Educational Psychology — Research, Measurement & Statistics

Doctoral Program offered in the College of Education

The Educational Psychology (EPSY) PhD with a concentration in Research Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics (RMS) is designed to prepare scholars and researchers in both quantitative and qualitative methodology that prepares professional data scientists in education and psychology.

How is the Program Structured?
Students are initially exposed to the same foundational courses in intermediate statistics, research methods, and Qualitative inquiry that all other doctoral students acquire in the College of Education. A copy of our degree plan is here.

Your PhD will be in “Educational Psychology” with a concentration in Research Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics.

All Educational Psychology doctoral students are exposed to foundational courses in Educational Psychology (Learning Theory, Foundations of Educational Psychology, and Human Development, Research Methods, and Intermediate Statistics) as part of the Core portion of the EPSY PhD, similar to doctoral students in the other two concentrations (Human Development and Family Science, and Gifted/Talented).

Beyond these foundational experiences, RMS students will receive more advanced training, primarily in quantitative methods, however additional coursework includes advanced data analysis in qualitative investigations. Our goal is for students to pursue careers in data analytics and data science for education and psychology. Entry to advanced training begins with a course in Multiple Regression. A two-course sequence is usually required in measurement and psychometrics, and students also receive additional training in latent variable modeling through coursework in multivariate statistics and structural equation models. Training is provided in courses such as Multi-level Modeling, Simulation and the use of advanced software (R) for statistical analysis. Coursework is followed by a comprehensive examination prior to completion of a dissertation under a faculty member of the RMS program.

Is there a deadline to apply?
Applications should be complete by March 30th to begin the program in Fall.
For the current year, the application deadline has been extended, as we are presently accepting applications.

How do I enter the program?

Admission to the program occurs through a standard application process, and once admitted students are assigned an initial advisor to guide them through coursework. We encourage you to reach out to the RMS faculty through email with any additional questions you may have or to let us know about your areas of interest or to set up a virtual meeting to discuss your interests (see faculty profiles below for contact information). These meetings and communication can be important, as faculty may advocate for you in the department admissions process.

After you are admitted, you will be assigned a faculty member as an advisor. It is possible to change the initial advisor as students become more familiar with their research interests and how those interests align with faculty.

What is involved in the application/admissions process?

Students are admitted to the RMS program through a departmental process.
First, complete all application materials for the Toulouse Graduate School, and for the Department.
After all your application materials are complete, the Department’s Doctoral Policies Committee will review your application and ask for input from RMS faculty to make their decision about your application.

How does the committee decide?

The Doctoral Policies Committee considers each applicant wholistically. Your written statement in your application should say a lot about who you are, and why you are interested in the RMS program, as well as why you feel the program content is relevant to your interests, and if possible, how you think the program would benefit you or your career interests.

There is no minimum GRE score required. We generally like to see GRE scores around the 50th percentile – particularly on the quantitative portion, but many successful students have been admitted with lower GRE scores based on aptitude, experience, and interest in the program (this can be communicated in your written statement or through recommendation letters).

Because the program is focused on research, we are looking for students that have potential and interest in doing research in education and psychology; as well as contributing to research methods – how research is conducted – methodologically.

Your recommendation letters should be from individuals that can speak to your potential as a researcher. Letters from experienced researchers/scholars are usually preferred, as these are the individuals that can speak to your suitability and potential.

The committee strongly considers input from RMS faculty, so reaching out and making contact can be very beneficial in the decision-making process. If you like, try setting up a visit to explore the department and program further.

How much math/statistics background do I need?

We take students with a sound background in Algebra. You do not need to have an abundance of statistics training to enter the program, as this can be provided in the foundational coursework. If you have a desire and interest in learning statistics, that is really all that is required. Often, students with applied research interests find that they are some of the most adept at bridging the gap between applied researchers and methodological investigations that support applied researchers to do what they do better.

That said, it is possible for students to enter the program with considerable training in statistics or mathematics and pursue a more advanced course of study. Some students will benefit from courses in probability provided by the Math department.

Is it necessary for me to have a research agenda or know what I want to do before I start the program?

Many, if not most students, enter the program with no research agenda, but an interest in learning methods that will improve understanding about learning, education, or educational programs. Some students are more interested in psychology, but most students begin to develop new interests after being exposed to the Core portion of the Educational Psychology PhD program as they interact with faculty and other students, including students in other concentrations. Some students opt to pursue interests in areas they would never have known about until their exposure to the program, for example, we have some students that have gone on to pursue successful careers as psychometricians. Prior to their exposure to the program, they didn’t have an idea about that area of work or what it entails.

What options are available for the RMS PhD program?

We have four different ways that students can participate in the program.

(1) Students may enter the program with a Master’s degree and complete the program with 66 hours (minimum) of coursework which includes a dissertation. This is the traditional route.
(2) Students may enter the program with a Bachelor’s degree and complete the program with 78 hours (minimum) of coursework which includes a dissertation. This is referred to as our “passthrough” program, as students do not earn a Master’s degree and pass directly to a terminal doctorate degree. This is becoming a popular option for many students.
(3) Students pursuing a PhD in other programs at UNT may receive a Minor in RMS that appears on your transcript. This option involves coursework only.
(4) PhD students at UNT can opt to obtain a 2nd PhD in RMS with 36 hours beyond the first PhD.

How long does it take to finish?

For students that wish to pursue the program full time, it is possible to complete the coursework in approximately three years (depending on course sequencing and timing related to when the student begins).

For many students that have full-time jobs, it may take longer to complete the program. This is perfectly acceptable, as long as students adhere to the graduate school requirements. All work to be credited toward the doctoral degree beyond the master’s degree must be completed within a period of 8 years from the date doctoral credit is first earned.

We encourage applications from part-time, working students. All course instruction is provided in the evening hours since UNT serves a large local DFW population, and many students opt to pursue the program in addition to holding a full-time job elsewhere. Flexibility in course

scheduling is provided to accelerate students through the program or permit students to take courses at a pace that allows the program to fit with busy family and/or work lives.

What are the options for attending full-time vs. part-time?

Our doctoral program is designed to accommodate full time and part-time students. Full-time students benefit from the opportunity to work in the department as Graduate Assistants on a paid assistantship that includes additional tuition support. This makes obtaining a doctoral degree very attractive from a cost perspective. In addition, full-time students, through their assistantships, work closely with faculty in the department and have access to mentorship in teaching and scholarship. However, some students have good-paying full-time jobs in the local area or need to support a family while obtaining their degree. All coursework in the program is offered in the evening, and students can take a reduced course load over a longer period of time to obtain their degree if they choose.

For full-time students, there are competitive opportunities for Graduate Assistantships (Research or Teaching). Assistantships usually require students to work 20 hours per week and provide tuition compensation in addition to a stipend for the work performed. These positions allow students to gain additional experience working alongside faculty on research projects, providing consulting in the College’s Office of Research Consulting (ORC), on grant-related activities, and experience in teaching.

What can I do when I complete the degree?

This preparation supplies most of the necessary skills for pursuing an academic career, although approximately half of our graduates opt to pursue careers in corporations conducting research or in development (such as in test development) or in school districts directing assessment, evaluation, or accountability functions.



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