Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Educational Research
Educational Research and Evaluation, 1750 Kraft Drive, Corporate Research Center
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Contact this Certificate
Phone Number(s):
Wanda McAlexander:

Overview of the Certificate

The EDRE Graduate Certificate in Educational Research is designed to recognize graduate students who have completed specialized EDRE courses in statistics, measurement, qualitative research, assessment, and/or mixed methods research. The Certificate is designed to recognize graduates who have become proficient in a variety of educational research strategies that go beyond what is learned in foundational or introductory courses. The Certificate is also designed for those who have already earned a graduate degree, but aspire to gain a credential in educational research that will be useful in the workplace.

Learning Outcomes

This certificate conveys that a graduate student has developed a mastery of educational research that is beyond the foundational level. Anticipated learning outcomes include the ability to:

  • understand, apply, and/or evaluate a specific research paradigm, research methodology, data collection method, or data analysis method
  • understand and/or apply fundamental methodological concepts that are associated with a specific research paradigm, research methodology, data collection method, or data analysis method (e.g., validity, reliability, or generalizability, as they are understood within a specific methodological tradition).

How to Apply:
Fill out the online application for participation in the certificate program.
Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted
with information about the submission of additional
required materials. Thank you for your interest.

Admission Requirements

Graduate students accepted to any other graduate program at Virginia Tech will be admitted to the Graduate Certificate in Educational Research and Evaluation program on the basis of acceptance into their home department. 

Recommendations for admission to the certificate program for nondegree-seeking students will be made by our Graduate Admissions Committee, based on transcripts, the letter of interest, and the minimal requirements specified in the Graduate Catalogue. These admissions criteria differ from our regular degree admissions in that they require neither the GRE nor letters of recommendation.

Upon completion of the certificate requirements, students must apply for conferral of the Certificate using the Application for Degree and Certificate Conferral form available on the Graduate School web site.

Curriculum Requirements

Number of Credit Hours: The EDRE Graduate Certificate requires 9 hours of specialized courses from EDRE. This excludes foundational or introductory courses that are prerequisites for specialized courses (i.e. Quantitative Research I and 2 (EDRE 6605-6606): Qualitative Research I (EDRE 6504), and all 5000 level EDRE courses, except EDRE 5644). All courses must be completed with a grade of B or better. Courses completed with a pass/fail or audit option do not count toward the Certificate. Transfer credit or credit from courses completed in programs other than EDRE are not accepted.

EDRE 6634: Advanced Statistics is required for all upper-level quantitative courses. It counts toward the Certificate. Prerequisites for each course are noted in the section providing a description of all the courses that count toward the Certificate.

Recommended Combinations of EDRE Specialized Courses

Measurement: 6634, 6624, 6654, 6684

Statistics: 6634, 6654, 6664, 6694, or relevant Advanced Issues Course

Assessment: 5644, 6744, 6794, 6684

Qualitative/Mixed Methods: 6524, 6744, 6784, EDCI 6535

Courses That Count toward the Certificate and Their Prerequisites


Questionnaire Design and Survey Research in Education (3H, 3C)  This course provides an overview of survey research useful to gather empirical data for non-experimental purposes in education and related settings. This project-based course focuses on questionnaire design including question formulation, sampling, data collection and analysis, and report writing.


Qualitative Methods in Education Research II (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDRE 6504)
This course provides an advanced examination of qualitative inquiry in educational and human science research. It considers theoretical assumptions of major qualitative research traditions and provides students advanced skills in data analysis and representation. Offered fall and spring each year.


Measurement Theory in Education (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDRE 6634)
Methods and theories of estimating and enhancing test score characteristics, particularly reliability and validity of aptitude and achievement tests. Problems associated with test construction, use, and score interpretation will be emphasized. Offered spring, yearly.


Advanced Statistics for Education (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDRE 6606)
Multiple regression procedures for analyzing data as applied in educational settings, including curvilinear regressions, dummy variables, multicollinearity, and introduction to path analysis. Offered fall and spring, yearly.


Multivariate Statistics for Applications to Educ. Problems (3H, 3C)(Pre: EDRE 6634)
Multivariate statistical procedures presented in an applied research setting. Oriented toward the logical extension of univariate tests of significance and estimation procedures to multivariate problems. Emphasis on using existing computer software packages. Offered spring, yearly.


Applications of Structural Equations in Education (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDRE 6634)
Applications of structural equation causal models in educational research and discussion of the methodological questions pertaining to such models. Topics include recursive and nonrecursive models, measurement errors in causal models, latent unobserved variables, and covariance structures. Offered fall and spring, yearly.


Instrument Development and Validation (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDRE 6634)
Provides experiences in developing instruments, or tests, that are designed to measure educational and psychological constructs, such as knowledge, skills, attitudes, and traits. Issues and practices relating to construct specification, instrument design and administration, and analysis and summary of validity study data will be emphasize. Offered fall, yearly.


Hierarchical Linear Modeling (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDRE 6634)
Provides a conceptual framework of hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), some important statistical theory behind the HLM, and hands-on training for applying HLM technique through analyzing example data sets and projects. The course includes the formulation of statistical models for typical applications such as two-level organizational study, two-level growth model, and three-level growth model within contexts and prepares students to be able to use multilevel analysis to address research questions in their fields and write coherent summaries and interpretations of the results. Offered fall, yearly.


Evaluation Methods in Education (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDRE 5404)
Principles of evaluation with emphasis on practices applicable to a variety of educational settings. The theoretical and philosophical bases which lead to alternative methodologies. Design and measurement alternatives are considered within the jurisdictional, theoretical, and philosophical contexts. Offered fall and spring each year.


Mixed Method Research Design (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDRE 6606 and EDRE 6504)
Provides an introduction to mixed methods research design in the human and behavioral sciences. Students will design and execute a pilot study for a mixed method research project. Offered fall each year.


Advanced Item Response Theory (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDRE 6624 or EDRE 6684)
Provides students with the concepts and skills to carry out Item Response Theory (IRT) analyses using specialized software, and an introduction to research in measurement. Topics will include binary and polytomous models, item and ability parameter estimation, model fit, and scaling and equating. Offered every other year, spring.


Advanced Issues in Psychometric Research (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDRE 6624 or 6684)
Provides an in-depth look at one or more research topics in psychometrics, or the statistical foundations of educational and psychological tests. Students will become familiar with current research, acquire specialized psychometric analysis skills, and learn how to conduct psychometric research. Topics covered may vary from term to term. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Offered irregularly, spring.


Advanced Issues in Qualitative Research (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDRE 6524)
Provides advanced treatment of important theoretical and methodological topics in the contemporary qualitative literature and in the ongoing development of qualitative methodology. Emphasis is placed on addressing both theoretical issues and issues of research praxis. Topics covered vary from term to term. Offered irregularly, spring.


Advanced Topics in Educational Research (3H, 3C) (Pre: varies)
Advanced treatment beyond standard courses in topics such as questionnaire design, survey sampling, factor analysis, and meta analysis. May be repeated with different topics for up to 6 hours of credit. Longitudinal Data Analysis has been offered each spring for a number of years.

6794 (Assessment)

Assessment in Higher Education (3H, 3C)

Designed to provide an overview of theoretical, philosophical, practical, and policy issues appropriate to outcomes assessment methodology in higher education that are transferable to other educational and non-governmental settings. The course emphasizes understanding of assessment to enhance the educational environment and support academic quality.

EDCI Course that Counts toward the EDRE Graduate Certificate


Ethnographic Research Methods in Education (3H, 3C) (Pre: EDCI 6034)

Exploration of ethnographic methods for data collection and analysis: theoretical bases, procedures, issues, and applications of this approach in educational research.

Certificate Application Form

Fall 2016 and After - Additional Application Materials

The EDRE program is required to assess the knowledge and skills that students gain from coursework that is completed for the EDRE Graduate Certificate. This requirement involves an additional step in the certificate application process, but several options are available. You can submit either an empirical or a non-empirical work sample as part of your application. Please note that the work sample that you submit must have been completed within the last two years and must be (a) a methodologically-oriented paper from one of the courses that you have taken for the EDRE Graduate Certificate, (b) a conference paper, or (c) a manuscript that has been submitted to an academic journal for review or that has been published.

The work sample that you submit will be evaluated by an EDRE faculty member who has relevant expertise, using the relevant criteria listed below. Please note that no minimum score is required for this evaluation.

Learning Outcome #1

The student will be able to understand, apply, and/or evaluate a specific research paradigm, research methodology, data collection method, or data analysis method.

The methodological portion of an empirical work sample will be evaluated using a five-point scale:

1) Was the research methodology used appropriate for investigating the research problem or research question(s)?

2) Was the research methodology understood and used correctly?

A non-empirical work sample will be evaluated using a five-point scale:

1) Was the research paradigm, research methodology, data collection method, or data analysis method described/explained accurately?

2) If relevant, was the research paradigm, research methodology, data collection method, or data analysis method critiqued/evaluated effectively?

Learning Outcome #2

The student will be able to understand and/or apply fundamental methodological concepts that are associated with a specific research paradigm, research methodology, data collection method, or data analysis method (e.g., validity, reliability, generalizability, HLM, SEM, or IRT, as they are understood within a specific methodological tradition).

The Results, Discussion, Limitations, and Conclusion sections of an empirical work sample will be evaluated using a five-point scale:

1) Were the results interpreted correctly?

2) Were the results discussed in relation to the stated research problem or research question(s)?

3) Did the above sections of the work sample demonstrate an understanding of, and adherence to, the methodological requirements for validity, reliability, generalizability, and/or other fundamental methodological concepts such as those that are used in HLM, SEM, or IRT?

A non-empirical work sample will be evaluated using a five-point scale:

1) Were fundamental methodological concepts described/explained accurately?

2) If relevant, were fundamental methodological concepts critiqued/evaluated effectively?


Additional Application Requirements for Fall 2016 and After