MCCS 0501: Statistics for Ecology and Conservation Biology

This course provides an overview of quantitative methods for ecological research and conservation. During the two-week intensive residential session, participants review statistical methods needed for ecological research and conservation science. Through lectures, discussions, and extensive hands-on computer lab exercises you will focus on increasing your knowledge of statistical methods like generalized linear models and generalized linear mixed models, the assumptions underlying those methods, and how to interpret and explain their results. Throughout the course, participants will use R, a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.

Participants learn how to choose appropriate analyses for different research questions, and about the assumptions underlying each model. Through the lectures and hands-on exercises participants learn how to design their own studies, explore their data, perform a range of analyses, understand fitted models, and clearly explain their results. By the end of the course, participants will be able to conduct sophisticated statistical analyses, critically evaluate statistics-based material in current research literature, and deal with the limitations of real datasets in the context of conservation science.

Participants should have previously completed basic statistics coursework or have previous experience with statistics.



February 12-23, 2018


Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia

Application Procedure

Statistics for Ecology and Conservation Biology is offered through the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation as a professional training course for 6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Applications should be submitted using our new Online Application System. New users will need to set up a profile in the system before applying to the course.  Please have .pdf or .doc versions of your updated CV, and a Personal Statement of Interest and Qualifications (maximum 350 words). You’ll be asked to provide these.

For first consideration, apply before November 27, 2017

Course Costs

Note: 2018 course is full; accepting wait-list names only. write if you are accepted to the course and wish to be added to the wait-list
Payment Deadline: December 11, 2017. Note that your acceptance to the course does not guarantee you a seat in the course. Seats are allocated as registration payments are received, and early registration is strongly encouraged to ensure your space in the course.

The total cost for this two-week course is $2925.50 (Course fee of $2100 + Housing and Dining Package of $825.50). Those applying as citizens of “less-developed” nations qualify for a reduced course fee of $1200, making the total cost including housing (shared double room) and dining package $2025.50. Click HERE to check if your country of citizenship qualifies you for the reduced course fee. Your total course payment includes:

  • Registration fees
  • Instruction, course manual, and other course materials
  •  Airport pick-up and drop-off shuttle service at Dulles International Airport (IAD), the only Washington, DC-region airport for which SMSC provides ground transportation shuttle service.  Shuttle pick-up date at Dulles Airport will be Sunday, February 11, 2018, and the time will be 4:30pm (16:30h). Individuals whose flight options are limited should plan to arrive the night before (February 10) and book into overnight accommodation in the Dulles-Washington, DC vicinity, so they can meet this Sunday afternoon shuttle. Otherwise a taxi can be privately arranged by participant for approximately $140. Our drop-off shuttle departs from SMSC (to IAD) on Saturday February 24th at 8am.
  • Daily full-service buffet dining at the SMSC Dining Commons.
  • Housing at the SMSC Residential Facility, including a shared room with bathroom (single rooms available at extra cost).


A very limited number of scholarships covering course fees/housing/dining may be available on a competitive basis for eligible course applicants. Note: In no case will any SMSC scholarships for this course cover flights, visas, or other costs of transportation to the course. Click HERE for more information on scholarships.


With course coordinator’s written approval in advance of registration/payment, local participants may elect to waive the housing and dining package and commute to this course. Meals in the Dining Commons can then be purchased individually as needed.

For more information