Where can I get a graduate degree in psychometrics?

The field of Psychometrics is definitely a small niche in the world, even though it touches almost every person at some point in their lives.  When I’m trying to explain what I do to people from outside the field, I’m often asked something like, “Where do you even go to study something like that?”  I’m also frequently asked by people already in the field where they can go to get an advanced degree in one of the sophisticated topics like item response theory or adaptive testing.  Well, there are indeed a good number of PhD programs in psychometrics, though they rarely appear with that straightforward name, as you can see below.  This can make them tough to find even if you are specifically looking for them.

 

First of all, you can visit a list of programs at the NCME website.  This list is pretty comprehensive, but here are a few highlights.  I also highly recommend the SIOP list of grad programs; they are for I/O psychology but many of them have professors with expertise in things like assessment validation or item response theory.

My apologies in advance if I left out any that you think should be included here!

 

University of Minnesota: Quantitative/Psychometrics Program (Psychology) and Quantitative Foundations of Educational Research (Education)

I’m partial to this one since it is where I completed my PhD, with Prof. David J. Weiss in the Psychology Department.  The UMN is interesting in that it actually has two separate graduate programs in psychometrics: the one in Psychology, which has since become more focused on quantitative psychology, but also one in the Education department.

https://cla.umn.edu/psychology/graduate/areas-specialization/quantitativepsychometric-methods-qpm

http://www.cehd.umn.edu/edpsych/programs/qme/

University of Massachusetts: Research, Educational Measurement, and Psychometrics (REMP)

For many years, if you wanted to learn item response theory, you read ___ by Hambleton and Swaminathan (1985).  These were two longtime professors at UMass, and it speaks to the quality of that program.  Also note that the program has a nice page on resources and software.

https://www.umass.edu/remp/

University of Iowa: Center for Advanced Studies in Measurement and Assessment

This program is in the Education department, and has the advantage of being in one of the epicenters of the industry: the testing giant ACT is headquartered only a few miles away, the giant Pearson has an office in town, and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills is an offshoot of the university itself.  Like UMass, Iowa also has a website with educational materials and useful software.

https://education.uiowa.edu/centers/casma

University of Wisconsin-Madison

UW has well-known professors like Subkoviak, Daniel Bolt, and James Wollack.  Plus, Madison is well-known for being a fun city given its small size.

https://edpsych.education.wisc.edu/category/quantitative-methods/

University of Nebraska – Lincoln: Quantitative, Qualitative & Psychometric Methods

For many years, the cornerstones of this program were the husband-and-wife duo of James Impara and Barbara Plake.  They’ve now retired, but excellent new professors have joined.  In addition, UNL is the home of the Buros Institute.

https://cehs.unl.edu/edpsych/quantitative-qualitative-psychometric-methods/

University of Kansas: Research, Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics

Not far from Lincoln, NE is Lawrence, Kansas.  The program here has been around a long time, and is now home to Jonathan Templin, one of the world’s experts on diagnostic measurement models.

https://epsy.ku.edu/academics/educational-psychology-research/phd/overview-benefits

Michigan State University: Measurement and Quantitative Methods

MSU is home to Mark Reckase, current president of IACAT.  Like most of the rest of these programs, it is in a vibrant college town. The website needs a slight update though!

https://education.msu.edu/cepse/mqm/

 

UNC-Greensboro: Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation

While most programs listed here are in the northern USA, this one is in the southern part of the country, where such programs are smaller and fewer.  UNCG is quite strong however.

https://soe.uncg.edu/academics/departments/erm/erm-programs/ph-d-in-educational-research-measurement-and-evaluation/

University of Texas: Quantitative Methods

UT, like some of the other programs, has an advantage in that the educational assessment arm of Pearson is located there.

https://education.utexas.edu/departments/educational-psychology/graduate-programs/quantitative-methods

 

Outside the US

University of Alberta: Center for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation

Mark J Gierl has been a longtime professor here, and there are now 4 other professors in the program.

https://sites.google.com/ualberta.ca/crame

University of British Columbia: Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology

UBC is home to Bruno Zumbo, one of the most prolific researchers in the field.

http://ecps.educ.ubc.ca/program/measurement-evaluation-and-research-methodology/

University of Twente: Research Methodology, Measurement and Data Analysis

For decades, Twente has been the center of psychometrics in Europe, with professors like Wim van der Linden, Theo Eggen, Cees Glas, and Bernard Veldkamp.  It’s also linked with Cito, the premier testing company in Europe, which provides excellent opportunities to apply your skills.

https://www.utwente.nl/en/bms/omd/

University of Cambridge: The Psychometrics Centre

The Psychometrics Centre at Cambridge includes professors John Rust and David Stillwell.  It hosted the 2015 IACAT conference and is the home to the open-source CAT platform Concerto.

https://www.psychometrics.cam.ac.uk/

KU Leuven: Research Group of Quantitative Psychology and Individual Differences

This is home to well-known researchers such as Paul De Boeck and David Magis.

https://ppw.kuleuven.be/okp/home/

University of Western Australia: Pearson Psychometrics Laboratory

This is home to David Andrich, best known for the Rasch Rating Scale Model.

http://www.education.uwa.edu.au/ppl

Online

There are very few programs that offer graduate training in psychometrics that is 100% online.  If you know of another one, please get in touch with me.

 

University of Illinois at Chicago: Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment

This program is of particular because it has an online Master’s program, which allows you to get a high quality graduate degree in psychometrics from just about anywhere in the world.  One of my colleagues here at ASC has recently enrolled in this program.

https://education.uic.edu/academics-admissions/programs/measurement-evaluation-statistics-and-assessment-mesa

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Nathan Thompson, PhD

Chief Product Officer at ASC
I am a psychometrician, software developer, author, and researcher, currently serving as Chief Product Officer for Assessment Systems Corporation (ASC). My mission is to elevate the profession of psychometrics by using software to automate the menial stuff like job analysis and Angoff studies, so we can focus on more innovative work. My core goal is to improve assessment throughout the world. I was originally trained as a psychometrician, doing an undergrad at Luther College in Math/Psych/Latin and then a PhD in Psychometrics at the University of Minnesota. I then worked multiple roles in the testing industry, including item writer, test development manager, essay test marker, consulting psychometrician, software developer, project manager, and business leader. Research and innovation are incredibly important to me. In addition to my own research, I am cofounder and Membership Director at the International Association for Computerized Adaptive Testing, You can often find me at other important conferences like ATP, ICE, CLEAR, and NCME. I've published many papers and presentations, and my favorite remains http://pareonline.net/getvn.asp?v=16&n=1.
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