Quantitative Psychology Goals and Curriculum


This is a doctoral training program, culminating in a Ph.D. The goal of this program is to produce outstanding research scientists within the field of psychological sciences.

Note that the emphasis of this program is on research, rather than applied work. This program provides training in the basic theoretical foundations of the field, as well as advanced training within each student's chosen area of specialization. Students receive a thorough grounding in the research methods used in psychological sciences. Students are also expected to complete statistical training (described below). Details on the general requirements for the graduate program can be found in the graduate student handbook (see the graduate resources section of this website).

Research Training

Research training at UC Merced is accomplished through a mentorship model, in which graduate students work closely with their faculty advisors. Typically, each graduate student is admitted to the program to work with a specific faculty member. Each student is expected to become involved in his or her advisor's research program during the first semester.

Students work with their advisors to develop research projects, and are expected to present their research at the end of their first year, during the department's weekly colloquium seminar. As students develop their research programs, they are expected to engage in appropriate scholarly activities, such as attending conferences and publishing their findings in scientific journals. Students are also encouraged to broaden their research training by developing research projects with additional faculty members.

Course Work

Students are required to be enrolled full-time throughout their graduate studies. During the first several years, enrollment will largely consist of core required courses and recommended courses that are of interest to quantitative psychologists.

Required Psychology Core Courses: The following core courses are required for all graduate students in Psychological Sciences:

  • PSY 200A: Professional Seminar for First Year Ph.D. Graduate Students I
  • PSY 200B: Professional Seminar for First Year Ph.D. Graduate Students II
  • PSY 202A: Advanced Psychological Statistics I
  • PSY 202B: Advanced Psychological Statistics II 
  • PSY 204:   Research Design and Methodology

Recommended Courses in Quantitative Psychology: In addition to the core coursework, students interested in quantitative psychology are encouraged to take the following courses:

  • PSY 203: Multilevel Modeling
  • PSY 205: Measurement Theory and Psychometrics (Classical Measurement)
  • PSY 206: Quantitative Methods for Reviewing Research (Research Synthesis/Meta-Analysis)
  • PSY 207: Structural Equation Modeling
  • PSY 209: Longitudinal Data Analysis and Bayesian Extensions
  • PSY 210: Item Response Theory
  • PSY 213: Mathematical Toolbox for Quantitative Psychology
  • PSY 290: Statistical Computing
  • PSY 290: Advanced Meta-Analysis

Additional specialized courses will be offered within this area. Students should work with their faculty mentors to select appropriate courses that can provide the best foundations for their research. This may include taking courses in other specialties within Psychological Sciences and courses offered by other programs or by other UC campuses offering courses in quantitative methods.

    Students who are interested in quantitative psychology can also take substantive psychology courses in another area of psychology (e.g., developmental, health). This serves two purposes. First, it ensures a minimal level of contact with the field of psychology, commensurate with getting a doctorate in psychology. Second, it can increase the marketability of quantitative psychologists by demonstrating the ability to talk to faculty members in substantive areas such as developmental psychology or health psychology.

    Teaching Experience

    Graduate students are likely to work as teaching assistants for several semesters while in the program. Teaching assistantships are a major source of funding and developing teaching skills is another important focus of graduate training.

    In addition to assisting the instructor in various tasks such as course preparation, designing lectures and meeting with students in discussion sections and/or during office hours, graduate students might also present occasional lectures in courses. Once a graduate student becomes a doctoral candidate, usually in the third year, he or she can become the instructor on record for courses offered in the summer semester. This would involve taking responsibility for a whole course.

    Psychology Chair
    Linda Cameron, Professor
    Psychology Graduate Group Chair
    Jan Wallander, Professor
    Psychology Mailing Address
    University of California, Merced
    5200 North Lake Road
    Merced, CA 95343

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