Programming in Python (beginners)

Python code is relatively easy to read and understand, with a large spectrum of applicability (sciences, industries, governance, arts). Python is in high-demand as the programming language with the fastest growing popularity amongst professionals. Even so, skills taught in this course will be transferable to other programming languages.

Course level
Master, PhD candidates and professionals from all disciplines
Session 2
11 January to 18 January 2020 
Coordinating lecturer                                      Nick Schutgens
Form(s) of instructionLectures, practicals, and assignments
Form(s) of assessmentApplicable assignments
ECTS3 credits
Contact hours30 contact hours
Tuition fee

€800 - non-VU students and staff

€500 - VU students and staff

This course is suitable for anybody with an interest in learning to program a computer using Python. Master students and PhD candidates of diverse backgrounds (natural or social sciences, humanities) can benefit from this course. 

If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please contact us: graduatewinterschool@vu.nl.

None. However, students will benefit from and are expected to work through CodeAcademy’s first 8 lectures on Python 3. This is a free online course. You do not have to sign up for the PRO membership. 

While it is not necessary to use your own laptop in the classroom for this course (the university will provide computers), having your own personal laptop will encourage and facilitate applying your learned skills outside the class room.

Through (supervised) practicals and (evaluated) assignments, students will learn how to program primarily by actively coding, thus creating an environment of independence where students can feel secure in their own comprehension and application of Python.

Python code is relatively easy to read and understand, with a large spectrum of applicability (sciences, industries, governance, arts). Python is in high-demand as the programming language with the fastest growing popularity amongst professionals. Even so, skills taught in this course will be transferable to other programming languages.

Lectures will be minimal and highly interactive with many small exercises to engage student’s abilities under professional guidance.

Course topics include, but are not limited to:
•    Concepts in computer programming;
•    Programming as a problem solving tool
•    The Python language;
•    Use of Jupyter notebook
•    Good coding practices;
•    Debugging code; and
•    Visualization.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
•    Utilize Python to write small computer programs;
•    Have confidence in their ability to increase their programming knowledge through self-study;

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Nick Schutgens is an atmospheric scientist with broad experience in programming computers for simulation and data analysis.