There are two options for applying to the program.

Students with a master’s degree can apply directly to the Ph.D. program.

Students with a bachelor’s degree can apply to the joint M.A./Ph.D program. The joint program allows students with a strong record of performance in statistics, research methods, or related coursework to apply for admission to our M.A. and Ph.D. programs at the same time. Students admitted under this option will first complete the requirements for the Quantitative Psychology concentration of the Psychological Sciences M.A. degree. After receiving the M.A. degree, students progress directly into the Assessment and Measurement Ph.D. program.

Many students in our program have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in psychology. However, a background in psychology is not required for admission. Students with degrees in mathematics, statistics, writing and rhetoric, history, and many other areas have been successful in our program.

We typically provide all full-time students in our program with graduate assistantships through the Center for Assessment and Research Studies (CARS). These assistantships cover the costs of tuition and fees (for both in-state and out-of-state students) and a yearly stipend for living expenses. Students are also provided with computers and software to use for their assistantship and course work.

Graduate assistants (GAs) work in teams supervised by Assessment and Measurement faculty members on projects that are directly related to their coursework in assessment, measurement, statistics, and research design. These projects include a wide variety of activities, such as helping JMU faculty and student affairs professionals to delineate program objectives, develop assessments of these objectives, design data collection procedures, manage large data sets, and analyze and interpret data. We also offer teaching opportunities for students as teaching assistants for graduate courses, instructors for undergraduate courses, and facilitators of professional development workshops. 

Students say the best things about our program are:

  • Excellent teaching. Our faculty are all dedicated to providing the best instruction possible for our students. Nearly all courses include a class project, which often results in a paper that is presented at a conference or published.
  • Strong mentoring. Faculty members have fewer advisees than those in many other programs. This means that students get lots of individual attention from their advisors.
  • Real world research experience. Through their GA positions, students gain valuable real world research and work experiences.
  • Program flexibility. Our faculty work hard to provide students with experiences and learning opportunities that are tailored toward their specific job goals.
  • Strong cohort model. Students complete their coursework as a cohort, allowing to work and study together and to develop lifelong relationships.
  • Strong alumni network. Because of our strong cohort model, our alumni stay involved in and support our program after graduation. They are always willing to reach out to our students with advice and help in obtaining internships and jobs.

Yes, all of our students conduct research studies, beginning their first semester. During their first year in the program, students are required to complete a research study with their faculty advisor. Students continue doing research with their advisors throughout the program, and also participate in research studies with their GA supervisors and with other students. By the time they graduate, students have at least one publication, and often have many more.

Internships are not required for the program, but our students have been very successful in obtaining competitive summer internships at companies such as The College Board, the American Board of Surgery, Educational Testing Service, the National Board of Medical Examiners, the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment (NCIEA), and many others. Due to the program’s flexibility, students have completed their internships in both on-site and remote formats and during both the summer and the academic year. These internships are paid and often result in full-time employment after graduation.

The measurement and assessment field is one in which there are typically more jobs than qualified applicants, and we boast a 100% job placement rate. Our graduates can choose from many different jobs. They work as professors, psychometricians, directors of assessment, research scientists, consultants, and in many other positions. Assessment and Measurement Ph.D. graduates currently work at such companies as Amazon, The College Board, the American Board of Surgery, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, the American Board of Internal Medicine, Marquette University, the Center for Creative Leadership, the National Board of Medical Examiners, the University of Alabama, HumRRo, Pearson. Several graduates have started their own consulting companies.

View our alumni

Median salaries in our field range from $90,000 to $150,000, depending on the company and type of job.

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