608 Statistics for Public Policy

University of Massachusetts Amherst

A Stat-astic Class!

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 theories 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. This course is designed around the concepts of flipped classroom, collaborative and experimental learning, with plenty of hands-on exercises and problem-solving on a project basis. The free R open-source software will be used for this course for conducting statistical analysis and data visualization.


Machmer Hall room W-26 | Tue/Thu 11:30AM - 12:45PM

Office Hour

Thompson 628 (By appointment) | Zoom Link |

Lab sessions

Machmer Hall room W-24 | Thursday 2:30PM - 3:30PM

Office Hour for Lab

| Thu 3:30-4:30pm

Teaching Team and Contact

Instructor Viviana Chiu Sik Wu, Ph.D.   Thompson 628
TA (Lab & Grading) Stephanie Gendron, MPPA 2023  

There will be no required textbook for this class besides the lecture slides and RPubs lab notes; however, here are some textbooks and resources for your reference.

Introduction to Econometrics with R Hanck et al. 2019
R for Data Science Grolemund & Wickham O'Reilly, 1st edition, 2016
R cookbook Long & Teetor O'Reilly Media, 2019
R for social and behavioral science statistics Wickham & Grolemund SAGE Publications, 2020
Applied Statistics with R in PDF David Dalpiaz 2023