608 Statistics for Public Policy

University of Massachusetts Amherst

School of Public Policy

This is an introductory statistical course designed for public policy students to analyze and solve statistical problems in the real world. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with a number of statistical techniques commonly used for analyzing different types of policy data. Throughout the course, it emphasizes two crucial aspects of students’ learning: 1) statistical analysis for policy data, and 2) presentation and interpretation of statistical results. While the course will cover some basic theory behind the majority of the statistical methods, it will focus mostly on their applications. Students will learn when each statistical test should be used and the assumptions behind each test. In addition, students will learn how to describe and interpret the output of the analyses that they run. The free R open source software will be used for this course for conducting statistical analysis and data visualization.


Zoom Link | Thur 5:30 - 7:00pm

Office Hour

Zoom Link | Thur 4-5:00pm

Teaching Team and Contact

Instructor Viviana Chiu Sik Wu, Ph.D.   Thompson 628
TA (Grading) Adrienne Nunez  

There will be no required textbook for this class; however, here are some textbooks and resources for your reference.

R for Data Science Grolemund & Wickham O'Reilly, 1st edition, 2016
R cookbook Long & Teetor O'Reilly Media, 2019
Introduction to Econometrics with R Hanck et al. 2019
R for social and behavioral science statistics Wickham & Grolemund SAGE Publications, 2020