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Educational Research and Evaluation (Ph.D.)

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Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus and Northern Virginia Campus (Introductory Course Sequence Only)
Instructions: Residential/On Campus and two 5000-level EDRE Online Courses

Program Overview

The Educational Research and Evaluation program is committed to achieving excellence in research and teaching. We specialize in research methodology, as it relates to education, the behavioral sciences, and the social sciences in general, and emphasize the areas of evaluation/assessment, qualitative methods, and quantitative methods (i.e., applied statistics and measurement).

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Methodologists specialize in specific research methodologies. Their work normally includes using specific research methodologies to conduct empirical research, advancing existing research methodologies, and developing new, cutting-edge research methodologies. EDRE faculty and students conduct methodological research and applied research on issues in education, the behavioral sciences, and the social sciences in general. EDRE faculty also provide methodological and other forms of research expertise to other faculty and students in the School of Education, including serving on master's thesis and doctoral dissertation committees and teaching courses in the areas of evaluation/assessment, qualitative methods, and quantitative methods (i.e., applied statistics and measurement).

Why choose this program?

The Educational Research and Evaluation program is a comprehensive Ph.D. program that prepares students for high-demand careers as research methodologists in a wide range of settings that include academia, higher education, state or federal government agencies, the testing industry and other private sector organizations, and nonprofit organizations. The methodological areas of evaluation/assessment, qualitative methods, and quantitative methods (i.e., applied statistics and measurement) are emphasized, and the faculty members in the program have expertise in these areas. One of the priorities of the program is to maintain an optimal balance between theory and practice, so that students develop a strong methodological/theoretical foundation and also acquire extensive experience in using a variety of research methodologies, methodological concepts, and methodological techniques and practices to address research issues in education, the behavioral sciences, and the social sciences in general. The program is also committed to providing students with a high level of mentoring, which includes enriching opportunities to be involved in program faculty members’ research and other research in the School of Education or other parts of the university.

What You'll Study

Students in the EDRE program have the opportunity to choose one of four focus areas: evaluation/assessment, measurement, qualitative methods, or statistics. All of the focus areas also share a common core of research methods courses.

TThe evaluation/assessment focus area includes coursework and other experiences that prepare students to understand the theoretical foundations of evaluation/assessment research, effectively use evaluation/assessment methodologies to conduct research, effectively design evaluation/assessment research, effectively use a variety of data collection and data analysis methods, use a variety of reporting methods to produce high quality reports, and use a variety of strategies to maximize data-driven decision-making. Learn more about the courses and requiremnts here.

The measurement focus area includes coursework and other experiences that prepare students to understand and apply classical test theory and item response theory; conduct psychometric analyses, including equating, differential item functioning, and standard setting; conduct psychometric research; develop educational and psychological tests; and develop validation plans for educational and psychological tests. Learn more about the courses and requiremnts here.

The qualitative methods focus area includes coursework and other experiences that prepare students to use a variety of qualitative methodologies, understand the theoretical foundations of qualitative inquiry, effectively design qualitative research, effectively use a variety of qualitative data collection and data analysis methods, effectively use a variety of writing strategies, and evaluate qualitative research using appropriate criteria. Learn more about the courses and requiremnts here.

The statistics focus area includes coursework and other experiences that prepare students to use a variety of advanced statistical methodologies, develop cutting-edge statistical methodologies and/or apply existing methodologies in innovative ways, develop sound quantitative research designs, effectively present data using a variety of data visualization tools, develop high quality quantitative research reports, and effectively evaluate the quality of quantitative research. Learn more about the courses and requiremnts here.

The Ph.D. program in Educational Research and Evaluation (EDRE) provides students with the opportunity to develop methodological expertise in a wide range of areas that include the development and application of statistical methods in educational and social scientific research, the development and evaluation of psychoeducational instruments, and the design and conduct of various forms of qualitative research, mixed methods research, or evaluation/assessment research. Thus, the EDRE program prepares students to function as methodologists in a wide variety of settings such as academic positions in education, psychology, or applied statistics; positions in the testing industry (e.g., ETS, ACT, CTB, Pearson); evaluation and assessment positions in higher education; or state- or federal-level government positions that involve program evaluation, data analysis, instrument development, and/or survey administration.

To learn more about the career opportunities that are available to EDRE graduates, visit each of the following websites and complete a search using appropriate keywords (e.g., measurement, psychometric, statistic, program evaluation, qualitative, research).

Central to the mission of the Educational Research and Evaluation program is a commitment to achieving excellence in teaching, research, and service to various communities. The program emphasizes high quality teaching and learning and is aimed at preparing students to achieve success in their professional lives and to be active contributors to the research community. The program is also committed to fostering the highest quality research and other scholarly work in its faculty and students. It also strives to provide methodological and other research expertise, as well as other forms of service, that effectively meet the needs of the School of Education, other parts of the university community, and the broader community. Also, in each facet of its mission, the EDRE program embraces a respect for, and a commitment to, diversity in all of its forms.

The Ph.D. program in Educational Research and Evaluation is offered on the Blacksburg campus. The Blacksburg campus offers students the full services of the university, including an extensive library, technology support, and the Graduate Life Center. The introductory course sequence can also be taken at the Northern Virginia campus, and two 5000-level EDRE courses are offered online.

To be considered for the Ph.D. program in EDRE:

  • Applicants can hold either a master's degree or a bachelor's degree in a relevant field or discipline, from an accredited college or university, but a master's degree is preferred.
  • Applicants must also have a GPA of 3.3 or higher in either of the above degrees.
  • TOEFL/ IELTS  (For all non-U.S. citizens or non-U.S. permanent residents). Learn more about testing requirements.

Visit this page for more information on how to apply, including requirements, deadlines, and what you'll need in detail.

A question on the application for graduate admission asks whether you would like to be considered for a graduate assistantship. Check yes. Please note that indicating that you would like to be considered for an assistantship does not guarantee that you will be offered one.

Learn more about other available funding opportunities

Domestic Application Deadline
Spring: January 1
Summer: May 1
Fall: August 1

International Application Deadline
Spring: September 1
Fall: April 1
Deadline for early decision admission with full funding consideration for Fall: February 1

Dr. Serge Hein
Program Leader
1750 Kraft Dr., Room 2105
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-231-9713    
shein@vt.edu

Questions?

Dr. Serge Hein
Program Leader
1750 Kraft Dr., Room 2105
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-231-9713    
shein@vt.edu

Visit our office at Room 2104, Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Faculty Experts in Educational Research and Evaluation