Frequently Asked Questions

STAT 385: Statistics Programming Methods

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Contained within this page is frequently asked questions by students and their accompanying answers. Please look over both the policies and the content on this page for commonly asked questions prior to writing an e-mail or posting on the discussion forum.


As an undergraduate student, should I take STAT 385?

STAT 385 serves as an engaging undergraduate course in statistical programming with the target audience being Statistics majors. The course requires a considerable time investment due to the semi-weekly homework assignments, weekly quizzes, and the need to master new statistical computing knowledge.

Taking STAT 385 as an undergraduate provides the following benefits:

As a graduate student, should I take STAT 385?

If you are interested in improving your R programming knowledge or learning about current trends in statistical programming methods, this course will provide that. However, for graduate students, this course does not count toward the graduate degree requirements. It will count toward your full time status on-campus. Generally, this will be the case with any course numbered 420 or below.

Beginning in Spring 2019, there will be an online-only STAT 430 topics course focused on Data Science Programming Methods taught by Clinical Prof. Dirk Eddelbuettel. This course will provide credit for the Statistics Department degree programs. We consider this course to be “STAT 385++”.

Should I register if I’m missing the STAT 200 or STAT 212 prerequisite?

If you have taken a 400-level statistics course, that should suffice for the material being discussed. However, taking only STAT 100 is not adequate preparation for this course as it does not expose you to the R language nor does it present some material covered in STAT 200.

Should I register if I struggled with material in STAT 200 or STAT 212?

Depending on how well you performed in STAT 200 or STAT 212, you may encounter extra difficulty. If your final grade was a B- or less in the prerequisite course, you should consider reviewing the material before continuing on.

Should I register if I’ve never programmed before?

The goal of this course is to emphasize programming methods related to statistics. Having a prior understanding of programming concepts will be a benefit. Those who have never written code before will likely have additional challenges that can be addressed during tutoring hours.

How can I register for STAT 385 if the course is full?

Unfortunately, statistics courses are in great demand presently. With a finite amount of seats, when they’re gone… They’re gone. Please avoid emailing the instructor or department of statistics office staff asking to be added to the course as we have no control over this process. However, given the rigor of STAT 385, keep your eye on the seats as you just might be able to snag one.

After registering late for STAT 385, what should I do to get caught up?

  1. Setup your computing environment.
  2. Please go through the lecture slides that you have missed.
  3. If groups have already been assigned, please e-mail the instructor with what dates and times you are available to meet for group work to be added to a group.

Course Content

What programming languages will be used?

The course will focus on the R language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. We’ll also explore Structured Query Language (SQL) through RSQLite while discussing relational data and briefly cover C++ toward the end through Rcpp. The latter exploration serves as a gentle introduction to compiled code. For a more advanced study of compiled code, please see CS 125 and CS 225.

Will X topic be covered?

Please see the schedule for what is expected to be covered during this iteration of STAT 385.

How can I setup or use X?

Please see the materials page under the resource dropdown menu for instructions and cheatsheets.

Office Hours

What should I do if I can’t make it to any of the office hours?

If the topic of your visit is of a personal nature, please e-mail the instructor to setup an appointment to talk. Otherwise, please post the issue you are running into on the GitHub discussion forum or talk with the instructor at the end of class.

How can I receive additional help outside of talking with the course staff?

If you wish to hire a private tutor to assist you with the course content, please see the Department of Statistics’ tutoring page. This page provides the ability to submit a request for assistance from registered tutors.


Is there a curve? / Do you round grades?

Generally, there will be no individual curve for homework, group projects, and the exam(s). At the end of the semester, the grade scale may be adjusted only lower than the original grade cutoffs listed. With this being said, do not anticipate there to be a significant decrease in the grade cutoffs. What guides your grade in this course is the quality of work put forth.

Where are the grades stored?

All the course grades are stored on Compass2g.

What should I do if I feel my assignment or exam grade is incorrect?

Contact the instructor via e-mail with a picture of what was graded inappropriately within three days of the assignment being returned.

Technical Issues

Why is Google Forms telling me I’m outside of the organization when I try to fill out a survey?

Please make sure you are using your university account, e.g., and not your personal account, e.g. If you have not yet claimed your Google university account, please consult the appropriate Technology Services guide:

For additional assistance, we have a walkthrough guide for undergraduate students.

Why is GitHub telling me the webpage can’t be found?

Please make sure you are logged into GitHub. In addition, please make sure that you have paired your GitHub username with us. Pairing is not instanteanous. The process is automatically triggered each evening during the first two weeks.

For additional assistance, please see our GitHub page not found guide.

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