HMET5140 – Non-parametric methods

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course gives an introduction to non-parametric statistics, starting with a repetition of the difference between the mean and the median and the influence of having data with a skewed distribution. Typical examples of such data within health economics are costs of stay or the length of stay. The course also covers simple non-parametric tests for comparing groups of observations. Methods such as the bootstrap for constructing confidence intervals in the case of skewed data is also covered. Alternative regression methods such as log-linear regression, gamma and negative binomial regression models will be discussed. Computer exercises are used throughout the course.

Learning outcome


  • Understand the problems associated with having skewed data:
  • In terms of using standard methods for hypothesis testing
  • In terms of constructing confidence intervals for the mean
  • Learn simple methods for transforming the data, such that standard methods may still be applied in the analysis
  • Understand the concept of bootstrapping, and why this is a useful method in health economics


  • Perform non-paramteric testing in software such as Stata, and interpret the output
  • Being able to perform bootstrap analysis in simple situations
  • Interpreting output from log-linear, gamma and negative binomial regression models

General competence

Supplemented by knowledge from introductory courses in statistics, this course will make students able to choose the correct method of analysis in a wide range of situations, and understand the importance of not violating the assumptions made in standard statistical methods.


  • The mean and median - importance of having two measures of central tendency in continuous data, in case of skewed data, tests for differences between:
  • Paired samples, two independent groups of observations
  • Alternatives to linear regression in case of skewed data
  • Three or more independent groups of observations
  • Transformation of variables
  • The bootstrap - A method for constructing valid confidence intervals in the case of skewed observations.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.





Due to the extensive measures that have been implemented to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the Dean of Studies, based on an application from the study program, has decided that the form of examination in the course is changed from written school examination to Written home exam. The measure is taken to ensure the completion of examinations Fall 2020


The Board at the University of Oslo has decided to introduce detailed guidelines for all examinations, which take place at the University. The description of the grading should be clear and transparent. This is done to ensure alignment between learning outcomes, assignments, and grading. The Faculty of Medicine has developed a web page with information regarding exams and the grading procedures (norwegian version).

Examination support material

All written and printed material. Four types of calculators are allowed to be used during the examination: Citizen SR-270X, Citizen SR270X BTSPU, Casio FX-82MS and TI-30XIIS.

Language of examination

For students at Eu-HEM: English

For students at HEPAM: The examination set will be given in English. Answers can be given in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

For HEPMA students:

For Eu-HEM students:

An EU-hem student cannot present her or himself for the examination in a course more than two times. There will be held re-sits for EU-hem students who have failed an exam or who have legitimate absence (usually illness) in January and August. If you are entitled to a re-sit you must contact the student advisor via email no longer than one week after the result of the exam has been published.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language