Master's Degree Programs

MEd in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment (MESA)

Check out student testimonials on what makes the MESA program great.

The MESA MEd program provides rigorous training in quantitative and qualitative methodologies and addresses the current industry-wide shortage of highly trained individuals in educational research and other social science research settings. The program offers nationally recognized faculty committed to the mentoring process, projects and coursework tailored to students’ career goals and interests. It offers an effective balance between theoretical and applied courses, and training in fields with excellent career potential. 

For more MESA options, check out our Online MESA MEd program and Educational Research Methodology online certificate.

MESA Faculty

The following faculty in the Department of Educational Psychology teach most of the MESA courses. In addition to the courses taught within the MESA program, students in MESA MEd program can take MESA related courses outside the Department of Educational Psychology, even outside the College of Education. Please check with your advisor before enrolling to make sure the credits will be acceptable to transfer to the MESA MEd.

Ting Dai Headshot

Ting Dai, PhD

Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology

Ting Dai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology.  Her research centers on measurement of student motivation, epistemic cognition, and achievement in STEM.  Dr. Dai also studies methodological issues with educational and psychological research, such as validity and measurement invariance of motivational measures, missing data, and measurement of treatment effects.  She is co-Principal Investigator on funded research projects by the Institute of Education Sciences and the National Institutes of Health.  Her work is published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, and she is on the editorial board of the Journal of Experimental Education.  Dr. Dai teaches courses in statistics (e.g., Structural Equation Modeling) and assessment.


PhD Educational Psychology, Temple University
MEd Educational Psychology, Temple University

MESA Courses

  • Assessment for Measurement Professionals
  • Special Topics in Educational Psychology: Structural Equation Modeling

Faculty Profile

George Karabatsos Headshot

George Karabatsos, PhD

Professor of Educational Psychology

George Karabatsos is a Professor of Educational Psychology, and by courtesy, Professor at the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science. Karabatsos research deals with the development, improvement, and application of statistical models, especially for complex data sets. His inquiry deals with Bayesian models and related computational methods, for regression analysis, psychometric item-response analysis, causal inference, meta-analysis including publication bias analysis, and order-restricted statistical inference.
Karabatsos’ work has been published in various peer-reviewed journals including Psychometrika, Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, Electronic Journal of Statistics, British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, Communication in Statistics: Simulation and Computation, Behavior Research Methods, and Research Synthesis Methods.

He has also published chapters in various books, including Handbook Of Item Response Theory: Models, Statistical Tools, and Applications, Statistical Models for Equating, Scaling, and Linking, Nonparametric Bayesian Methods in Biostatistics, Bayesian Evaluation of Informative Hypotheses, and Bayesian Theory and Applications.

Karabatsos is also an author of a menu-based statistical software package, which can perform data analysis using any one of more than 100 statistical models.

Karabatsos’ work as Principal Investigator has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, The Spencer Foundation, and the National Institutes for Health. Karabatsos also served as an Associate Editor for the journals Psychometrika and Computational Statistics and Data Analysis.


1998 – PhD, University of Chicago, Department of Education, Program in Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistical Analysis (MESA)

MESA Courses

  • Hierarchical Linear Models
  • Item Response Theory
  • Nonparametric Statistics
  • Educational Measurement
  • Theory of Statistics

Faculty Profile
Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science Profile

Personal Website

Everett Smith Headshot

Everett V. Smith, PhD

Professor of Educational Psychology

Everett Smith specializes in psychometrics, specifically Rasch measurement, and his research interests and expertise include test and rating scale design and analysis for the measurement of latent constructs and testing model robustness.

He studies applications of Rasch measurement in the social, behavioral, health, rehabilitation, and medical sciences for both criterion and norm-reference assessments. Among these applications include studies of dimensionality, DIF, cross-cultural equivalence, equating, item banking, rating scale optimization and standard setting. Smith is the co-editor of Introduction to Rasch Measurement: Theory, Models, and Applications (2004), Rasch Measurement: Advanced and Specialized Applications (2007), and Criterion-Reference Testing: Practice Analysis to Score Reporting Using Rasch Measurement Models (2009). He serves as the associate editor for the Journal of Applied Measurement, and is on the editorial board of Educational and Psychological Measurement.


PhD, University of Connecticut

MESA Courses

  • Essentials of Quantitative Inquiry in Education
  • Rating Scale and Questionnaire Design and Analysis

Faculty Profile

Michael Thomas Headshot

Michael K. Thomas, PhD

Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology

Michael K. Thomas is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses the cultural dimensions of technology implementation in learning contexts and what this means for the design of technology-rich innovations for learning. Three key questions with respect to this are (a) What are the central concerns of teachers, trainers, and other stakeholders regarding the implementation of technology in learning contexts? (b) What do they do to continually resolve these concerns? and (c) In what ways does culture play a role in the design and implementation of technology-rich innovations? He is particularly interested in video games and gameification in learning environments. He is currently PI on an NSF funded project on games for teaching and learning computer science and cybersecurity. He has expertise in qualitative research in general and grounded theory in particular. Before joining, UIC, he taught instructional technology and research methodology at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He has also been an ESL/EFL teacher in New York City Public Schools and has taught overseas.


Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology and Language Education, Indiana University, Bloomington.

MESA Courses

  • Essentials of Qualitative Inquiry in Education
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Grounded Theory

Faculty Profile

Terri Thorkildsen Headshot

Terri Thorkildsen, PhD

Professor of Education and Psychology

Theresa (Terri) Thorkildsen is a professor of Education and Psychology. Thorkildsen’s expertise in research design and methods is evident in her book, Fundamentals of Measurement in Applied Research. Thorkildsen’s current research highlights how individuals incorporate their understanding of the fairness of institutional practices into their motivation to achieve academic goals. Findings from these studies illustrate how individuals formulate and enact intentions. Thorkildsen seeks to understand how youth come to understand the structure of civil engagement, and how this type of engagement differs from personal and civic engagement. This programmatic attempt to understand why some individuals become highly committed to school while others avoid such commitments is disseminated in a wide range of outlets. As a fellow of the American Psychological Association and of the American Educational Research Association, Thorkildsen is also an active citizen in a number of professional organizations as well as in the UIC community.


1988 – PhD, Purdue University, Humanities, Social Science, & Education
1985 – MS, Purdue University, Humanities, Social Science, & Education
1982 – BS, University of Washington, Department of Psychology

MESA Courses

  • Introduction to Educational Research: Designs and Analyses

Faculty Profile

Yue Yin Headshot

Yue Yin, PhD

Associate Professor of Educational Psychology

Yue Yin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology.  Her research interests and expertise include assessments, science education, research design, survey design, and applied measurement/statistics. Dr. Yin is particularly interested in classroom assessment and applied measurement. She has conducted research on performance assessment, concept mapping assessment, formative assessment, concept inventory development and validation, and computational thinking assessment. The subject contents in her research have involved physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and statistics, ranging from K-12 to higher education. In her research, she used learning theory as a foundation, measurement and statistics as tools, to explore and examine ways of using assessments to improve students’ learning.


2005 – PhD, Stanford University, Science Education and Assessment
2003 – MA, Stanford University, Psychology
2000 – MA, Peking University, Educational Management
1997 – BS, Peking University, Applied Chemistry

MESA Courses

  • Advanced Analysis of Variance in Educational Research
  • Multiple Regression in Educational Research
  • Multivariate Analysis of Educational Data
  • Educational Measurement
  • Hierarchical Linear Models

Faculty Profile

For more information, sign up for our email list below, review degree requirements, submit a question to program advisor Ana Valenta at or contact the Office of Student Services at 312-996-4532.  Ready to apply?  Start the application process now.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours, at least 9 of which must be at the 500 level. Independent Study Courses and any 597 or 598 courses do not count toward the required 9 hours of 500 level coursework for the MEd program.

Research Methods Core (8 hours):

  • Research Design in Education (EPSY 509 - 4 hours)
  • Essentials of Quantitative Inquiry in Education (ED/EPSY 503 - 4 hours)

Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Evaluation (MESA) Elective Domain (8 hours)

  • MESA courses must be selected from Educational Psychology 500-level MESA courses in consultation with program advisor.

Elective Courses (16 hours):

  • Elective courses should be approved by program advisor.

Required Course for Students taking the Thesis Option (5 hours minimum):

  • Thesis Research (EPSY 598 - 5 to 16 hours).  Students electing to complete an optional thesis or research project should earn a minimum of 5 hours in thesis research (EPSY 598). For a thesis involving 5 hours, two types of research are appropriate. The first would emphasize the ability to conduct and write up a secondary data analysis. The second would require the student to write a literature review of publishable quality on a chosen topic. This would include a thesis rationale and review of predominant methods used to investigate the phenomena of interest. For those students wanting to conduct original research, 8 hours will be required.

Advising Guide

Limits on Transfer of Credits

The specific number of credit hours accepted for transfer is determined on an individual basis. No transfer is automatic.

Maximum Allowed Transfer Credit—No more than 25 percent of the hours required for a master's degree requiring 32-47 hours of credit, or more than 50 percent of the hours required for a master's degree requiring 48 or more hours of credit, can be transferred from another institution or another college at UIC.  Transfer credit is considered only for courses in which the student received a grade of A or B.  Credit earned more than six calendar years before admission to the Graduate College is not usually accepted for transfer. Nondegree Credit  Nondegree students who are admitted as degree candidates may, by petition, transfer up to 12 semester hours of graduate-level courses in which grades of A or B were earned.  This does not count towards the limits of transfer credit listed above.

Transfer Credit

Consideration is given to the transfer of credit in three categories.

Previous graduate work for which a degree was not awarded. Graduate work completed elsewhere after admission to UIC and for which a degree was not awarded. Students considering taking graduate work elsewhere during a leave of absence should consult their advisor and director of graduate studies about such plans and the courses that may be considered for transfer. Graduate work completed in the senior year at UIC that was not applied to the baccalaureate.

To be considered for transfer, graduate work must have been completed in an accredited institution approved by one of the regional accreditation associations or by the agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, and must meet quality and content of courses offered at UIC.

Advising Materials

Advising guides offer a checklist for class completion requirements. If you have any questions, please contact Program Coordinator Dr. Yue Yin at

Options and Outcomes

Our MESA program offers an impressive depth of course offerings, especially in psychometrics, and is one of the only institutions in the country that offers coursework in all four major paradigms in psychometrics (IRT, Rasch measurement, generalizability theory and classical test theory). The program will:

  • Enhance students’ career opportunities by increasing their quantitative and qualitative research skills
  • Create opportunities for students in settings such as academic institutions, state and federal agencies, school districts, and the testing industry, that require technical skills
  • Provide a stepping stone for those students who wish to pursue doctoral studies in a MESA area

For some additional information on jobs in MESA and a listing of various resources for available jobs in MESA related areas, please review the job resources guide (pdf) prepared by the MESA program.

Student Testimonials

Headshot of student K. Drill

“As a student in the MEd MESA program, I gained both the skills and confidence to thoughtfully use a variety of quantitative approaches in my work. The courses in psychometrics, survey design, multiple regression, and HLM were tremendous assets and are approaches I use regularly. The instructors in each course were patient, understanding, and highly skilled. I would highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to expand their quantitative repertoire or for anyone who needs a refresher on analytic approaches. MESA is a fantastic program that truly changed my career trajectory for the better!”

- K. Drill | MESA on-campus | Owner of a research consulting firm, Oregon

Headshot of student J. Anderson

“I enrolled in the MEd MESA program in order to switch careers. I learned the basics of Rasch modeling, and with that skill I was able to obtain my present position as an external evaluator of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programs administered by the Science Education Program Office of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. I also use many of the statistical skills I learned in other MESA courses, especially principal component analysis, taught in the multivariate statistics course. I cannot overstate the importance of the MESA program. It has been invaluable to me. It is one of the best investments I have made.”

- J. Anderson | MESA online | External evaluator of educational programs

Headshot of student S. Walte

“I am a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at UIC. I was originally interested in increasing my knowledge of statistics so I applied for the ERM certificate. I was so impressed by the level of support and structure the online courses and professors offered, though, that I decided to pursue the MEd MESA degree. I am so thankful to be part of this program. I have learned so much and cannot imagine reading, let alone conducting, research without the skills I have learned through this program.”

- S. Walte | MESA online | Doctoral student at UIC

Headshot of student WL Siu

“The MEd MESA program is comprehensive program equipping me with knowledge and skills to become a professional project manager for an examination board. From the discussion of fundamental principles such as validity and fairness to the study of practical issues like item-writing and large-scale examination administration, the courses cover a wide-range of topics that frequently appear on my meeting agendas. As a manager of research projects, I benefit most from the statistics-related courses. They all include an up-to-the-point introduction to the related mathematical theories but really emphasize on research applications.”

- WL Siu | MESA online | Hong Kong Examinations & Assessment Authority

Headshot of student A. Allen

“The MEd MESA program was an excellent addition to my primary PhD program in Literacy, Language, and Culture and has opened up so many new career possibilities to me in educational research. The online courses and structure of the program make it easy to manage alongside other commitments (job, school, life), and the faculty are all extremely responsive to student questions and needs.”

- A. Allen | MESA on-campus | Doctoral student at UIC

Headshot of student G. Braun

“This program has been great so far. The faculty is supportive and readily available. The courses and individual lessons have been clear and coherent. I am able to work at my own pace, while also having instructors and other students available to answer questions or engage in discussions.”

- G. Braun | ERM certificate | Doctoral student at UIC

Headshot of student J. Dupre

“The MEd MESA program is exactly the type of program I was looking for: It could be completed at distance, the course offerings are comprehensive in nature, but the material is presented in a very practical way. The course delivery is exceptionally well done, taking advantage of the blackboard platform you are free to interact with the material at your own pace but you never feel alone since the faculty and other learners are always available through the discussion board. Overall, I feel that each course I take within my program provides me with additional knowledge that enhances my preparation in addressing questions that arise in my work as a data and research analyst.”

- J. Dupre | MESA online | Data and research analyst, Canada

Headshot of student Q. Fu

“My studies in the MESA program were rewarding in every possible way. The courses and my RA work helped lay down a solid foundation in all the four areas of MESA, which is so important for my work at Lehigh including grant proposal writing, research, consultation, to teaching of graduate-level courses in Statistics, Psychometrics, and Research. The MESA professors definitely went out of their way in my search of GA, internship, and jobs at my graduation. Their relentless support for, and protection of, the MESA students also set a perfect example for my current role as a faculty member. Their support has continued even after my graduation. When I am stuck in my work, I still e-mail or call them for some questions.”

- Q. Fu | MESA PhD | Professor of Practice at Lehigh University

Headshot of student D. Phelps

“As a Teaching Track faculty member, research is important but excellence in instruction is paramount. A key contributor to success in both is having a firm understanding of measurement and statistics. Even with my previous education, there were times I found having a broader and more in-depth understanding of approaches to data analysis helpful. The courses in measurement, statistics, and assessments available through the MESA program have afforded me numerous opportunities to improve my instruction through the application of classical test theory, and has improved my research through both new measurement approaches using modern test theory and the knowledge and confidence to apply more advanced statistical methods.”

- D. Phelps | MESA online | Associate teaching professor, Qatar

“The MEd MESA program is very flexible. Having the option of taking online courses have been great. It’s easy to contact professors and ask questions. I’ve learned so much in such a short period.”

- C.Y. | MESA on-campus | Math and English teacher, Illinois

“The overall design of the online course is solid. I like those well-made PowerPoint slides. I also found the additional reading materials could greatly help me better understand the models and their use in real case. Models that I learned from HLM class greatly helped me in structuring my research project and further guide my data analysis. Plus, all instructors are very responsive in email correspondence.”

- Y. Chen | MESA on-campus student

“I think the MESA courses are very helpful. I call recall the Computerized Adaptive Testing course is especially helpful – got some hands-on, real-world experience on IRT and CAT. Also, by taking many MESA courses and learning from professors and colleagues, I think I have gained the psychometric skills and knowledge as well as the professional attitudes/ethics – which are very important for getting ready for the future’s jobs and so forth.”

- Anonymous | MESA on-campus | PhD Educational Psychology student

“I took MEd MESA courses as my second degree concurrently with my first degree, PhD in Educational Psychology (specialization in Human Development and Learning). While I did not complete my PhD yet, obtaining MESA MEd allows me to search for jobs in the field of research. Additionally, through the MESA MEd I was able to enhance my research methodology skills. Especially, I like online classes because I was able manage my schedule.”

- Anonymous | MESA online | Research assistant at UIC

The MESA program is doing an incredible job. MESA online courses are well organized, paced and supported. It is really hard to use an online teaching model. However, MESA courses are rigorous and full of very useful and applicable information. MESA faculty is amazing and very available for support. I would not change a thing in the online MESA program.”

- G. Reinoso | ERM certificate | University professor, Florida

“The exclusively online MESA MEd track was a comprehensive education with expert, supportive and accessible faculty. The reputation of the program was well known by my current Chicago employer and I joined other MESA students and graduates in my new position. The unique evaluation focus of the MESA program prepared me with a knowledge base that provided meaningful contribution to my new colleagues right out of the gate. Since starting with the Chicago-based organization as an intern, I have been promoted twice and have been propelled professionally by my MESA education!”

- S. Robinson | MESA online | Evalutation Specialist, YMCA

Application Process

Application Deadlines

Fall Deadline: March 15
Spring Deadline: October 1

  1. Applicants who are not currently registered graduate students at UIC must complete the UIC Graduate School application. Submit your application fee when completing the application.
  2. Complete the online College of Education application.
  3. The following documents should be uploaded online upon receiving email instructions after completing the UIC Graduate School application. View the Document Upload Guide for more information.
    • Upload undergraduate transcripts for your last 60 hours of the undergraduate degree and all graduate transcripts.
    • TOEFL or IELTS test scores for international applicants only
    • Three letters of recommendation. These letters should address the applicant's academic qualifications, research ability/experience and ability to carry on advanced degree studies. Letters may be from current or former professors or supervisors. At least one letter should be from someone who can address your experience working with children.
    • Personal statement. This statement should discuss your professional goals and overall goals for the program.
  4. Submit your GRE test score.  Please send a copy of your scores directly to the College of Education.
  5. Faculty interview. You will be contacted by the program for an interview with a faculty member.

Program FAQs

If you do not find your question or answer in the following list of common questions, see the detailed FAQ document (pdf) prepared by the MESA program.

Q: What are the areas of MESA?

A: MESA stands for measurement, evaluation, statistics, and assessment.

  • Measurement involves the assignment of numbers to objects such that the numbers represent degrees or quantities of unobservable constructs such as attitudes, achievement, self-efficacy, self-esteem, etc. 
  • Evaluation involves the systematic collection of information about the activities, characteristics, and outcomes of programs to make judgments about program quality, improve program effectiveness, and/or inform decisions about future program development. 
  • Statistics aims at learning the process that generated the data, including learning how a given variable is affected by other variables, and learning about the true (population) distribution of the data.
  • Assessment involves the processes of collecting, synthesizing, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative and qualitative information to aid in decision-making.

Q: What are the job prospects?
A: Surveys of degree programs and employment agencies conclude that there is high demand for quantitative and qualitative methodologists who can function effectively in research and applied settings. The MEd program is designed to prepare individuals for careers working in a variety of research and applied settings, such as academic institutions, state and federal agencies, school districts, research consulting firms, the testing industry, and evaluation organizations (e.g., licensure and certification boards, private and not-for-profit testing organizations).

Q: I noticed that there are two MESA MEd programs at UIC: on-campus MESA MEd and online MESA MEd. What are their differences and similarities?

A: The two programs are similar in the following major dimensions: (a) Admission criteria: They require the same application materials and admit students by using the same criterion; (b) Degree requirements: They both require 32 credit hours (typically students take eight 4-credit courses or courses with other credit hours to reach 32); (c) Diplomas: The MEd diplomas for the two programs are the same.

The two programs differ in the following major dimensions: (a) Delivery of the courses: All the courses for the online MESA MEd program are delivered online. Courses for the on-campus MESA MEd programs are mixed--some of them are online and some of them are on campus. (b) Tuition: The campus and online tuition rates are different. View tuition information for a specific term/year.


Q: What are the courses offered in your program?

A: We typically offer the following MESA related courses. Besides those courses, MESA MEd students can also take other MESA related courses inside and outside the College of Education to meet their MESA MEd degree requirement with the program coordinator's approval.

  • General research method and foundation:
    • EPSY 509/ED506: Introduction to Educational Research: Designs and Analyses
    • ED 502: Essentials of Qualitative Inquiry in Education
    • EPSY 503/ED 503: Essentials of Quantitative Inquiry in Education
  • Measurement:
    • EPSY 546: Educational Measurement
    • EPSY 504: Rating Scale and Questionnaire Design and Analysis
    • EPSY 506: Item Response Theory
    • EPSY 507: Approaches to Analyzing Rating Data*
    • EPSY 562: Large-Scale Testing
    • EPSY 594: Computer Adaptive Testing*
  • Evaluation:
    • EPSY 560: Educational Program Evaluation
  • Statistics:
    • EPSY 563: Advanced Analysis of Variance in Educational Research
    • EPSY 547: Multiple Regression in Educational Research
    • EPSY 583: Multivariate Analysis of Educational Data
    • EPSY 512: Hierarchical Linear Models
    • EPSY 510: Theory of Statistics*
    • EPSY 514: Non-Parametric Modeling*
  • Assessment:
    • EPSY 561: Assessment for Measurement Professionals

Note: The courses with an asterisk (*) is only offered on-campus currently.


Q: How long is the program?

A: Most students complete this degree program attending part-time over a 2-year period (2 courses per semester). However, the program is flexible, allowing students to progress at their own rate. If you choose to go full time, you could finish in just two semesters.


Q: Do I have to be available during the day?

A: No, almost all the campus College of Education courses in MESA meet 5:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, allowing students to work part-time or even full- time. Online courses typically have weekly deadlines, but students can complete the work on their own timelines during the week.


Q: What are the degree requirements for the MEd in MESA?

A: Students must complete a minimum of 32 credit hours (equivalent to eight 4-credit-hour courses). For details, contact the program coordinator. 


Q: Do I need a degree in education to be admitted into this program?

A: No, this program does not require students to have a previous degree in education. Career changers and those with a bachelor’s degree in other fields are welcome to apply for this program.


Q: Can I still work and complete this program?

A: Yes, most students maintain part-time or even full-time employment while pursuing the program.


Q: Can I transfer other coursework  I’ve completed elsewhere into this program?

A: With your program coordinator's approval, you can transfer up to 12 hours of graduate  UIC credit  and up to 8 hours of non-UIC graduate level credit.


Q: Can applicants apply to any term?

A: The on-campus MEd in MESA accepts applications twice a year: in fall and spring semesters. The online MEd in MESA accepts applications three times a year: in fall, spring, and summer semesters.


Q: Are there scholarships available?

A: Yes, please visit our Financial Aid page for more information.


Q: Where can I get additional information?

A: Check out the Graduate Catalog.


Q: Does MESA have a Ph.D. program?

A: Yes. Please see PhD in EPSY with a MESA focus.


Q: If I have additional questions about MESA MEd program, who should I contact?

A: If you require any additional information about on-campus MESA MEd program, you can check a more thorough FAQ list and/or contact Dr. Yue Yin at

If you require any additional information about online MESA MEd or certificate programs, please check the online MESA MEd website or contact Dr. Ev Smith at