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Program Overview

How do we know which programs and policies are successful in improving society and which are not? How can we use assessments to help make programs and policies work better? Program evaluation specialists use applied research methods and other tools to determine how people can improve programs and policies, and which programs and policies are effective in addressing important social problems. Students in this program are preparing for or working in a career requiring program evaluation knowledge and skills.

The Program Evaluation courses are taught by seasoned evaluators who work in diverse settings and bring real-world experience to the classroom. They are leaders in the field who serve on evaluation association boards, author books and articles on evaluation theory and practice, and/or facilitate trainings for evaluation audiences.

Program Outcomes

The Graduate Certificate in Program Evaluation is a 12-credit program that provides a strong foundation in evaluation theory and practice skills. To earn the certificate, students must complete the following courses:

1. Foundations of Evaluation

2. Practice Evaluation Design OR Qualitative and Mixed Evaluation Methods

3. Any two of the following not completed to fulfill requirement 1 or 2 above:

  • Evaluation Design 
  • Qualitative and Mixed Evaluation Methods 
  • Evaluation Data Collection Methods 
  • Statistics for Evaluators I 
  • Statistics for Evaluators II 
  • Communicating and Reporting 
  • Evaluation Management
  • Career Outlook

    Graduates of this program possess the skills to develop evaluation proposals and contracts; design rigorous and culturally competent evaluations; collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative evaluation data; communicate findings to diverse audiences; and/or work successfully with stakeholders throughout the process of conducting an evaluation. The program evaluation certificate adds an important credential to graduate's rsums. It helps them stand out in the job market or excel in their current position in diverse settings such as foundations, human service agencies, school systems, hospitals, Inspector Generals offices, and independent evaluation firms.



    • PSY 880 Foundations of Evaluation Practice3 Credits

      Introduction to the history, professional roles and contexts in which evaluation occurs, professional standards, and leading theories of program evaluation practice.


    • PSY 881 Evaluation Design3 Credits

      Introduction to designing process and outcome evaluations, including how to engage stakeholders; developing a logic model; developing evaluation questions; using quasi-experimental and experimental designs in evaluation; and sampling and randomization.

    • PSY 883 Statistics for Evaluators I3 Credits

      Learn about foundational descriptive statistics and their applications and limitations; the logic of inferential statistics and their application in evaluation; the basics of correlation and regression analysis; how to select, conduct, interpret, and report analyses using SPSS; and data management.

    • PSY 884 Qualitative and Mixed Method Evaluation Methods3 Credits

      Familiarizes students with commonly-used qualitative and mixed method designs and basic approaches to qualitative and mixed method data analysis.

    • PSY 888 Evaluation Management3 Credits

      Learn what it takes to lead an evaluation from preparing the evaluation plan and budget to managing the evaluation team and stakeholders, facilitating use along the way, and delivering results and promised products within a budget, timeline, and agreed-upon expectations of quality.


    • PSY 882 Evaluation Data Collection Methods3 Credits

      Introduction to data collections methods commonly used in evaluation, including surveys, qualitative interviews, focus groups, structured observation protocols, qualitative observations, agency records, and secondary data.

    • PSY 885 Communicating and Reporting3 Credits

      Learn how to develop a dissemination plan, facilitate stakeholder meetings and workshops, generate actionable recommendations, display data, and present findings using multiple modalities.

    • PSY 887 Statistics for Evaluators II3 Credits

      Learn about inferential statistics and quantitative data analysis in the evaluation context, including parametric and non-parametric statistics, handling non-normal and missing data, calculating effect sizes, and determining sample sizes. Build skills in conducting, interpreting, and reporting analyses in SPSS.

    Admissions and Requirements

    To be accepted to this program, you must have:

    1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
    2. Taken the TOEFL

      (Only required if English is not your native language)

    3. A written personal statement

    4. 3 letters of recommendation

      A minimum of three letters of recommendation from academic or professional contacts.

    5. Official transcripts from all previous schools

    To apply to this program:

    1. Complete the online admissions application (program code: 7754). A non-refundable $50 application fee is required.
    2. Log in to your account at to upload your personal statement and letter writers' contact information. Your letter writers will receive an email with instructions for submitting their letters through our online system.
    3. Request official transcripts from each institution attended. The official transcripts must be sent by the appropriate officials from each institution directly to the Department of Psychology at the following address: Program Evaluation Graduate Program, Department of Psychology, 316 Physics Road Rm 262, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824. Your application is not complete until we receive your official transcripts.
    4. For non-US citizens without permanent residency status, have English language proficiency test scores (TOEFL or IELTS) electronically sent to the MSU Office of Admissions directly from the testing agency. MSU's TOEFL code is 1465. Also, review MSU's international requirements here: Do not have testing reports mailed to the university or Department of Psychology.
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    Key Dates

    Fall 2021 (application and materials)

    Application Deadline

    June 30, 2021

    Spring (application and materials)

    Application Deadline

    November 15, 2020

    Summer 2021 (application and materials)

    Application Deadline

    March 15, 2021

    Tuition & Fees

    In State Tuition

    • $9,000
    • Total

    Out of State Tuition

    • $9,000
    • Total

    Flat Fees

    • Books/Materials (Estimated)
    • $420


    As one of the top research universities in the world, Michigan State University has advanced the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years.

    MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community.