FAQ on Missouri Quantitative Psychology

1. What is the job outlook, and what jobs are available?

Quantitative psychologists are in high demand, yet there is generally a shortage of students entering the field. This means that there are many job opportunities available, and the number of opportunities is predicted to increase in the future. Common employers of quantitative psychologists include universities, testing companies (e.g., ETS or the College Board), and government. The following readings describe the shortage of quantitative psychologists and the increase in jobs:

As test-taking grows, test-makers grow rarer (New York Times)
Too few in quantitative psychology (American Psychological Association)
Report of the APA task force for increasing the number of quantitative psychologists.
For today’s graduate, just one word: Statistics (New York Times)

2. I don't know enough to know who I should choose as an adviser.

This is common for students entering quantitative psychology programs and should not be a point of major concern (if you already understood everything, you would not need to enroll in the program in the first place!). You are encouraged to work with multiple faculty and will have the opportunity to explore your interests.

3. What are the research expectations?

Students are expected to conduct research throughout their graduate careers, with the research becoming more independent as students progress. We have found that the quantitative research process proceeds more slowly than in other areas of psychology (probably because the required mathematical/statistical background is larger), but research is highly emphasized.

4. How much math background do I need?

While the general answer is “the more the better,” there have been successful students who enter without the full sequence of calculus courses. These students generally catch up during their first year of study. In addition to calculus, linear algebra and computer programming are especially useful.

5. Can I take courses in the Statistics Department while I am in the Quantitative Psychology program?

Yes, quantitative psychology students are generally expected to complete coursework in the Statistics Department, leading to an MA in Statistics.