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:
This program consists of 10 courses for a total of 30 credits.
Part-time students complete the program in 2–3 years.
Full-time students can complete the program in 1 year.
You can begin the program in the spring, summer, or fall semester.
You can enroll in the program part time or full time.
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.
Assessment and Test Construction
This course addresses the major issues of educational assessment, with emphasis on the characteristics, administration, scoring, and interpretation of both formal and informal assessments, including but not limited to tests of achievement. All forms of assessment are examined including observation, portfolios, performance tasks, and paper-and-pencil tests, including standardized tests. Basic techniques of test construction, item writing, and analysis are included. Standardized norm-referenced tests and statewide testing programs are also examined.
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.
Evaluation Practice and 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.
Evaluation Theory and 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.
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.
Large Scale Assessment: Methods and Practice
Examines large scale assessment procedures internationally (TIMSS and PIRLS) and nationally (NAEP and NCLB). Considers technical, operational, and reporting procedures in view of requirements for reliability and validity as well as resource constraints and political issues. Uses examples from the TIMSS and PIRLS international assessments in mathematics, science, and reading to illustrate procedures for instrument development, sampling, data collection, analysis, IRT scaling, and reporting results.
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 $8.4 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, however, this fee is waived for select applicants.
To be uploaded to your online Application Form.
In addition to your academic history and relevant 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 Form.
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.
Identification of recommenders/instructions to recommenders are outlined in the online Application Form.
Two letters of recommendation are required with at least one required from an academic source. Applicants may submit one additional recommendation of their choice.
Unofficial transcripts will be accepted in lieu of official transcripts for the application review process. In the event that one is admitted into a program and enrolls, our office will need official transcripts prior to course registration. To expedite application processing times, our office encourages you to send unofficial transcripts electronically to our email address at GSOE@BC.EDU. Please note that unofficial transcripts must include all of the following items:
If you are able to secure official transcripts, please note the following:
Official electronic transcripts are accepted when sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org from the institution. When requesting electronic transcripts, you must manually type in email@example.com to ensure it is received by our office.
Mailed transcript(s) should be sent to the following address:
Lynch Office of Graduate Admissions, Boston College
Campion Hall 135
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Submitting GRE test scores is optional and not required for 2022 entry term(s). If you wish to send GRE scores, the Lynch School GRE code is 3218.