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Event report “Essex University Summer School at WASEDA 2018”

Dr.Quiroz Flores Alejandro and Dr. Daina Chiba

The University of Essex in the United Kingdom and the Center for Positive/Empirical Analysis of Political Economy at Waseda University co-organized the “Essex Summer School at Waseda University” from September 10 to 21, 2018.

This year, the summer school offered two courses, “Maximum Likelihood Estimation” and “Survival Analysis”. Both courses were taught in English. “Maximum Likelihood Estimation” was designed for graduate students/senior students who had completed intermediate statistics and regression analysis in the social sciences. “Survival Analysis” was an advanced course for students who had completed the contents in “Maximum Likelihood Estimation”. In addition, we also offered free tutorials for R and Stata for students who are not familiar with the software on September 6 and 7 before the courses started.

“Maximum Likelihood Estimation” was taught by Dr. Daina Chiba, and “Survival Analysis” was taught by Dr. Quiroz Flores Alejandro. They are both young and active professors from the Department of Government at the University of Essex, and they have published in top journals in political science, for example, American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Science Research and Methods.

In the “Maximum Likelihood Estimation” course, students learned how to build a statistical model to explain the variation of a categorical dependent variable such as voting behaviors and occupation choices (e.g., logit models and multinomial logit models). In the “Survival Analysis” course, students learned the statistical concepts and techniques that are used to analyze data on survival time and discrete events such as the termination of civil wars and the duration of a medical treatment (e.g., continuous time duration models and discrete time duration models). In both courses, R or Stata was used to conduct empirical analysis. Upon completion, the students received a certificate from the University of Essex.

More detailed information on the courses can be found here: Essex University Summer School in WASEDA 2018

A reception was held after the final exams on September 21, and the instructors and students from the courses celebrated together the successful completion of the summer school. During the reception, Dr. Chiba and Dr. Quiroz commented that they enjoyed teaching highly motivated students and are willing to come back again to teach at Waseda University. Some students also commented on the courses. One student who took “Maximum Likelihood” commented that she benefited the most by learning how to use R to conduct maximum likelihood estimations. Another student who took “Survival Analysis” commented that although the course contents were difficult, they helped him to come up with a new research topic.

Testimonial from Essex Summer School student

Mr. Sugoh

Affiliation: 4th-year student at the School of International Liberal Studies (SILS), Waseda University

Course(s) taken: Survival Analysis

Reason(s) for taking the course

I wanted to do something special during summer vacation and looked into summer schools abroad, but I was not able to come through with this plan due to overlapping class periods and travel expenses. It was at this time that I found out about the Essex Summer School Program when searching “Waseda, summer school” online. The fact that it would be held during summer vacation and that I could commute from home was became the deciding factors. It also interested me because the content of the course was not something offered at the undergraduate level.

On the pre-course

The pre-course was challenging because the session presumed some experience using Stata, but it was nice that I was able to prepare for the course beforehand by studying from books I borrowed at the library (*There were two days in between the last day of the pre-course and the first day of Survival Analysis). It would have been better if the course had considered more undergraduate students who had never used Stata before. 

On the course

I took Survival Analysis in the Essex Summer School Program. Associate Professor Quiroz Flores Alejandro cared about every one of us, and the way he taught was easy to understand because he found topics based on conversations he had with a particular student and went on with the class. Additionally, it was nice that the start time was in the afternoon.

Suggestions for improvement

Not only graduate students, but because there are students who are also interested in the class at the undergraduate level, I thought that there would be more participants if students from schools, for example, SILS and the School of Social Sciences, knew about this program.


The Center for is one of the Seven model units of the Waseda Goes Global Plan selected by the Top Global University Project. The Center hopes to expand and continue this program annually.

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