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MAS3912 : Survival Analysis

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


To provide an appreciation of the need for and an understanding of, the principal statistical methods required in the analysis of survival data.

Module summary
There are many areas where interest focuses on data which measures the time to some event. In recent decades the principal application for such data has been how long patients survive before some event occurs. The event may be death or it may be the recurrence of a disease which had been in remission, or some other event. Applications are not solely medical: how long it takes a battery to run down or how long a component in a machine lasts before it fails are just two industrial examples. Such data are known as survival data, or sometimes lifetime data, and their analysis is called survival analysis. The main complication with survival data is that many observations will be ‘censored’, i.e. they are only partially observed. For example, when a trial of a new treatment for cancer is terminated many of the patients will still be alive. Therefore the survival times of those who died will be known exactly whereas for those still alive at the end of the trial, their survival time is only known to exceed their present survival. Methods for dealing with this form of data will be considered.

Outline Of Syllabus

Time-to-event data, censoring patterns. Non-parametric survival analysis: calculation of Kaplan-Meier estimates; use of log-rank statistics. Parametric survival analysis: exponential, Weibull and log-logistic distributions; likelihood analysis of effect of covariates. Proportional hazards model: partial likelihood; diagnostics; time-varying effects. Frailty. Prediction and explained variation.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00Formal lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Revision lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture31:003:00Problem classes
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Unseen exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion113:0013:00Revision for unseen exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery120:102:00Office hours
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study26:0012:00Preparation for problem-solving exercises
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study112:0012:00Preparation for project
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study33:009:00Review of problem-solving exercises and project
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00Studying, practising and gaining understanding of course material
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. Tutorials are used to identify and resolve specific queries raised by students and to allow students to receive individual feedback on marked work. In addition, office hours (two per week) will provide an opportunity for more direct contact between individual students and the lecturer: a typical student might spend a total of one or two hours over the course of the module, either individually or as part of a group.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A85N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises2M5Problem solving exercises
Prob solv exercises2M10Individual project
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The problem solving exercises are expected to consist of two assignments of equal weight: the exact nature of assessment will be explained at the start of the module. The exercises and the project 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.

Reading Lists