Doctor of Philosophy in Measurement, Evaluation and Research Methodology (PhD)
The MERM Program is dedicated to advancing the science and practice of measurement, program evaluation, and research methodology in the social and behavioral sciences (e.g., Psychology, Education, Quality of Life Studies, Health Studies). For more than 25 years, the faculty and students of the MERM program have been contributing to its international reputation as a leader in the field. Our students and faculty have done research in human and health services, psychological, educational, community and health settings.
What makes the program unique?
The MERM Program is the only Program in Canada, and among a short list in North American, in which the students are awarded a degree in "Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology"; that is, a degree in the discipline of MERM rather than a degree in some other social or health science discipline with a focus or specialization in MERM. Being awarded a MERM degree, with interdisciplinary foci, makes our students unique in an international setting.
Admission Information & Requirements
In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
This program has not specified whether applicants should reach out to faculty members. Please review the program website for additional details.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Program Funding Packages
All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Teaching and Research Assistantships
Student service appointments are intended to help qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University. Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
15 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 13 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):
RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher EducationUniversity of British Columbia (5)
University of Victoria
University of New Brunswick
University of Calgary
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationEducational Testing Service
Department of Education & Early Childhood Development
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationResearch Scientist
Senior Business Intelligence Analyst
Program Development Specialist/Psychometrician
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Measurement, Evaluation and Research Methodology (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
Completion Rates & Times
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Hubley, Anita (Depression, Drug Abuse, Social Determinants of Health, Homelessness and Homeless People, Mental Health and Society, Quality of Life and Aging, Cognitive Neuropsychology of Aging, Social Aspects of Aging, Executive Functions, Dementia, Aging Process, Identity Building, Learning and Memory, Psychological and health measurement, Test development and validation, Adult neuropsychological, personality, and mental health topics and assessment, Research with general community and vulnerable populations (e.g. elderly, homeless, drug addicted))
Liu, Yan (Fundamental measurement issues (e.g. measurement invariance and outliers); development and application of new statistical methods in education, psychology, health, and social/behavioral sciences; assessing learning outcomes; developing new assessment methods)
Mathison, Sandra (Evaluation theory and practice; student assessment; standardized testing; school and program evaluation; critical theory; interpretive and critical research methodologies, qualitative research methods; sociology of assessment)
Wu, Amery (Development of new psychometric methods (e.g. reliability of complex assessment designs, validation methods using structural equation modeling or item response theory); methodology for group comparison in item responses (e.g. detection of differential option functioning in multiple choice tests); understanding response processes; large-scale educational assessment and English Language assessment)
Zumbo, Bruno (Statistics and Probabilities, Mathematics, Epistemology and Methodology, Psychometrics, Multivariate Analysis, Latent variable models, Test Theory, Item Response Theory, Validity Theory and Validation, Statistical Methods for Program Evaluation)
|2019||Dr. Shankar applied an innovative method to study how a measure is used between two individuals. Her research extracts data that goes beyond traditional investigations of cognitive processes to include actions, emotions and motivation. Dr. Shankar's work provides a new way forward to help advance the future of validity and measurement research.|
|2018||Dr. Goodrich studied measurement, evaluation and research methodology. She examined the application of a general diagnostic model to large-scale assessments across Canada and the U.S. Her findings reveal that such application provides a way to gain detailed evidence about mastery, reading literacy, and pathways to proficiency.|
|2017||Dr. Alkhalaf examined the impact of including research variables that are naturally skewed (such as level of education) in logistic regression, a modeling technique used for making predictions. She found that addition of these variables might negatively impact statistical conclusions and interpretations. Her work concludes with guidelines for researchers.|
|2017||Increasingly, computer simulations are being used in the field of education. Dr. Olvera Astivia studied computer algorithms used in simulations in the field of psychometrics, the study of mental capacity. His findings revealed that these algorithms rely on unacknowledged assumptions that, if altered, can change the design and conclusions obtained from these simulations.|
|2016||Dr. Launeanu's research examined how people make decisions when they respond to survey questions. The results suggest that respondents' answers are shaped by cognitive as well as personal and sociocultural factors. These findings will inform the development of better survey questions, and will contribute to an accurate understanding of what the survey responses mean.|
|2015||Dr. Ark focused on introducing a method for estimating the variance components required for generalizability theory (GT) with ordered categorical ratings. This research provides a proof of concept of this method, called ordinal GT. It offer researchers a new statistical avenue for computing relative G-coefficients when using ordinal variables|
|2015||Dr. Swenson examined the evaluation process for disability management programs that assist people with impairments to overcome employment barriers. She found that evaluation was based on criteria such as successful job placement and client satisfaction, and drew on multiple perspectives, including the workplace, medical, psychological and social.|
|2014||Dr. Sandilands studied two statistical methods used to establish whether it is feasible to compare groups in large scale educational assessments. She showed that the methods may not perform accurately when there are missing data, due to assessment design. Her findings will benefit educational policy makers, researchers and assessment designers.|
|2014||Dr. McKeown examined the ways student survey results are used to measure program quality and student learning at UBC. She found that averaging student survey results across program majors could result in misleading information about program quality. Her study has implications for the design of program effectiveness surveys and evaluation research.|
|2014||Dr. Grover examined gender bias in a large-scale, school reading and math test. He found that assumptions about which questions might challenge girls and which might be difficult for boys were not always valid. This research revisits the so-called gender gap and provides insights into which boys do poorly in reading and which girls do poorly in math.|
Further Program Information
Measurement, Evaluation and Research Methodology (MERM) focuses on the preparation of graduate students to be methodological and measurement specialists. MERM students generally fit into one of three categories:
- Students who have an applied interest in educational and psychological measurement, program evaluation, or data analysis. These students are more oriented toward the use of measurement, program evaluation, or data analysis techniques in fields such as education, psychology, or health.
- Students who have strong theoretical interests in technical problems related to areas such as test theory, item response theory, assessment, statistics, factor analysis, and multi-level modelling.
- Students who find it compatible with their career goals to give equal attention to both applied and theoretical aspects of this program.