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.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
1) Check Eligibility
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. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive 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:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based
Overall score requirement: 92
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 6.5
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:
The GRE is required by some applicants. Please check the program website.
2) Meet Deadlines
3) Prepare Application
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
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.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Measurement, Evaluation and Research Methodology (PhD)
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
4) Apply Online
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,732.53||$3,043.77|
|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)||$969.17 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,242.00 (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 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 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 $22,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
- 5 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 5 students was $17,870.
- 10 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 10 students was $12,458.
- 1 student received an external award valued at $6,667.
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 Assistantships (GTA)
Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.
Research Assistantships (GRA)
Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
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
|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. 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.|
|2014||Dr. Lyons-Thomas studied ways in which Grade 11 students verbalized their thought processes during an assessment of complex thinking. She found that verbalization is a useful tool for educational assessment. This research suggests that verbalization should be used in test design in order to understand how students may interpret assessment tasks.|
|2013||Dr. Russell examined whether a new measure of Quality of Life is relevant and appropriate to use with people who are homeless, or vulnerably housed. Her study findings support the use of this measure. However, she also proposed a new approach to evaluating the content validity of measures, and that has application across many disciplines.|
|2012||Dr. Liu demonstrated how outliers can affect the conclusions we make from our data, countering to a commonly held belief among researchers that outliers, although relevant, have little impact. Her studies demonstrated the impact of two types of outliers: errors in the data and unknown subgroups of respondents or participants.|
|2012||Statistical analyses often compare groups such as males versus females or Asians versus Latinos. These comparisons ignore heterogeneity within groups (e.g., diversity among women or among examinees from different ethnic backgrounds) leading to largely inaccurate claims. Dr. Oliveri's research addresses the within-group heterogeneity issue in construct comparability analyses to obtain more accurate results when comparing manifest groups.|
|2010||Dr. Gadermann used interviews and large-scale surveys to identify which contextual factors are most important for children's well-being. The well-being measure that she validated is now widely used in British Columbia to inform practices in schools and communities that support children's well-being.|
|2010||Dr. Rusticus developed a multidimensional measure of male body image to assess body concerns in men. This new measure has the capacity to fill a gap in the current male body image literature, which has predominantly focused on muscularity, by allowing researchers to expand their understanding of this multi-faceted construct.|
|2010||Dr. Li examined when, how, and how much items that function differently for individuals from different groups affect statistical conclusions. She found such items, if present, might affect both internal and external validity of a research study.|
|2009||Dr. Forer expanded upon and applied the multilevel view of validation to a widely used measure of school readiness called the Early Development Instrument. Along the way, he developed a new method for assessing the fit of categorical models. His work helps establish the boundaries of interpretation for this measure.|
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.