Introduction to R

Course overview

This course aims to introduce the basics of the R software environment including the graphing capabilities of R using the graphics package within the RStudio environment.

A demonstration of other graphing packages (e.g. ggplot2) will also be provided briefly.   

The following topics are included in this course:

  • Importing tab or comma-delimited data into R
  • Importing Excel, Stata and SPSS data into R
  • Inspecting and listing the data in an R object 
  • Changing data and creating new variables
  • Generating simple descriptive statistics for data
  • Creating and customising various graphs including scatterplots, histograms, boxplots, and barplots  
  • Using a script file to run a sequence of R commands
  • Installing R packages and updating R  
  • Using the R Help system

University of Melbourne
This course is delivered by Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit (CEBU), a working partnership between Murdoch Children's Research Institute and the University of Melbourne.


This course is designed for beginning researchers but it assumes familiarity with computer file management within Microsoft Windows. For example, how to recognise different file types by their extensions and how to move files between directories. Please note: Although R is available for other platforms such as Apple, the course will be Windows-based.

Course format

  • The course runs on 2 scheduled days.
  • The Friday before the course, the course notes and required files (R files and Excel files) will be made available for students to download.
  • Our course coordinators have recorded a series of short videos between 5-10 minutes which support you in systematically working through the course notes. These are available on Teams for the duration of the course.
  • On each day of the course, one of our course coordinators will do a brief introduction for the day via Teams, and then you can work through the course notes and view the instructional videos at your own pace.
  • Instructors will be available from 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (last questions at 4:00 pm) on both days of the course to help you with any questions or difficulties you are having with working through the material.

Students will be provided with: 

  • Comprehensive course notes, including answers to all exercises
  • Files required for course exercises
  • Optional training videos that cover key concepts in the course notes (available for the week of the course)
  • Quick access to tutors for the 2 days of the course
  • One-on-one video chats during the course date via request. 

Course dates & times 

  • Date: 29-30 May 2023 (2 days duration)
  • Times: 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (both days)
  • Venue: Online via Microsoft Teams (please provide a work or student email in your registration, no Gmail or Hotmail etc).

Course fees

  • $275 for internal applicants - Melbourne Children’s campus staff only (Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital and The University of Melbourne, Department of Paediatrics)
  • $650 for external full-time students and Melbourne Academic Centre for Health (MACH-affiliated) clinical fellows (please enter institution name)
  • $950 for external applicants with no appointment on Melbourne Children’s campus

Payment and registration

Payment by credit card (not available to Murdoch Children's Research Institute staff)

You or your organisation can register and pay for the course directly via the Trybooking link below with a credit card. Follow the prompts to make payment and register. You will receive a course confirmation and tax invoice via email.  Please note: There is a Trybooking fee of 50 cents per registration which will be applied when you register online.

Trybooking - Register for Introduction to R

Payment via Unimarket (Murdoch Children's Research Institute staff only)

Payment must be made via Unimarket. Murdoch Children's staff must not make credit card payments and seek reimbursement from a Murdoch Children's cost centre (this is not permitted).

  • Go to Unimarket (also can be accessed from the Murdoch Children's intranet homepage for internal staff).
  • Log in and search for CEBU as a supplier.
  • Select CEBU courses and add the required course to the shopping cart for the CEBU course/s you wish to enrol in.
  • The GL account for training is 34460. Instructions on using Unimarket are on the intranet (internal staff only).
  • Once your Cost Centre manager approves it, CEBU will email you with the Trybooking link and promotional code to register for the course.

Please note: Your place in the course is not confirmed until you have registered via Trybooking.

Cancellation of registration

You can apply for a refund or request to change the course session to a different date pending availability if it is received seven (7) calendar days prior to the course start date. No refunds or credits will be issued for cancellations or non-attendance after this time.   

Contact us

Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics Unit (CEBU)
Murdoch Children's Research Institute
The Royal Children's Hospital
50 Flemington Road
Parkville VIC 3052

Fiona Snashall or Julie Perkins
Phone: show phone number


See our full course timetable below for information on all CEBU courses.

CEBU course timetable