Use numbers and data to drive systematic change in education

A number is not simply a number in our research methodology program. Here, unlike in math or statistics, numbers are not the final answer. With a PhD in Research Methodology, you can work in educational and institutional research, using numbers to tell the story of the human experience and create meaningful change.

Our commitment to you

Upon graduation with a PhD in research methodology from Loyola, you will possess the following knowledge, skills, and professional values necessary to commence a career as an institutional researcher, evaluator, college professor, or researcher at large professional organizations, testing companies, or consulting agencies that provide educational evaluation services.


You will develop expertise in evaluation, statistics, and measurement, and recognize when research findings are being misrepresented or data misused. Our expert faculty will train you in both qualitative and quantitative methodology, including applied statistics and psychometrics. You'll also learn how numbers relate to action, policy, and advocacy.


You will be able to critically evaluate bodies of knowledge from a variety of methodological traditions, use a variety of software programs to implement analyses, and conduct all stages of a research study in applied settings. Plus, you'll participate in a required consulting experience, where you'll conduct a research study and then provide consulting advice to a researcher or organization.

Professional Values

We strive to ensure that our graduates never lose sight of the humanity that number reflect, and become responsible researchers whose conclusions align with their findings. You will engage in ethical, just, and culturally competent research practices.


Completion of the PhD degree program requires 60 semester hours of graduate credit, the completion of a research portfolio, and a dissertation. Students also participate in a consulting experience, where they conduct a research study and provide consulting assistance to a researcher or organization. Up to 30 semester hours may be accepted for previously completed work.

Program Length

Students typically take up to two or three courses each term and up to two courses during the summer, and completion times for this degree vary with the topic of each student's dissertation. The typical length for this program is five years.

Doctoral students in research methodology are required to maintain continuous enrollment during their program of studies. This means that during each semester of each academic year (excluding Summer Sessions), each student must do one of the following:

  • Enroll in one of the following:
    At least one course
    Or RMTD 610: Doctoral Studies (maximum enrollment two semesters)
    Or CIEP 600: Dissertation Supervision
  • Request a formal leave of absence, which must be approved by the Graduate School’s Associate Dean.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses (18 semester hours)

  • RMTD 420: Educational Research I: Building a Body of Evidence Using Qualitative Methods
  • RMTD 421: Educational Research II: Building a Body of Evidence Using Quantitative Methods or RMTD 482: Introduction to Linear Models
  • RMTD 403: Design of Survey Research
  • RMTD 406: Educational Evaluation
  • RMTD 483: Multivariate Statistics
  • RMTD 470: Case Study Research Methodology

Minor Research Area (9 semester hours)

Courses must be taken in a substantive area of interest, with approval from the student's advisor.

Electives (33 semester hours)

Students can choose from offerings within or outside of the program with the approval of their advisor.

Comprehensive Assessment: A Comprehensive Research Portfolio is required. Directions [PDF].

Dissertation: A dissertation, as well as an oral defense of the dissertation, is required. Please see the Forms page for related documents.

Degree Conferral

While the commencement ceremony is every May, degrees can be conferred in May, August, and December. Students must apply for graduation/degree conferral. Students should apply for graduation in the semester they anticipate completing all degree requirements. Failure to meet application deadlines may result in a delay of the conferral of the degree to the following semester. Applications for Degree Conferral are due:

  • August 1 for December conferral
  • December 1 for May conferral
  • February 1 for August conferral

Please note the degree conferral application is valid for only one semester. If the degree is not conferred for the semester requested, a new application is required for a subsequent semester.


How long will it take to complete this program?

Five years is about the average length of time, especially if the student is not full-time. However a full-time student who transfers the maximum 30 credit hours from another university could complete the PhD in as few as three years. Please note that a maximum of six years is allowed to complete your coursework and dissertation.

Much will depend upon how many courses a student is able to take during any given term. Since the minimum is 20 courses, one should count on two or three years of coursework, another year for taking and passing comprehensive exams and developing a proposal, and at least one more year for the dissertation research. 

What can I do with a degree in research methodology?

This degree offers many professional opportunities. Recent graduates work at research firms, testing companies, professional associations or accrediting agencies, nonprofits, and in higher education, including institutional research.

How is the consulting experience structured?

The consulting experience is fulfilled by providing research or statistical consulting. Students, in consultation with their advisor, will determine the form of the consulting. For example, some students have provided statistical analysis assistance to faculty members or other doctoral students at the university, working on a research team with a faculty member in the School of Education. Others have completed a project associated with the student's full-time employment.