In today’s data-driven world, there is increasing demand for researchers with the data science skills to help institutions and schools enhance their decision-making procedures and ensure equitable outcomes for all stakeholders. This program is designed to equip you with the robust background in methodology, research design, and data analysis you’ll need to help meet that demand.
In the M.A. in Research and Evaluation Methods program at Boston College, you will:
With a curriculum that incorporates quantitative and qualitative methods, including courses in evaluation theory and practice, you will develop strong skills in research and evaluation design, data collection and management, data analysis, report writing, and organizational communication.
Instrument Design and Development
This course is designed to familiarize students with the strategies, techniques, tactics, and issues in the development and administration of survey instruments. It will emphasize theoretical, measurement and practical considerations in the development of attitudinal instruments. The development and analysis of data resulting from several types of measurement scales will be covered.
Evaluation Practice & Methods
This course introduces the process of conducting evaluations from beginning to end. Evaluation is a form of applied social science research focused on systematically assessing the value--merit, worth, or significance--of interventions. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to evaluation, this course draws on scholarly articles and examples from multiple fields including education, public health, social services, and international development and addressing evaluation at various scales including program, organizational, and systems-level evaluations. By the end of the course, students will gain knowledge of how to carry out evaluations; apply this knowledge to develop evaluation plans for real-world interventions; and gain skills to critique existing evaluations supporting their development as informed, critical consumers of evaluations.
An introduction to descriptive statistics. Topics include methods of data summarization and presentation; measures of central tendency and variability, correlation and linear regression; the normal distribution; probability; and an introduction to hypothesis testing. Provides computer instruction on PC and Mac platforms and in the SPSS statistical package.
Topics and computer exercises address tests of means, partial and part correlations, multiple regression, analysis of variance with planned and post hoc comparisons, analysis of covariance, repeated measures analysis, elements of experimental design, and power analysis.
Interpretation and Evaluation of Research
This course will improve a students' understanding of the empirical research literature in education and psychology. It concentrates on developing the conceptual foundations of empirical research and the practical analytic skills needed by a competent reader and user of research articles. Topics address purpose statements, hypotheses, sampling techniques, sample sizes and power, instrument development, internal and external validity, and typical quantitative research designs. Exercises emphasize the critical evaluation of published research.
Computers are widely available in schools and are increasingly used for large-scale testing programs. This course examines cutting-edge applications of computer-based technologies to the technology of testing and assessment. Among the topics explored are validity issues specific to computer-based testing; accessibility, universal design, and computer-based testing; computer adaptive testing; simulation-based and multimedia tests; and computer scoring of writing. The course encourages students to explore ways in which computer-based technologies can be used to enhance assessment and solve challenges to current approaches to student assessment.
Evaluation Theory & Research
Evaluation as a professional practice and academic discipline is characterized by variation in perspectives on what evaluation is and how it should be practiced. This course introduces students to evaluation theory, key debates, and research on evaluation in order to develop students as critical, responsible evaluators and evaluation scholars.
Design of Qualitative Research
Introduces the foundations and techniques of carrying out qualitative research. Topics include philosophical underpinnings, planning for a qualitative research project, negotiating entry, ethics of conducting research, data collection and analysis, and writing/presenting qualitative research. Requires a research project involving participant observation and/or interviewing.
Students will select 2 electives (3 credits each) with the help of their advisor. Students may use these electives to specialize in a content area in assessment, measurement, evaluation, or statistics.
Master's Comprehensive Exam
In order to ensure that all students graduating from the master's program have a fundamental understanding of the field which they are about to enter, they are required to complete a comprehensive examination covering the broad areas of the core courses.
“If you’re interested in social change and in applying methodology to understand if programs are making a difference, we will give you the theoretical and practical tools to do that.”
Learn about MESA M.A. alumni careers.
The national and international demand for sophisticated education researchers is reflected through two world renowned MESA‐affiliated research centers:
The Center conducts comparative educational achievement studies in math and science (the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study or TIMSS) and reading (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study or PIRLS) under the auspices of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.
CSTEEP is an educational research organization that conducts research on testing, evaluation, and public policy, working with individual schools, districts, states, and countries to advance educational testing practices and policy and improve the quality and fairness of education.
The Lynch School of Education and Human Development provides more than $10.8 million in financial aid to students each year. As a result, the quality of BC’s instruction, the benefit of our alumni network, and the impact a BC degree will have on your employment options is both affordable and invaluable.
A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required. The fee is waived for select applicants
Priority Deadline - November 1
Rolling Admission - Until Dec 1
Priority Deadline - January 4
Rolling Admission - Until April 5
Priority Deadline - January 4
Rolling Admission - Until July 15
To be uploaded to your online application.
In addition to your academic history and relevant volunteer and/or work experience, please include any licenses currently held, any social justice-related experience, any language skills other than English, and any research experience or publications.
To be uploaded to your online application.
In 1,000-1,500 words, describe your academic and professional goals, any experience relevant to this program, and your future plans, expectations, and aspirations.
Two letters of recommendation are required, with at least one preferably coming from an academic source. Applicants may submit one additional recommendation of their choice.
Transcripts from all college/university study are required.
Applicants who have received degrees from institutions outside the United States should view the "International Students" section for additional credential evaluation requirements.
Please begin your online application before submitting your transcripts. Details on how to submit transcripts and international credential evaluations can be found within the application. In order to ensure your transcript reaches our office, it is important to review and follow the instructions.
GRE scores are not required. If you wish to send GRE scores, the Lynch School GRE code is 3218.
Please view the "International Students" section for information on English Proficiency test requirements.
Applicants who have completed a degree outside of the United States must have a course-by-course evaluation of their transcript(s) completed by an evaluation company approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Submission of falsified documents is grounds for denial of admission or dismissal from the University.
Applicants who are not native speakers of English and who have not received a degree from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction must also submit a TOEFL or IELTS test result that meets the minimum score requirement.
Please click the link below for full details on these requirements.