Ph.D. in Counseling & Personnel Services (Educational Psychology, Measurement, and Evaluation)

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Counseling and Personnel Services (CPS) with a specialization in Educational Psychology, Measurement, and Evaluation (EPME) prepares students to enhance the knowledge base of educational research and assessment. It synthesizes interdisciplinary coursework, training, and fieldwork in order to answer the question of what works in schools—as well as how, under what conditions, and why. All EPME specialization experiences are focused on the comprehension and solution of problems using large datasets and real districts, schools, and classrooms as mechanisms for learning. In keeping with the mission of the CEHD and the commitment of the University of Louisville as a whole, activities will, whenever possible, be designed to engage students with issues affecting urban, minority, and at-risk populations in the surrounding community and the nation.

The EPME specialization has been constructed to give students rigorous coursework and practical experiences, and develop their research and professional skills during a critical formative stage of their careers. It provides students with a "toolbox" of advanced theoretical, methodological, and statistical skills; rich, applied research experiences in complex educational settings, specifically school reform settings; intensive faculty mentoring; a systemic awareness of educational policy and reform contexts; and professional development opportunities.

Kate Niehaus

The EPME program offers not only a well-rounded education in research and academic study, but also personal support for students through faculty mentoring and guidance. The faculty here are experts in their fields of research and generously share their knowledge, skills, and experiences with students. Most importantly, the EPME faculty are invested in students' success and will do all that they can to help students thrive in their doctoral studies and future careers.

Kate Niehaus, Ph.D., EPME Graduate

EPME Specialization Themes and Programming

Six core themes inform and focus the coursework, practicum/internship experiences, research preparation, and professional development provided under the EPME specialization of the CPS doctoral degree: (a) uncompromising methodological rigor and breadth of knowledge of multiple research methodologies; (b) an understanding of the full range of policy contexts and levels of organizations in which reform must succeed in order to endure; (c) a focus on the real world of American education; (d) an emphasis on measuring results; (e) a focus on issues of equity; and (f) a deep understanding of and commitment to fostering diversity.

Programmatic strands highlighted in the EPME specialization include, but are not limited to:

  • Research, statistical, and evaluation methodologies that are related to educational research and interventions;
  • The assessment and transformation of educational settings and initiatives;
  • Assessments and interventions in districts and schools that are essential to addressing equity gaps, educational outcomes, and effectiveness;
  • Student assessment, standards, and standardized testing;
  • The issues of changes in practice, school change, and policy change in educational and organizational reform; and
  • Rigorous syntheses of existing studies.

EPME students are mentored to become lifelong researchers and to generate new knowledge. The program is designed to provide multiple opportunities for in-depth research experience, publications, and presentations. Here is a list of some of the recent research that graduate students have done with EPME faculty [PDF].

Opportunities for Graduates

Graduates under this specialization of the CPS degree will be prepared to contribute to the field through a variety of environments, including academe, private research firms, foundations, and public school systems.


The Educational Psychology, Measurement, and Evaluation (EPME) specialization requires a minimum of 90 graduate credit hours distributed in the following areas of study: specialty components (42 hour minimum), research methodology (27 hour minimum), and electives (21 hour minimum). Equivalent courses taken in a master's program may be substituted for required courses with advisor and program committee approval. At least 45 of the 90 hours must be earned at UofL. These 45 hours include 18 credit hours fulfilling residency and 12 credit hours required for dissertation research. Although the specialization requires a minimum of 90 hours of coursework, practica/internships, and dissertation research, a full course of study will likely entail additional hours of elective coursework, particularly in the areas of research methods, advanced statistics, and the cognitive sciences.

See the graduate Catalog for more information.

Brittany D. Carpenter

Advanced courses have opened my eyes to the precision of statistics and its relation to educational research. My statistical and analytic skills have been broadened through rigorous coursework offered in the SEM and HLM courses. Both classes have built the professional, practical and scholarly capacity necessary for me to flourish in the academic world of educational research and evaluation.

Brittany D. Carpenter, Ph.D., UofL CEHD Graduate

In addition to coursework, the program requirements are designed to ensure students have developed the necessary skills, have a command of a major field of knowledge, and, thus, have the foundation for dissertation research.

  • By no later than the end of the third year, EPME students must take the lead role on at least one publishable empirical paper.
  • Prior to the dissertation, EPME students must complete comprehensive exams, which can take one of two forms. (1) Students may take a traditional on-demand written exam covering theoretical, applied, and specialty areas. (2) Students may prepare a comprehensive conceptual review of literature. The paper should be of publishable quality in terms of both scope and rigor, and, ideally, inform the dissertation.

Fields of Coursework

Research Methods and Advanced Statistics

The coursework in research methods and statistics will prepare students to be conversant in multiple methodological and epistemological approaches to educational research and, therefore, includes quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods courses.

These courses include Applied Statistics, Survey Research and Attitude Measurement, Advanced Regression Analysis, Multivariate Statistics, Qualitative Field Research and Methods, Evaluation of Educational Processes and Products, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM), and Systematic Reviewing and Meta Analysis.

Issues in Education Research and Policy

The coursework in education research and policy will prepare students to conduct program evaluations and needs assessments in educational and for-profit settings, and to share those results with relevant stakeholders.

These courses address policy analysis and program evaluation, including urban policy; the institutional context of policy formation, implementation, and evaluation; and the analysis of the environments in which policies, agendas, and decisions are made.

Psychological Sciences and Human Development

The coursework in psychological sciences and human development will prepare students to identify learning processes that affect children's development as learners; develop and assess exemplary teaching; and to blend teacher practice with the demands of increased accountability established by NCLB and KERA.

These courses include Human Development; Early Childhood Education and Development; Adolescence; Cognitive Processes; Learning Systems: Theory and Practice; Social Ecology & Social Behavior, Biological Bases of Behavior; and Development in Context.

Students wishing to pursue additional training in this area may take elective courses such as Language and Cognition; Human Memory; Thinking and Problem Solving; and Decision Making, Judgment, and Choice.

Coursework practicum experiences

For at least three semesters, doctoral students will participate in practicum assignments (approximately 8 hours per week for 12 weeks per semester) in organizations that conduct educational research. These field assignments serve as applications of the methods or concepts being taught in the courses in which students are enrolled. Practicum fieldwork will increase in complexity as students move through the program. For example, Year 1 students taking Evaluation of Educational Processes and Products might be assigned to conduct classroom observations, collect data, and assist district personnel in examining the quality of a classroom intervention in a Title I school. A Year 2 student enrolled in the Multilevel Modeling class might be expected to perform a nested analysis of student-, classroom-, and school-level data drawn from a school effectiveness intervention aimed at creating distributed leadership and increasing data use. Analyses performed or results drawn from practicum work will form the basis of a final course paper, report, presentation, or other assignment, as determined by the professor in conjunction with personnel at the hosting organization. Such products should lead to the development of multiple first-authored publishable papers and conference presentations.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must submit an online application for admission to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

  • Official transcripts as verification of all previous coursework and degree(s).
  • Minimum undergraduate grade point average equal to 3.0.
  • Official scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required. Preferred scores are the 60th percentile on the Verbal section and 60th percentile on the Quantitative section. Students with GRE scores below the preferred scores may be admitted based upon the strength of the other components in their application package (undergraduate and graduate GPAs, letters of recommendation, professional goal statement, and volunteer and work experience). Applicants are also required to submit the analytical writing score.
    Please note: when submitting GRE scores through ETS, have scores sent to the general University of Louisville code, 1838.
    Need help preparing for the GRE? Sign up for a GRE Information Session.
  • Students for whom English is not their primary language must show English language proficiency by successfully completing one of the following: Note: International students who have earned a degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S. are not required to complete the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo.
  • Three letters of recommendation on institutional letterhead from individuals who can speak to the applicant's academic and/or professional capabilities and potential, along with the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies recommendation form.
  • A professional resume.
  • A statement of professional goals and research interests of approximately 1,500 words. If the applicant has a preferred faculty mentor(s), the statement should speak to the applicant's match with that faculty member.
  • A writing sample (either a manuscript or class paper).

This program is open to all eligible students regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

An applicant who does not meet one of the above criteria and wishes to be considered for admission should include, in his/her application package, a written rationale for why the doctoral admissions committee should consider the application.

Applicants ranked highest by the doctoral admissions committee based on their application package will be interviewed on campus or by telephone.

Visit the Doctoral Student Handbook to learn more about the admission process. If you have questions about the program, e-mail

Application Deadlines

Fall Term Admission: January 15 for full consideration (financial assistance) or up until February 28 if no financial assistance is requested and positions in the program are still available.


Jeffrey C. Valentine
Department of Counseling and Human Development
College of Education & Human Development
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

For more information about faculty research interests and experience, please see the ECPY and ELFH faculty pages.

Program Faculty

EPME faculty research with graduate students

The EPME program is dedicated to funding its graduate students with opportunities that reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the program. It is housed in the Counseling and Human Development department. About 15-20 ECPY students are provided graduate assistantships each year, and they work throughout the college doing both research and teaching. Additionally, about 2-3 university fellowships per year have been funded in the department, and EPME students with strong records would be eligible to be nominated for these.

Kate Niehaus

My experience as a graduate assistant in the EPME program provided me with both valuable teaching and research experience. In my role as a teaching assistant I was able to strengthen my own skills in advanced statistical methods while providing support to the students enrolled in the courses. I had the opportunity to collaborate with EPME faculty on several research projects, gaining experience in applying the advanced statistical methods that I had learned as a student and using a variety of software packages.

Timothy Sauer, Ph.D., UofL CEHD Graduate

In addition to the financial aid opportunities offered by the University, the College of Education & Human Development also has information about financial aid and scholarships.

Other employment opportunities also exist for those students wishing to work on campus.

What background are EPME students expected to have?

Given the interdisciplinary nature of the program, EPME students come with bachelor's or master's degrees from diverse programs, including but not limited to: education, psychology, sociology, statistics, philosophy, and economics. EPME students are expected to have an interest in applied social science research particularly in school settings. They should have an interest and aptitude in quantitative research.

Emily Dickinson

I've been impressed with the course offerings in advanced statistical methods and the willingness of EPME faculty to work with me to create independent studies that fit well with my research experience and interests. EPME faculty also offer great support and guidance for pursuing research and networking opportunities that will enhance my professional career.

Emily Dickinson, Doctoral Student

What skills does a specialization in EPME help students develop?

The EPME specialization provides rigorous statistical training in the context of educational settings. Students apply advanced methodologies and research designs to real-world educational settings and large-scale data sets. Through mentoring, students learn to generate new knowledge and to become lifelong researchers. The skills developed throughout the program will help students pursue careers in academe as well as in school district accountability offices, state departments of education, and companies and organizations that conduct educational policy research.