Multivariate Statistics

Course description

Requirements: Programming skills with R, e.g. course Introduction to R and basic knowledge of statistics, e.g. course Introduction to Statistics. Eventually some practice in ggplot2, that can be achieved in the course Graphics with R (not mandatory).

Your profit: The participants will learn when and how to apply unsupervised learning methods such as PCA or k-means with R. The course will also help to understand the basis of the theory when doing a multivariate analysis. All topics are accompanied with hands-on exercises. This course also offers the opportunity for the participants to work on their own data set or to ask questions about their own analysis.

Topics: This course on multivariate statistics covers two different topics:

  • Dimension reduction methods: This first chapter focuses more on Principal Component Analysis (PCA), what is “under the hood” and how to visualize and interpret the results. A short overview on other multivariate methods (e.g. for data structured into groups) is also part of the lecture. Finally, this chapter includes a part on dimension reduction for omics data (t-SNE, UMAP).
  • Cluster analysis: This second chapter focuses on the two most frequently used clustering methods: k-means and hierarchical clustering (HC). It describes the different measures of dissimilarity and distances that can be used to define clusters. A short part also illustrates how to combine both algorithms (k-means and HC) into hybrid algorithms. Finally, this chapter covers the R commands that permit to produce heatmaps together with the result of a clustering algorithm.

Methods: Each day consists of blocks covering first the theory behind the methods and their applications in R, and then hands-on examples with best-practice solutions. During two half-days, the participants will also have the opportunity to work on their own data set. Please consider preparing it in advance if you want to work on it.
During the Corona-pandemic the course is held as an online course. Please consider the following constraints:

  • It will be held online via the software Zoom.
  • Please check before hand on whether your computer is compatible with the tool. (No registration necessary, but you have to download some tools)
  • A stable internet connection is absolutely necessary, optimal would be a LAN access.
  • You do NOT need to have a microphone or camera, since we offer a written chat interaction from your side. However, having a camera and a microphone is advantageous.

Duration: 3 Days

Language: English


  • Material for the course can be found here* (only for HMGU staff).
  • Please install the necessary R-packages prior to the course. The packages are listed in "Material_Multivariate_Statistics.html" which is part of the linked ZIP-folder.
  • Please be aware that the materials will be updated shortly before the next course.

Dates and Application: You can check the current dates and whether the courses are already fully booked here*.
Please apply via the forms of the HR Development department*


 * Links marked with * are only available for HMGU staff.