Applied Statistics

Statistical literacy, the ability to understand and reason with statistics and data, is becoming increasingly important as our world becomes more and more data-rich. This course focuses on developing statistical literacy in real-world contexts. We teach students to use software (Excel and RStudio) to summarise, display and analyse data. We explore data collection techniques including sampling methods and experimental design. We introduce statistical inference methods (confidence intervals, hypothesis testing and regression) with an emphasis on communicating results in context.

Course code

Qualifications are made up of courses. Some universities call these papers. Each course is numbered using six digits.



The fourth number of the course code shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).



Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.


Course planning information

Course notes

161.111 is a good fit for students without a strong background in computing or mathematics. From 161.111, students can continue onto 200-level statistics courses, but must complete 161.220 Data Analysis or 233.214 GIS and Spatial Statistics first. Students with a stronger computing or mathematical background should consider 161.122 Statistics which takes an in-depth approach to statistics with a strong focus on computing and allows entry into all 200-level statistics courses.

Expected prior learning

At least 16 credits in NCEA Level 2 Mathematics from these standards: 91256, 91257, 91258, 91259, 91260, 91261, 91262, 91269; or passed any of these Massey University courses or equivalent:
•124103 or any 100-level mathematics course (prefix 160).

If you do not have this prior learning or equivalent you should enrol in one of these Massey University courses instead:
• 160104 Introductory Mathematics for Science or
• 124103 Biophysical Principles

If it’s some time since you studied Mathematics at school, you can find out if you have the expected background by taking this maths quiz..


Choose just one

The courses listed above have similar content to this one meaning you can only enrol in this course or one of the listed courses. Only one of the courses can be credited towards your qualification.

Learning outcomes

What you will learn. Knowledge, skills and attitudes you’ll be able to show as a result of successfully finishing this course.

  • 1 Use software to display and analyse data.
  • 2 Identify appropriate data collection techniques.
  • 3 Construct confidence intervals and interpret them in context.
  • 4 Perform hypothesis tests to make evidence-based decisions.
  • 5 Draw inferences about relationships between variables.
  • 6 Communicate the results of a statistical analysis in context.

Learning outcomes can change before the start of the semester you are studying the course in.


Assessment Learning outcomes assessed Weighting
Test 1 2 2%
Test 2 3 6 2%
Written Assignment 1 3 5 6 17%
Written Assignment 1 3 4 5 6 17%
Test 4 5 6 2%
Exam College/GRS-based (not centrally scheduled) 2 3 4 5 6 60%

Assessment weightings can change up to the start of the semester the course is delivered in.

You may need to take more assessments depending on where, how, and when you choose to take this course.

Explanation of assessment types

Computer programmes
Computer animation and screening, design, programming, models and other computer work.
Creative compositions
Animations, films, models, textiles, websites, and other compositions.
Exam College or GRS-based (not centrally scheduled)
An exam scheduled by a college or the Graduate Research School (GRS). The exam could be online, oral, field, practical skills, written exams or another format.
Exam (centrally scheduled)
An exam scheduled by Assessment Services (centrally) – you’ll usually be told when and where the exam is through the student portal.
Oral or performance or presentation
Debates, demonstrations, exhibitions, interviews, oral proposals, role play, speech and other performances or presentations.
You may be assessed on your participation in activities such as online fora, laboratories, debates, tutorials, exercises, seminars, and so on.
Creative, learning, online, narrative, photographic, written, and other portfolios.
Practical or placement
Field trips, field work, placements, seminars, workshops, voluntary work, and other activities.
Technology-based or experience-based simulations.
Laboratory, online, multi-choice, short answer, spoken, and other tests – arranged by the school.
Written assignment
Essays, group or individual projects, proposals, reports, reviews, writing exercises, and other written assignments.