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.
University of Massachusetts: Research, Educational Measurement, and Psychometrics (REMP)
For many years, if you wanted to learn item response theory, you read Item Response Theory. Principles and Applications 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 psychometric resources and software.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
University of British Columbia: Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology
UBC is home to Bruno Zumbo, one of the most prolific researchers in the field.
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.
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.
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.
University of Western Australia: Pearson Psychometrics Laboratory
This is home to David Andrich, best known for the Rasch Rating Scale Model.
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.