Sub-specialization in MERM

The Sub-specialization in MERM is for doctoral students only


Many UBC graduate students have a strong interest in methodological issues, in addition to their content area specialization. Typically they want to expand their breadth of expertise in a career position. Students may feel they have an advantage in obtaining an academic position if they are not only able to teach courses in their field of specialization, but also to teach some courses in methodology. Other students may wish to obtain a research position in their area of specialization and feel that demonstration of competence in methodology would enhance their qualifications for employment. In response to this interest, the MERM Program has arranged for a sub-specialization in MERM for UBC doctoral students. Upon completion of these course requirements, the MERM Coordinator will write a letter to the student stating that they have met the requirements for a sub-specialization in MERM.

Note that because the University of British Columbia does not recognize sub-specialization areas on graduate transcripts, the sub-specialization is not a formal degree or certificate. Rather, it is a formal recognition by the MERM area that the student has completed a set of courses that we agree represents an appropriate level of MERM knowledge for a student outside of MERM. Students would be able to indicate this sub-specialization in MERM on their resumes. The MERM area considers this sub-specialization equivalent to what is called a Minor area of concentration at some other universities.


UBC doctoral students interested in the MERM sub-specialization should meet with their advisor to discuss the option of taking the appropriate courses to earn this distinction. Any questions about the sub-specialization in MERM, courses, or the process to follow, should be directed to the MERM Coordinator.

Once the student has completed the required course work, he/she should write a letter to the MERM Coordinator outlining how the requirements were met, accompanied by a copy of his/her transcript(s) showing grades in all courses taken for the sub-specialization. Once all materials have been submitted, the MERM Coordinator will endeavour to provide a letter certifying that the requirements have been met for a sub-specialization in MERM within 60 days.

Most cases will be dealt with directly by the MERM Coordinator. Any unusual cases or situations may require review by the MERM Program Committee.

Note: If a student was working toward the MERM Sub-specialization under its previous version (i.e., pre-May 2, 2011) and wishes his/her case to be considered using those requirements, please make this clear when submitting materials to the MERM Coordinator.


A minimum of 6 MERM courses, with at least one being a 600-level course, are required from the list below for the MERM Sub-specialization.

EPSE 528
Basic Principles of Measurement
EPSE 529
Development of Scales and Measures
EPSE 581
Special Topics in Research Design and Analysis
EPSE 591
Theory and Practice of Program Evaluation
EPSE 592
Experimental Designs and Analysis (includes ANOVA designs)
EPSE 593
Design and Analysis of Research with Small Samples and Single Subjects
EPSE 594
Meta-Analysis: Quantitative Research Synthesis
EPSE 595
Qualitative Research Methods
EPSE 596
Correlational Designs and Analysis (includes Multiple Regression)
EPSE 597
Factor Analysis and its Application to Behavioural Sciences (Structural Equation Modeling)
EPSE 681
Advanced Topics in Research and Measurement
EPSE 682
Multivariate Designs and Analysis
EPSE 683
Hierarchical Linear Modeling, Growth and Change
EPSE 684
Item Response Theory

Students need to be aware that some courses may have prerequisites and/or require permission of the instructor.

Although the MERM Sub-specialization is only available to doctoral students, the course requirements can be met using courses taken during either the masters or doctoral degrees at UBC.

80% Minimum

It is necessary to obtain 80% or higher in a course for it to be counted toward the MERM Sub-specialization. If a student receives 75%-79% on a course, the student may petition the MERM program committee about this course, after all other courses are completed. If performance has been excellent on all other courses, the committee may, on a case-by-case basis, award the sub-specialization in MERM. If a student receives a mark lower than 75% in a course or has not been successful with a petition regarding a mark of 75%-79%, the student may choose to re-take the course or to take another MERM course at a level of 80% or higher. An audited course does not count toward the sub-specialization.

Equivalent Courses or Substitutions

Course work taken outside of MERM will not be considered for the MERM Sub-specialization. As noted above, a minimum of 6 MERM courses are required. If a student has completed a course or courses equivalent to one or more MERM courses at UBC or at another university, he/she must still complete a minimum of 6 MERM courses to meet the requirements of the MERM Sub-specialization.

Sample Cases

Case 1: Student has taken the following courses: EPSE 528, EPSE 592, EPSE 596, EPSE 595, EPSE 581, and EPSE 682. All grades exceeded 80%.

Case 2: Student took graduate statistics courses elsewhere that the student considered equivalent to EPSE 592 and 596. Since entering the doctoral program at UBC, the student has completed EPSE 528, EPSE 529, EPSE 581, EPSE 597, EPSE 682, and EPSE 683. All grades in these six courses exceeded 80%.

Case 3: Student took the following MERM courses with grades over 80%: EPSE 528, EPSE 592, EPSE 594, and EPSE 596. The student took a qualitative course outside of MERM. To meet the requirements of the MERM sub-specialization, this student needs to complete two additional MERM courses, including  a 600 level MERM course, each with grades at 80% or higher.

Case 4: Student took the following five courses with grades over 80%: EPSE 528, EPSE 592, EPSE 595, EPSE 596 and EPSE 681. The student took the elective course EPSE 682 but received a mark of 71%. The student is asked to either re-take EPSE 682 or complete another MERM course, in either case with a grade of 80% or higher.

Case 5: Student took the following five courses with grades over 80%: EPSE 528, EPSE 595, EPSE 596, EPSE 591 and EPSE 681. The student took EPSE 592 but received a mark of 78%. The student petitioned the MERM committee about the 78% mark. After considering the student’s excellent performance on the other 5 courses, the committee awarded the student the MERM Sub-specialization.