Introduction to R

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

The Short Course Programme in Population Health Sciences has been temporarily suspended.


We anticipate opening bookings in late November 2020.

Information on this page relates to the last run of the course and is for reference only. 

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We may need to make responsive changes to our future programme to follow the latest Public Health, Government and University guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please be aware that all information about short courses planned for 2021 is provisional and subject to change.

Course dates

20 November 2019

Course duration

1 day (approximately 2 hours 15 minutes of lectures and 4 hours of practicals).

Registration will start at 9am, the course will finish by 4.45pm.

Course tutors

Dr Harriet Mills (course organiser) and others.

Course aims 

To introduce the statistical software package R, focusing on providing the starting point needed to exploit R’s huge potential for statistical analysis.

Please note: This course is for those with no experience of R. This course will not contain much statistical analysis in R. Some simple routines in R will be used as examples but the key learning objective is to become familiar with R so that you can then explore the huge range of possibilities for analysis using R.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  1. access the R website, download and install R;
  2. implement the basic operations of R;
  3. read in data from multiple sources;
  4. understand, manipulate and explore different types of R objects such as vectors, matrices and data frames;
  5. find help about a given command and explore similar commands;
  6. use R script files to organise R commands;
  7. display summary statistics and basic plots; and
  8. download, install and find documentation for additional R libraries.

Who the course is intended for

The course is intended for anyone with no previous experience of R, but who wants to use R in their day-to-day work for storing, summarising and analysing data. Previous experience with handling data is therefore required, as is a familiarity with Microsoft Windows. No previous knowledge of R or of statistical analysis will be assumed.

Course outline

This course is an introduction to R for individuals with no previous experience of the language. It is a single day with practicals and demonstrations to give participants hands-on experience of using R. We will cover basic calculations, representation of data in R, using scripts, functions and packages to aid your analyses, and creating some basic plots. The course aims to give users a start in R, show them its potential for statistical analysis, and give them the confidence to explore R further by themselves.

Please note: The course will be held in a computer lab, so you will not need to bring a laptop.

The pack provided was detailed and a great guide not only for the course but also for future reference. The tutors were extremely helpful and approachable.

Course feedback, November 2017

Course fee


More information on course fees, fee waivers and reduced prices.

Course venue

Bristol Medical School
Canynge Hall
39 Whatley Road
United Kingdom

Map and directions

Course refreshments

We provide morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, including tea and coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit.

If you have specific dietary needs we ask that you let us know in advance.

Lunch is not included. There are a range of local cafes and supermarkets nearby for students to purchase lunch. 


Information about accommodation in the area.


For further information please email

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