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MAS3902 : Bayesian Inference

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Cristiano Villa
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To gain an understanding of the principles and the practical applications of Bayesian Statistics to more complex models relevant to practical data analysis. To improve data-analytic and report-writing skills through group project work.

Module summary

The course builds on the foundations of Bayesian inference laid in MAS2903. We consider extensions to models with more than a single parameter and how these can be used to analyse data. We also provide an introduction to modern computational tools for the analysis of more complex models for real data.

Outline Of Syllabus

Review of Bayesian inference for single parameter models. Inference for multi-parameter models using conjugate prior distributions: mean and variance of a normal random sample. Asymptotic posterior distribution for multi-parameter models. Introduction to Markov chain Monte Carlo methods: Gibbs sampling, Metropolis-Hastings sampling, mixing and convergence. Application to random sample models using conjugate and non-conjugate prior distributions. Computation using R.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00Formal Lectures – Present in Person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Revision Lectures – Present in Person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture51:005:00Problem Classes – Synchronous On-Line
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion151:0015:00Completion of in course assessments
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study581:0058:00Preparation time for lectures, background reading, coursework review
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used for the delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples, and for giving general feedback on marked work. Problem Classes are used to help develop the students’ abilities at applying the theory to solving problems.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises2M10Coursework assignment
Prob solv exercises2M10Coursework assignment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The coursework assignments allow the students to develop their problem solving techniques, to practise the methods learnt in the module, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; these assessments have a secondary formative purpose as well as their primary summative purpose.

In the event of on-campus examinations not being possible, an on-line alternative assessment will be used for written examination 1.

Reading Lists