Apr 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Assessment and Measurement, Ph.D.

Graduate Program Director: Dr. Brian Leventhal
Phone: (540) 568-5004
Application Date

Application review opens October 15 and the target date is January 10. All application materials must be received by January 10 to be guaranteed consideration.

Students applying to the Assessment and Measurement Ph.D. program and the Combined M.A./Ph.D. program should indicate that they will begin the program in the summer semester. Applicants who are unable to begin during the summer semester should contact the program director to make alternate arrangements. However, such applicants should still indicate a summer starting date.

Admission Requirements

There are two options for direct admission to the Ph.D. program.

1. Applicants who have completed an advanced degree (M.A., M.S.) in psychology, statistics or a related field can apply directly to the Assessment and Measurement Ph.D. program

2. Students with a Bachelor’s degree and a strong record of performance in psychology, research methods, statistics or related coursework can apply to the Combined M.A./Ph.D. program in Assessment and Measurement. Students admitted under this option will first complete the requirements for the Quantitative Concentration of the Psychological Sciences M.A. degree. Upon satisfactory completion* of the M.A. degree requirements, students receive the M.A. degree and are automatically enrolled into the Assessment and Measurement Ph.D. program. The Combined M.A./Ph.D. program is thus a good option for students with a bachelor’s degree whose ultimate goal is to pursue the Ph.D. degree.

* Satisfactory completion of the M.A. degree requirements are grades of at least A- in PSYC 604 PSYC 605 PSYC 606  and PSYC 608 , approval of the thesis proposal by the beginning of the spring semester of the second year, and successful completion of the master’s thesis by the end of the spring semester of the second year.

Students applying for the Ph.D. program under options 1 or 2 must submit the materials listed below.

  • General GRE scores (verbal, quantitative and analytic writing).
  • Statement of interest in the program and professional goals. In this statement, applicants should discuss why they are interested in the field of Assessment and Measurement, and in our program in particular, and the type(s) of career(s) they would like to pursue in the future. Applicants may also indicate their research interests and preferences for an adviser.
  • Three letters of recommendation from professionals familiar with the applicant’s academic work and relevant professional experiences.
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs attended.
  • A current professional vita or resume.
  • Representative samples of professional writing.


The vision of the Doctor of Philosophy program and the Combined M.A./Ph.D. in Assessment and Measurement at JMU is to establish and maintain a national reputation as a valuable resource in educational outcomes assessment and in applied and theoretical measurement. As such, the program will help meet the growing demand for assessment and measurement professionals in a wide variety of applied settings.

To attain this vision, the mission of the Ph.D. and Combined M.A./Ph.D. program is to:

  • Provide training for its graduate students that combines rigorous, theory-based course work in assessment and measurement with extensive real-world assessment experiences.
  • Conduct high-quality scholarship that will significantly advance knowledge in the fields of assessment, measurement, and quantitative methods and promote more effective practice in these areas.
  • Provide, both for JMU and outside constituencies, valuable service activities that promote effective assessment practice and contribute to the professional well-being of the fields of assessment, measurement and quantitative methods.

The focus of the assessment training in the Ph.D. and Combined M.A./Ph.D. programs is on the design of program assessment strategies, empirical investigation of new measurement and assessment methods, identification of appropriate existing and/or construction of new assessment measures/methods, quantitative analysis of data, appropriate use of assessment results, and effective communication of results to a variety of audiences. Moreover, with the extensive background in measurement theory and quantitative methods provided, the graduates of this Ph.D. program and Combined M.A./Ph.D. program are trained as experts in these areas. Although the program focuses on applications of assessment, measurement and quantitative methodology in higher education, students can apply the skills and knowledge gained in the program to areas such as K-12 education, industry and government. Students are not trained to perform psychological assessment of individuals for clinical diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. Instead, training revolves around the design and improvement of methods to measure program effectiveness, the development and psychometric evaluation of measurement instruments, and effective applications of quantitative methods.

The Ph.D. and Combined M.A./Ph.D. programs in Assessment and Measurement adheres to a practitioner-scientist, applied model of graduate training, built on a solid theoretical base in scientific psychology. The program integrates pedagogical foundations of psychology, measurement, assessment, quantitative methods and applied experience. The training model is further designed to capitalize on the previous educational and professional experiences and training of incoming students to expand, strengthen and supplement these skills.


The program for a given student will consist of the 57 required hours plus any additional course work that the program faculty deems is needed to fulfill the foundational course work expectations.

Other required experiences

  • First-year students are required to be active participants in the A&M/Quant roundtable meetings.
  • First-year students are required to complete a first-year research project.
  • First-year students are required to present their first-year projects at the Graduate Psychology Spring Symposium (typically held in April) or at a venue approved by the program faculty.
  • All A&M students are required to submit a proposal to present at least once while enrolled in the program at JMU’s Graduate Showcase. The Graduate School hosts this conference each year.
  • Each student is required to complete a reflection at the end of each semester, except during their last semester enrolled in the program.
  • Each student must pass comprehensive examinations.


  • All students are expected to attend the Graduate Psychology Spring Symposium.

Assessment and Measurement Doctoral Program Degree Requirements

Students must complete graduate course work in the following areas:

  • Foundational graduate course work in psychology, research and inferential statistics, including:
    • Measurement theory
    • Introductory and intermediate statistics
  • Course work in at least two of the following areas: social psychology, cognitive psychology or student development

Required Research Experiences: 11 credit hours

Total: 57 Credit Hours