Doctoral Course: Introduction to Bayesian Statistics for Analyzing Data


The goal of this class is to introduce Bayesian statistics as a viable alternative to conventional Null-Hypothesis significance testing (NHST) and the calculation of p-values. The class introduces the theoretical background of Bayesian statistics and its advantages over NHST. Based on this, students will work through hands-on approaches for analyzing various empirical data using Bayesian statistics. These analyses will mainly be conducted with the statistics software R and JASP. The class provides participants with the necessary skills to evaluate and interpret the results of published Bayesian analyses and to use the method for testing hypotheses and estimating model parameters based on empirical data. There will be regular reading and homework assignments.


Participants should already have a basic knowledge of R and standard frequentist statistical tests. Please bring your own Laptop with you as we will be using R for several hands-on examples and exercises during the class. We will mainly work with the book “Statistical Rethinking. A Bayesian Course with Examples in R and Stan” by Richard McElrath. Students are advised to obtain the book before the class starts.  


The class will consist of three day-long sessions from 9:00 (s.t.) to 18:00. The first session will be held on Thursday, the 7th of May 2020. The second session will be on Thursday, the 28th of May. The third session will be on Thursday, the 18th of June. The classroom will be communicated to registered students in advance. In case classrooms will be closed due to the Corona virus, the class will be taught online and the schedule will be adapted.


Grades will be based on active participation (50%) and homework assignments (50%).

Registration and number of participants

Due to its interactive nature, participation will be limited to 10 students. If you want to participate, please send a short email to until Thursday, the 23rd of April in which you outline why you are interested in this class and what your expectations are.