When you go on the job market, would you like a certification to accompany your degree, confirming that you have special expertise in social science research methodology?
This is now possible, thanks to the new Certificate in Social Science Methodology program created by the Stanford Methods of Analysis Program in Social Sciences (MAPSS).
The purpose of the MAPSS graduate certificate is to provide Stanford Ph.D. students who develop methodological skills with recognition for their advanced cross-disciplinary training in research methods, either quantitative or qualitative or both.
Each social science has its own traditional preferences, favoring some research methods and rarely using others, but these barriers are breaking down at an astonishing rate. Some of the most innovative social science is being done by people who take the time to learn about data collection and/or data analysis techniques developed and used by disciplines other than their own. The MAPSS Certificate program is designed to encourage Stanford graduate students to be innovators in this way.
Specifically, the certificate program seeks to:
- Facilitate the development of broad understanding of many social science research methodologies.
- Enhance researchers' skills at communication across disciplinary boundaries.
- Equip scholars to do especially important work.
Receipt of the Graduate Certificate would confirm that you have met our requirements and have acquired methodological expertise through coursework offered across university departments.
The program is administered by the faculty director of MAPSS. Participation in the program is open to any Stanford PhD student with an interest in social science research methodology.
MAPSS certificate program overview (pdf download).
To earn a MAPSS certificate in social science research methodology, Stanford graduate students enrolled in a PhD program must satisfy the following conditions:
- Submit a "plan of study" form, to be approved by the program coordinator, ensuring sufficient breadth and depth. The form must list the courses the student plans to complete in order to earn the certificate.
- Three quarters of participation in and attendance at the MAPSS colloquium series .
- One presentation of an original research project in the MAPSS colloquium series. The project can be substantive. The presentation should present the substantive project with an emphasis placed on the methodologies used in the project.
- Satisfactory completion of one (1) graduate course on Research Design. A course is considered Research Design if the primary focus is on the appropriate ways to compose an appropriate plan of research to test theories and the resultant hypotheses. Any course listed on the MAPSS webpage with a primary focus on research design would be acceptable. Those courses required by the student's home department may also count for the MAPSS Certificate. Candidates can also request that other courses be considered for approval as well, if their content is suitable. Possible existing courses include:
- COMM 318 Communication Research Methods
- OB670 Designing Organizational Research
- OB678 Workshop in Behavioral Research
- STATS230 Experimental Design
- PSYCH 290 Graduate Research Methods
- PSYCH296 Methods in Personality and Social Psychology
- HRP251 Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials
- ECON279 Experimental Economics
- EDUC351 Design and Analysis of Longitudinal Research
- EDUC257c Inference in Quantitative Educational and Social Science Research
- LING274 Field Methods
- ANTHSCI210 Examining Ethnographies
- Satisfactory completion of one (1) graduate course on Data Collection Techniques or Sampling. An appropriate course in Data Collection/Sampling will have an emphasis on methodological issues surrounding the collection of data and sampling, in addition it will focus on problems and possible solutions for data collection and sampling problems. Those courses required by the student's home department may also count for the MAPSS Certificate. Any course listed on the MAPSS webpage with a primary focus on data collection or sampling would be acceptable. Candidates can also request that other courses be considered for approval as well, if their content is suitable. Possible existing courses include:
- COMM239 Questionnaire Design for Surveys and Laboratory Experiments
- POLISCI442 Qualitative and Field Methods
- PSYCH204 Computational Neuroimaging
- Satisfactory completion of four (4) additional advanced graduate research methods courses on any topics. Those courses required by the student's home department may also count for the MAPSS Certificate. Any course listed on the MAPSS webpage would be acceptable. Candidates can also request that other courses be considered for approval as well, if their content is suitable.
- If a course is to be considered that is NOT listed on the MAPSS webpage, please submit a detailed course description and syllabus if possible.
To apply for the MAPSS Certificate please follow these steps:
- Fill out the application (MSWord doc download - 52 KB).
- Obtain an electronic copy of your transcript (unofficial is acceptable).
- Gather any supporting materials, such as descriptions of additional courses to be considered and their syllabi.
- Email all of this material to Prof. Simon Jackman ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Please contact Prof. Simon Jackman with any questions.
Who approves my "plan of study"?
The director of MAPSS, Professor Simon Jackman.
Who issues the certificate?
MAPSS itself, which is part of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS).
Can other classes not listed on the MAPSS course listing pages count for my certificate?
Yes, when submitting your application, if the course is not on the MAPSS course listing page, submit a detailed description of the class and the syllabus if available and it will be considered.
Where do I turn my application in?
The application is electronic. Please go to the application page .