 30-day mortality and re-admission to emergency department in patients with acute heart failure discharged from hospital
  • Exploration of methods for estimating conditional survival probabilities in multi-state models
Preparing for the MSc

As pre-course reading, we recommend that you go through the first three topics (and the associated quizzes 1-3) in our maths refresher materials. We’d also recommend that you go through Quiz 10: ‘More complex questions’ – questions 1-11. This is particularly important if you don’t have a maths-related degree, since these materials aren’t specifically taught on the course. Topics 4-9 are optional and will be taught on the course, but are provided for those wishing to get a head start.

There will be a maths refresher session in Welcome Week to go over the exercises and solutions, and to give you an opportunity to ask questions.

For those of you who haven’t studied mathematics recently, we also recommend buying a good maths textbook, e.g. Engineering Mathematics, 7th Edition. K Stroud, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, and work through the relevant exercises.

We suggest that you buy only one of the recommended books below. Other textbooks may be recommend for different modules throughout the year.

Practical Statistics for Medical Research. Altman, Chapman and Hall, 1990, ISBN: 0412276305

Statistical Methods in Medical Research. Armitage, Berry and Matthews, Fourth Edition, Blackwell, 2001, ISBN: 9780632052578

Biostatistics: A Methodology for the Health Sciences. Van Belle, Fisher, Heagerty and Lumley, Second Edition, Wiley, 2004, ISBN: 978-0471031857

Essential Medical Statistics. Kirkwood and Sterne, Second Edition, Blackwell, 2003, ISBN: 9780865428713

Information for new part-time students

You will attend the MSc two days per week – Monday and Tuesday during the first year and Thursday and Friday in the second year, though this may vary in Terms 2 and 3 depending on your module selection. More details will be given during Welcome Week, but also feel free to email the Programme Administrator at if you have any questions ahead of then.

Information for returning part-time students

Welcome Week is optional for second year part-time students, although it would be great if you could attend the staff-student introductions so you can get to know the new students.

Programme handbook

MSc Medical Statistics Handbook 2022-23 (pdf)

Page last updated September 2022