Educational Psychology and Quantitative Methods

Ph.D. and M.A. Programs

The educational psychology and quantitative methods program prepares researchers who will address problems in diverse educational settings, with the ultimate goal of improving teaching and learning, classroom and school organization, inequities in opportunities to learn, the assessment of educational outcomes, and a range of other pressing educational issues. Educational psychologists have in common the philosophy that we learn about educational processes, and ultimately improve them, through research, that is, by collecting and studying empirical data. The program integrates two strands of course work: First, rigorous preparation in quantitative research methods (statistics; measurement, secondary analysis of large-scale data sets; and research design), and second, substantive study of learning in schools and classrooms, educational policies, programs, and practices, and interventions developed to promote student learning. Educational psychologists often use principles drawn from other social sciences. The study of human development, cognition, and motivational processes in particular is a central part of the program. The program includes a core of common courses plus an individualized set of courses and topics selected by the student in consultation with the educational psychology faculty.

Graduates of our programs work in a variety of different environments ranging from professorial appointments in colleges and universities (generally in education, psychology or the health-related professions) to classroom and resource-room teachers in public schools. Our graduates also work in government agencies, in private research and development organizations, as consultants to business and industry, and in various roles within public schools (e.g., classroom teachers, directors of research or test development, instructional support and/or supervision).

Educational Psychology and Quantitative Methods at a glance:
Application deadline: Rolling
Undergraduate majors: All majors are invited to apply
Degree granted: M.A. and Ph.D.
Typical Careers: Schools; universities and colleges; local, district, and state education departments; research agencies and public and private agencies that undertake educational assessments (e.g., the U.S. Department of Education; Educational Testing Service).

Both the M.A. and Ph.D. programs are designed to encompass the field of educational psychology and quantitative methods but allow appropriate research concentration at the doctoral level. The M.A. program provides an introduction to the areas of research methods, learning, development, and assessment. It requires 30 credit hours of study, including a thesis, and can be completed in two to three semesters of full-time study and a summer, or equivalent part-time study. The thesis is an original research study, designed and conducted by the student in conjunction with his/her advisor and presented in final form at an oral thesis "defense."

The Ph.D. program includes more in-depth coverage of the field by expanding students' knowledge of:

  • Advanced research methods, educational measurement techniques, and statistics;
  • Cognition, development, learning and technology;
  • Substantive issues of education policy and practice, and the application of research techniques to address these issues

In the Ph.D. program, students participate in experiences intended to integrate them into the professional community of education researchers. These include writing a Research Qualifying Paper and Dissertation, conducting research independently or in collaboration with the faculty, serving as instructors or teaching assistants in the statistics, learning, and development courses, attending professional development courses offered by the various government and private agencies, and publishing and presenting papers at local, regional or national conferences on their own work.

Students from all undergraduate majors are invited to apply; there are no restrictions. However, the admissions committee pays particular attention to prior coursework involving research or research methods.

For further information, contact Dr. Michele Shanahan, Program Director, via e-mail: meshady@buffalo.edu.