You are here: Statistics & Methods

Tools for research at any level

Statistical analysis is quickly becoming an everyday part of the world of international affairs. Engaging in scholarship and policymaking in this field requires the ability to conduct and evaluate quantitative research and evidence. From finding the right statistics course on campus to presenting research to professionals in your field, this site provides you with the resources you need to navigate the entire process of conducting research using statistical methods.

Statistics & Methods graduate courses

School of International Service

Make sure that the Statistics and Methods courses you take fulfill your degree requirements. Each MA degree in SIS has its own requirements and its own list of approved “Second-Level Methods” courses. Be sure to review your program’s Advising Worksheet. Graduate Advising also maintains a list of program-approved Second-Level Methods courses.

American University

American University’s business, arts and sciences, and public affairs schools also offer a variety of statistics and methods courses, with different schools approaching these subjects from the perspective of the disciplines in which they specialize. Be sure to look at the complete list of AU Quantitative Analysis Graduate Courses if you want to learn more.

Resources for further training

Your training doesn’t need to end at the classroom door. There are numerous statistics courses you can access online for free. This is not a comprehensive list, but is intended to help you start your search.

  • Coursera has a wide array of free, rotating statistics courses, including courses like introductory data analysis, programming in R, spatial analysis, and survey design. 
  • Khan Academy’s section on probability and statistics includes several hours of on-demand videos covering topics from basic probability theory to inferential statistics and regression analysis.  
  • features extensive, on-demand tutorials on several of the most common software programs or statistical analysis, including SPSS, Excel, R, Python, and SQL. Current students can access the entire collection of tutorials for free by logging in through the AU Library list of databases.

Math & statistics skills refresher

Current master’s students are enrolled automatically in the SIS Skills Refresher, a self-guided short course to help you get up to speed on the basic mathematical concepts you need to succeed in any statistics course. The site features a self-assessment test, quick video tutorials, practice problems, and more.

To participate in the Skills Refresher, log in to the American University Blackboard page, scroll through the list of courses in which you are enrolled, and click “Skills Refresher.”

Coding, Analysis, & Statistical Computing

Once you have availed yourself of the data resources on Find Your Data, it’s time for coding, cleaning, transforming, and eventually analysis. This can be a tricky and frustrating process for beginners and experts alike, particularly if you’re working with a new software program. We’ve aggregated information on how to access statistical software on and off campus and resources for data analysis in some of the most common statistical software programs.

AU students, faculty, and staff have open access to a number of statistical packages on and off campus.

Campus Computers

If you're working on a campus computer that is logged on to the AU network, you already have access to SPSS, Stata, and EViews through the U: drive.

Stata, SPSS, EViews, and SAS are also installed natively on the machines in all of AU's computing labs. Some labs also include software for managing and analyzing "big data." Find out more at Campus Computing Facilities.

Virtual Computers

Whether on or off campus, access more than 10 different statistical software packages (including StatTransfer) and your AU Network drives through American University's Virtual Computing Lab, VCL. Read more about the VCL and how to access it from your personal computer.

Here is a brief list of tutorials and video guides to four of the most common statistical software packages. In addition to these resources, note that there are hundreds of books on each program, many of them available at the AU Library. Moreover, there are very few data questions that have not been asked and answered online. A simple search will typically help you solve even the most advanced challenges. Finally, note that consultants at the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning (CTRL) offer both regular software workshops and drop-in hours for AU students, faculty, and staff. Stata

Microsoft Excel

  • Excel playlist is a playlist with introductory and intermediate courses on using Excel for statistical analysis. You will need your AU login information to access this site.


  • SPSS playlist is a free course on statistical computing using IBM SPSS. You will need your AU login information to access this course.
  • UCLA Stat Consulting Group contains guides, videos, and annotated output. You will find resources for SPSS users at all levels.

R and Python

  • R and Python resources contains introductory courses on using R and Python languages for statistical computing and programming. Use your AU login information to access the courses.
  • UCLA Stat Consulting Group is a great place to explore the R environment for users at all levels. You'll find guides for beginners, annotated output, and technical discussions for advanced programmers.
  • An R Introduction is a written introduction to the open-source R environment. First-time users may want to start with the information in Appendix A of this guide.
  • Quick-R Guide is an open and extensive site that provides an excellent introduction to R, especially for those looking to transition to R from other statistical software packages.