Many people may be interested in the field of psychology but would prefer to assess research data that contributes to understanding human behavior from a quantitative methodological approach. If this sounds like you, you may want to pursue a career as a quantitative psychologist by earning a quantitative psychology degree.
What Is Quantitative Psychology?
Quantitative psychology focuses on the creation of studies that measure behavioral attributes. This information is gathered primarily through statistical analyses and mathematical modeling. The main outcome of quantitative psychology is to develop and interpret research that explores human behavior.
Mathematical and statistical data provide a foundation of knowledge. The information gathered in quantitative psychology is then translated to the practice of psychology, where it helps psychologists select the right methods and treatments to use in clinical practice or provides critical information in the workplace to assess employee behaviors.
What Does a Quantitative Psychologist Do?
Quantitative psychologists must be interested in psychology as well as statistics and mathematical models. A quantitative psychologist’s role is to develop and interpret research that helps psychologists, organizations, nonprofits and governmental agencies more thoroughly understand human behavior.
The development of this research is essential for advancing the field of psychology and ensuring that key stakeholders have accurate information to work with. Those who practice quantitative psychology in this manner usually have no direct contact with patients, but their data helps inform their treatment and outcomes. The specifics of this role will be determined by the industry in which they work.1
Where Do Quantitative Psychologists Work?
Quantitative psychologists work in office settings where they can use mathematical models and statistical analysis to assimilate data and draw conclusions. They also work in a variety of other settings:
- Educational testing companies: Companies such as Pearson require quantitative psychologists to support the development of quality-testing questions. Quantitative psychologists are able to determine what type of questions will tap into the test taker’s cognitive abilities, which helps ensure that the score will adequately reflect the test taker’s knowledge.
- Academia: Quantitative psychologists can work within higher education as professors and research leads. In this role, they can teach graduate-level courses in psychology. Some universities even offer quantitative psychology degrees that call for professors with experience in this field.
- Research firms: Research firms—and even government agencies—require quantitative psychologists to conduct studies and report on the data gathered.
Why Are Quantitative Psychologists Important?
Quantitative psychologists play a pivotal role in psychology. The research they conduct and the data they collect move the psychology field forward, providing new insights into human behavior.
How To Become a Quantitative Psychologist
There is no single path toward becoming a quantitative psychologist. However, graduate education is important for entering this field. To practice clinical psychology, a clinically based doctoral degree is required, although some positions in the field may accept a master’s degree.2
Those interested in becoming a quantitative psychologist should obtain a bachelor’s degree in the field of psychology and counseling. During undergraduate studies, students will come to understand the areas of psychology and will be exposed to a range of psychological theories. An alternative is to pursue a math degree with a minor in psychology.
From there, you will want to enter graduate school and take courses in a relevant field. This could include programs in psychology, math or research. Earning a doctoral degree is the final educational step. Quantitative psychology programs should provide a strong understanding of quantitative methods for research development and data collection.
Some degrees in quantitative psychology to consider include:
- PhD in General Psychology: Cognition and Instruction (Quantitative Research)
- PhD in General Psychology: Industrial and Organizational Psychology (Quantitative Research)
- PhD in General Psychology: Integrating Technology, Learning, and Psychology (Quantitative Research)
If you’re interested in a quantitative degree, consider one of Grand Canyon University’s program offerings from the College of Doctoral Studies. Learn about quantitative research methods and data analysis from our expert faculty.
1American Psychological Association, Career spotlight: quantitative psychology, in May 2021
2Psychology School Guide, How to Become a Quantitative Psychologist, in May 2021
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.