Program requirements

The field of quantitative methods covers a broad spectrum of topics ranging from the mathematical modeling 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 mathematical-theoretical 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 modeling, hierarchical linear modeling, factor analysis, psychometric theory, and assessment techniques in psychology.

In addition to taking coursework in quantitative topics, students will be expected to gain some expertise ― through graduate course work ― in at least two substantive areas in psychology. At UBC these areas include Behavioural Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Science, Developmental, Health, and Social-Personality Psychology.

In addition to their coursework, students will 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.

The specialization in Quantitative Methods is seen as requiring a 4- to 5-year post-baccalaureate program of study. It is anticipated that students will complete their MA degree requirements in 2 years, and the PhD requirements in an additional 2 to 3 years.