Quantitative Methods

The Quantitative Methods Area offers graduate study leading to both the MA and PhD degrees. The mission of the quantitative psychology graduate program is to:

  1. Train students in the theory and application of quantitative methods for psychological research
  2. Contribute to the development of new knowledge in the field of quantitative psychology.

With regard to training, we seek to develop a foundational knowledge for graduate students of all areas and to provide state-of-the-art training for graduate students seeking a PhD in this field. The graduate program provides a rigorous curriculum, opportunities for experience in teaching, and extensive training and experience in research. Our mission also involves the conduct of research that will make valuable contributions to the growth in knowledge regarding the theory and use of quantitative methods in psychological research. In addition, we contribute to the advancement of knowledge in substantive areas through the careful and proper use of sophisticated quantitative methods.

The field of quantitative methods covers a broad spectrum of topics ranging from the mathematical modelling of psychological processes and phenomena (mathematical psychology) to the theory and techniques of mental measurement, individual differences, statistics, and data analysis techniques generally. Largely because of the interests of the faculty members in the Psychometrics Area at UBC, the emphasis of the graduate program is on measurement and data analysis, rather than the mathematical psychology side of the field. Opportunities do exist, nonetheless for some exposure to the latter.

The underlying philosophy in the Quantitative Area is that students are best served by an interdisciplinary program embracing the mathematicai-theoretica underpinnings of the field as well as the applied techniques and substantive ideas that have emanated from them. Students will take courses in mathematical statistics and allied topics from the Statistics and Mathematics Departments, as well as courses in applied topics given by other departments. Within UBC Psychology students will take courses in such areas as analysis of variance, multiple regression analysis, multivariate analysis, structural equation modelling, hierarchical linear modelling, factor analysis psychometric theory, and assessment techniques in psychology.

In addition to their coursework, students wil be expected to become involved in research in the field. This research might entail joint activities with faculty members associated with the program, or research initiated by the students themselves. Broad research areas currently represented by faculty members of the area include the development and testing – via Monte Carlo methods – of new statistical procedures, the investigation of sampling properties of some established statistics using computer simulation methods and analytical asymptotic derivations, mathematical models of personality structure and person perception, and applied assessment techniques.