R Graphics

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Graphics in R

taught by Paul Murrell

Aim of Course:

The aim of this online course, “Graphics in R,” is to teach you how to produce statistical plots of data using the R language and environment for statistical computing and graphics.

We will cover the creation of standard plots such as scatterplots, bar plots, histograms, and boxplots and we will spend some time on the underlying model used to produce plots in R so that you can extensively customize these plots.

We will also look at producing Trellis plots in R and how to customize them.

Finally, we will introduce the grid graphics system and look at producing unique plots from the ground up using basic components.

NOTE:  On the two courses "R Graphics" and "Visualization in R with ggplot2": Visualization in R with ggplot2 is more about the use of the ggplot2 package to easily produce high quality plots.  R Graphics is more "under the hood" - it covers the core R graphics functions and the lattice package for producing plots and also looks at lower-level tools for customising plots.

This course may be taken individually (one-off) or as part of a certificate program.

Course Program:

WEEK 1: Basic Plots

  • An overview of R Graphics
  • Functions for producing standard plots
  • Controlling colour, fonts, etc

WEEK 2: Customising Plots

  • Adding extra data or labels to a plot
  • Mathematical formulas on plots
  • Plotting multiple plots on a page

WEEK 3: The Lattice Package (Trellis plots)

  • Lattice formulas
  • Multipanel displays
  • Panel functions
  • Customising lattice plots

WEEK 4: Grid Graphics (drawing pictures)

  • Graphical primitives and units
  • Viewports and layouts
  • Customising lattice plots


Homework in this course consists of guided exercises in producing graphs.

In addition to assigned readings, this course also has supplemental readings available online, and practice exercises.

Graphics in R

Who Should Take This Course:

Anyone who needs to produce displays of data, whether for exploratory or confirmatory analysis.

R graphics is particularly suited to producing publication-quality plots, so this course is particularly useful for anyone who needs to produce articles or reports or even web sites containing plots.



Participants should have a basic familiarity with R, such as that provided by the statistics.com course R Programming - Introduction 1. Note that the course will work only with the R command line (rather than any of the R GUI options).

Organization of the Course:

This course takes place online at the Institute for 4 weeks. During each course week, you participate at times of your own choosing - there are no set times when you must be online. Course participants will be given access to a private discussion board. In class discussions led by the instructor, you can post questions, seek clarification, and interact with your fellow students and the instructor.

At the beginning of each week, you receive the relevant material, in addition to answers to exercises from the previous session. During the week, you are expected to go over the course materials, work through exercises, and submit answers. Discussion among participants is encouraged. The instructor will provide answers and comments, and at the end of the week, you will receive individual feedback on your homework answers.

Time Requirement:
About 15 hours per week, at times of  your choosing.

Students come to the Institute for a variety of reasons. As you begin the course, you will be asked to specify your category:

  1. You may be interested only in learning the material presented, and not be concerned with grades or a record of completion.
  2. You may be enrolled in PASS (Programs in Analytics and Statistical Studies) that requires demonstration of proficiency in the subject, in which case your work will be assessed for a grade.
  3. You may require a "Record of Course Completion," along with professional development credit in the form of Continuing Education Units (CEU's).  For those successfully completing the course,  CEU's and a record of course completion will be issued by The Institute, upon request.
This course is also recognized by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) as helpful preparation for the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®) exam, and can help CAP®analysts accrue Professional Development Units to maintain their certification .

Course Text:

The course text is R Graphics by Paul Murrel



Course illustrations and homework assignments will use R. If you are installing R for the first time, just get the latest version. Assistants will be able to offer feedback on assignments completed using R. For information on obtaining R, click here.

Graphics in R

May 05, 2017 to June 02, 2017October 06, 2017 to November 03, 2017May 04, 2018 to June 01, 2018October 05, 2018 to November 02, 2018

Course Fee: $549