Feb 24, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2021-22 
Graduate Catalog 2021-22 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Evaluation (IEVD)

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The Doctor of Philosophy in Evaluation is a collaborative effort of four colleges – Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Development, Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Health and Human Services - to address society’s growing need for Ph.D.-level evaluation specialists who can serve effectively in a variety of disciplines. Society’s organizations need evaluation professionals to identify and assign priorities to unmet needs; assess progress and identify areas requiring improvement; assess costs and seek ways to make services more efficient and cost-effective; document and assess outcome; provide credible reports to accrediting/oversight bodies; and, in general, maintain accountability.

Selection criteria for admission applications are academic ability, ability to handle the nontechnical aspects of evaluation, a strong desire to become a “thought leader” in evaluation, a specific interest in the interdisciplinary setting we offer (rather than simply an interest in one of the cognate areas offered), a desire to be challenged, a commitment to (and interest in) being engaging in hands-on learning in evaluation, and ability to follow instructions.

Graduating students will receive their degree from one of the four participating colleges. Each student will tailor their program of study to meet her or his assessed needs and interests, drawing from all courses and other learning experiences available in the four colleges. While each specific course in a student’s program may vary from another student’s, each student’s curriculum will be designed to ensure that the student meets a common set of core competencies in evaluation.

A major focus of the interdisciplinary program will be to develop thought leaders in evaluation, individuals with deep knowledge of evaluation theory, methodology, and practice, with superior skills in practical and critical thinking, and a knack for seeing opportunities for innovation and improvement.

To access the online application for admission, go to: wmich.edu/apply/graduate. To access a complete list of admission requirements in pdf format, go to wmich.edu/grad/admissions/ click on “Doctorate” and “Evaluation (Ph.D.)” from the drop down menus.

Admission Requirements

All information is to be submitted only within the online application system.

  • Application deadlines: Fall and Spring Semesters: June 1; Applications must be received by January 15 for consideration for graduate assistantship for the following academic year.
  • A resume or curriculum vita (CV) is required.
  • This program requires the General GRE.
    • Note: International applicants may have to provide evidence of English language proficiency.  More information can be found within the online application.
  • This program requires three recommendations. Please send email requests for such recommendations from within the online system.
  • Provide a written statement that covers the following information and attach it within the online application: Summarize your experiences in academic, professional, research, creative, or scholarly activities and indicate how these experiences make you an ideal candidate for graduate study in your selected program. Also address how these activities align with the strengths of your chosen program and faculty, and with your professional goals, including future job positions. This statement (double-spaced and between 500 – 1500 words) should demonstrate your communication skills and writing competence.
  • Previous written work: provide one (1) writing sample, to be attached within the online application.
  • Other program materials: Complete this program’s supplemental application program form at: wmich.edu/grad/admissions/dept-forms/eval-int-reqs.pdf, save it using your last name in the document name, and then submit the saved document within the online application.

Additional information: If you have questions, please review the website at wmich.edu/evaluationphd/ for program and contact information.

Program Requirements

General Requirements

In order to graduate, you will need to have:

  1. Completed at least 90 hours of course work beyond the baccalaureate, with a GPA of 3.25 or better (up to 36 hours may be transferred in from master’s level course work on which the student earned a grade of B or better; in exceptional cases an additional 12 units may be transferred in if the student has completed significant study beyond the master’s degree). The course work must include:
    • 18-21 credit hours in an approved cognate area
    • 12-18 credit hours of research methods courses (no more than 3 units at the basic graduate level)
    • 35-39 hours of evaluation courses, including, 5-7 hours of required interdisciplinary evaluation courses; 3-6 hours of program/intervention evaluation; 3-6 hours covering the social, political, and cultural context of evaluation; 12-18 hours of specialized evaluation-related courses; and 9 hours of practical evaluation field experience
  2. Passed the comprehensive examination (covering the competencies listed later on this page).
  3. Completed successfully a minimum of 12 hours of doctoral dissertation study.
  4. Written and successfully defended a dissertation that advances the theory, methodology, and/or practice of evaluation.
  5. Demonstrated competency in the two required research tools for this program: needs assessment and evaluation. (Students will fulfill this requirement by completing an entire evaluation of a program, policy, system, organization, intervention, or project according to specifications agreed to with the program director. This requirement will usually be fulfilled as part of the practical experience; however, other options are possible in exceptional cases.)
  6. Complied with the program’s residency enrollment requirements.
  7. Received unanimous agreement by the dissertation committee that you have met all the requirements for achieving the Doctor of Philosophy degree.


Each student will be required to demonstrate knowledge of general evaluation theory, methodology, and practice issues, as well as the ability to apply evaluation to his/her chosen area(s) of specialization. The minimum required competencies in evaluation (and brief explanations) are listed below. Specific colleges may have additional requirements.

  • Evaluation-Specific Logic and Methodology (definition of relevant values, needs assessment, generation of comprehensive criterion checklists, checklist methodology, setting standards, use of evaluative rubrics, synthesis of findings on multiple criteria, ranking vs. grading vs. scoring, subjectivity/arbitrariness vs. use of expert judgment, bias vs. preference)
  • Evaluation Theory and Models/Approaches (descriptive research vs. true evaluation, goal-based/management-oriented vs. goal-free/consumer-oriented, expert judgment-based, participatory/empowerment vs. independent, theory-based/explanatory, evaluative inquiry, CIPP Model)
  • Social, Political, and Cultural Context of Evaluation (psychology of evaluation, politics of evaluation, “kill the messenger,” stakeholder analysis, diversity and multicultural issues)
  • Evaluation Planning, Budgeting, Contracting, and Management (defining key tasks, estimating costs, market-based pricing, use of contracting checklists, project management)
  • Database Design and Management (setting up a database; use of Excel, Access, and SPSS or SAS; merging data files; generating reports; running analyses)
  • Evaluation Reporting and Utilization (effective analysis of client information needs, appropriate communication strategies for different audiences, report writing and layering, oral presentation skills, linking evaluation to decision making, maximizing evaluation utility)
  • Meta-evaluation and Evaluation Standards (use of professional standards and checklists for evaluation and meta-evaluation)
  • History and Nature of the Evaluation Profession (the roots of the evaluation profession, its development to date, future directions)

Practical Evaluation Experience

Students must complete 9 credit hours of practical evaluation experience. This typically involves taking a series of increasingly challenging roles on Evaluation Center projects as the student progresses through his or her degree. Top students will have the experience of directing a nationally significant project before they leave WMU. This hands-on learning will enable students graduating from the program to “hit the ground running” as competent practitioners.

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