Ph.D. in Research Methods and Statistics

The education and social and sciences fields have a growing need for professionals with strong skills in research design, statistics, qualitative and mixed methods, and data analysis. The Research Methods and Statistics Program (RMS) provides the courses and experiences necessary to conduct and supervise effective social science research. The program is individually planned around students' backgrounds and career goals. Most students prepare for positions that require consulting, research, developing measurement instruments, policy- making, and teaching. Small seminars, independent projects, and a practicum offer opportunities for an individualized and well-rounded program.

Our goal is to equip you with cutting-edge research skills, a creative educational vision, social responsibility, and sufficient experience in application of your skills and knowledge to achieve mastery. Graduates with RMS degrees hold professional positions in testing and program evaluation companies, non-profit organizations, universities, school districts, and state and service agencies, among others.

Applications Open for Fall 2022 & Beyond

Explore Admission Requirements

Core Program Content

The RMS Program embraces a holistic and comprehensive view of quantitative and qualitative research methods and the importance of mixed methods designs. Foundations include quantitative and qualitative research, measurement, statistics, mixed methods, and program evaluation. Research methods include classical quantitative methods as well as qualitative approaches. Students can elect to emphasize evaluation or a content area within or outside of education as a minor. All students conduct original research during their studies and are encouraged to present and/or publish their work. Practicum experiences also are encouraged in diverse sites, including school systems, educational research agencies, mental health agencies, and businesses.

Areas of Specialization

Institutional Research Concentration

The RMS concentration in Institutional Research prepares PhD students for careers in institutional research in applied settings including higher education, K-12 schools, non-profits, government settings, and business. Foundational coursework will equip Institutional Research students with strong quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research methods skills. Students will specialize in higher education or library information science and take institutional research content knowledge courses in management, business intelligence, and public policy.

Qualitative Research Concentration

The RMS concentration in Qualitative Research prepares PhD students to be effective researchers with expertise in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research, with creative educational vision and social responsibility. The RMS concentration in qualitative research primarily focuses on providing students with strong, versatile, qualitative research methods skills to be utilized in different fields.

Unique Program Features

The RMS program is one of nine programs offered within the Morgridge College of Education. Students may opt to take cognate courses from programs within or outside of the Morgridge College of Education. RMS students take classes with students in programs from across the College. Three features of the RMS Program at DU distinguish it as a strong graduate program:

  • We have an outstanding faculty. Professors are not only noted in their fields but also demonstrate a deep commitment to students' academic and personal growth. While our professors set high standards for students, they also individualize requirements to meet each student's needs and goals.
  • We have outstanding students from a variety of backgrounds. A wide range of experiences, creative ideas, sincere dedication to research, and a sense of humor are some of the characteristics of people in our program. We enjoy each other's genuine cooperation, encouragement, and inspiration.
  • The student-teacher ratio in most of our classes is between 10:1 and 25:1. These small class sizes make it possible to develop meaningful connections, engage in ongoing dialogue about topics of interest, form study groups, and give advice. Personal and professional friendships form and continue long past graduation.

These features contribute to an outstanding educational experience. Professors make themselves readily available for consultation, students support and assist one another, and small class sizes result in rich interaction among students and faculty.

Program Learning Outcomes

The broad learning outcomes of RMS are as follows. Students will:

  • Acquire a general knowledge of research methods and program evaluation, and advanced knowledge of psychometrics and statistics
  • Think critically about research
  • Engage in research serving professional and local communities
  • Understand ethics as they apply to research RMS outcomes relate to the MCE mission to advance scholarship via practice and encouraging critical thought.

Evaluation of learning outcomes is based on multiple sources: (1) Course grades, (2) Student annual review, (3) Comprehensive exams, (4) Practicum and other research products, (5) Dissertations, (6) MCE surveys of continuing and graduating students, (7) RMS alumni survey, (8) Course evaluations, and/or (9) Faculty/student discussions. Learning outcomes along with assessment criteria and a synopsis of the process for reviewing data are listed below.

Program Requirements

You’ll need to complete 90-quarter credit hours. Other requirements include a:

  • Research practicum
  • Comprehensive exam
  • Dissertation

Admission to the doctoral program requires a master’s degree.