Graduate Certificate in Evaluation Research


Evaluative research is the application of social science research skills to address evaluation questions and to provide conclusions with demonstrable validity and reliability. The evaluation research curriculum is designed to cover qualitative and quantitative research skills and cultural competence as essential to ensure that evaluation practitioners have the expertise to produce information that is useful to end-users.

Program and policy decision makers, and the communities that evaluators serve, are dependent upon evaluators to assess the strengths and weaknesses of programs, policies, and institutions to inform social change.

The University of Massachusetts Boston's 15 credit online Graduate Certificate in Evaluation Research is designed to provide a coherent body of knowledge in the fundamentals of evaluation and exposure to cutting-edge knowledge. This certificate prepares individuals to evaluate programs, practices and institutions in a broad array of fields, including education, health and human services, criminal justice and community development and planning. It is appropriate for professionals who have completed a baccalaureate degree and desire to include evaluation research as an area of expertise.

Learn more about this program:

To receive more information and connect with the program manager, please click on inquire now to the right.

Click here for more information on the Graduate Certificate in Evaluation Research.

The University of Massachusetts Boston is currently not accepting students for online study who reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, or Minnesota, due to regulations in those states. Please contact your state's Board of Education for details. Click here for information on distance education authorization in other states.


Registration is administered through College of Advancing and Professional Studies at UMass Boston. Payment is due upon registration. Please see Fee Schedule below.

Type of Fee Amount
Fee per credit $575
Returned Check Fee per semester** $28
Total for course*** $1725 (575 x 3 credits = 1725)

Click here to browse our course listings.

*applicable when you register after deadline; non-refundable unless course has been cancelled

** applicable when checks returned unpaid

*** Courses can vary from one to six credits; this total represents a standard 3 credit course


The University of Massachusetts is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Did you know?

University of Massachusetts has earned several awards for its distance learning programs, faculty and technology including:

  • University of Massachusetts Lowell’s B.S. in Information Technology Ranked Among Top Affordable Online IT Degrees by Get Educated in 2011
  • UMass Ranked Among Top 10 Best Colleges in Online Education in Communication & Public Relations Degrees, 2011 by The Best Colleges
  • UMass ranks 19th highest-rated university in the world by the Times of London.
  • UMass ranked 56th in the Times of London's Top 200
  • UMassOnline, UMass Boston President's Special Achievement Award, Valerie C. Haven, Sloan-C 2010 Awards
  • University of Massachusetts Ranked Among Top 28 Best Value in Online Education for Human Services & Psychology Professionals, 2009 by Get Educated
  • Ranked Top 10 Online Degrees Colleges- September 2009 (Online Degree
  • UMassOnline Awarded Public Sector of the Year by Mass Technology Leadership Council , 2008
  • Most Outstanding Online Teaching and Learning Program, UMass Lowell's Online Graduate Behavioral Intervention in Autism Program, Sloan Consortium Excellence Awards, 2008
  • 'Excellence in Online Teaching' Award, Dr. Jeannette E. Riley, Sloan Consortium Excellence Awards, 2008
  • 21st Century Best Practices Award, United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
  • Program of Excellence, University Continuing Education Association (UCEA)-Journalism Certificate
  • Excellence in Faculty Development, Sloan-C Excellence Awards
  • Excellence in Online Programming, Sloan-C Excellence Awards
  • Excellence in Online Teaching, Sloan-C Excellence Awards
  • UMass Amherst Isenberg MBA, Top 10 national rankings, #4 Best Professors (2005, 2006, 2007 Princeton Review: Best Business Schools rankings)
  • 4th in Primary Care Education, U.S. World Reports
  • Excellence in Distance Teaching Education - United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)

An Applicant for the proposed graduate certificate program must:

1. Have completed a baccalaureate degree in an accredited institution of higher education;
2. Submit a completed online Graduate Admissions Application and pay the non-refundable application fee.
3. Submit  an official transcript showing completion of the bachelor’s degree;
4. Provide  two letters of recommendation from people who are familiar with the applicant’s work;
5. Submit a resume or curriculum vitae and
6. Write a statement of purpose for which the applicant is seeking the evaluation certificate.

The deadline for fall admission is June 1 and spring admission is November 1.

Plan of Study: 

The certificate is awarded to students completing the required courses with a grade of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale for each course counted toward the certificate. All courses must be taken through the University of Massachusetts Boston. The program is open to any student currently matriculated in any UMass Boston graduate program.

Students may take two courses without applying for admission to the certificate program.

The certificate is designed to be completed in two regular semesters. However, some students may wish to complete the certificate over a 12-month period. The former will enroll in two courses the first semester and three course the second semester. The latter will enroll in two courses the first semester, two the second semester, and one during the first summer session.

First Semester

HMSG 606 Research Methods (3 credits)

Students will learn the basic principles of social science research and various qualitative and quantitative research designs. Using this knowledge, students will critically evaluate existing research as reported in professional journals, as well as design a research study.

HMSG 616 Foundations of Evaluation Research (3 credits)

This is the first course in a series of four courses designed to prepare students to be responsible practitioners and consumers of evaluation. The course focuses on the historical evolution of the evaluation field and profession; the core principles and standards that define and guide practice; evaluation theory and practice models; types of evaluation and the role of social science research in addressing evaluation questions. The knowledge and skills acquired in this course provide the foundation for more in-depth study of cultural competence, and qualitative and quantitative methods.

HMSG 635 Cultural Competence in Evaluation Research (3 credits)

This course is designed to prepare students to become thoughtful, responsive evaluators who understand the impact their own cultural identity has on understanding other cultures. It focuses on cultural competence as an essential skill to conduct culturally valid evaluations. Case studies and field exercises are used to demonstrate why it is important that evaluators are qualified to understand the nuances of culture in order to draw valid conclusions about program effectiveness and outcomes. Students in this course learn, think through, and reflect about issues raised in this class that will remain significant throughout their professional careers.

Second Semester

HMSG 636 Qualitative Methods in Evaluation Research (3 credits) (Prerequisites: HMSG606 and HMSG616)

This course is designed to train students in qualitative research design and critical analysis. Topics covered include qualitative data collection techniques, design, implementation, and critical analysis of data. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of the investigator as an engaged learner, engaging with others in the negotiation, construction, and categorization of experiences. Individual and group projects are used to demonstrate how qualitative methods can provide insight into the contextual and cultural issues that impact intended and unintended outcomes of social and education programs and policies.

HMSG 642 Statistics for Evaluation (3 credits) Prerequisites: HMSG606 and HMSG616

Summer Semester

HMSG 606 Research Methods (3 credits)

Students will learn the basic principles of social science research and various qualitative and quantitative research designs. Using this knowledge, students will critically evaluate existing research as reported in professional journals, as well as design a research study.


Financial Aid: 

Availability of financial aid varies depending on matriculation and course status. Please check with your program manager or advisor to determine your eligibility. Generally, if you are matriculated in a degree program and are enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits each semester, you may qualify for financial aid. Please review our Financial Aid Checklist below.

  1. Fill out the FAFSA form at
  2. It is important to list the University of Massachusetts Boston school code number 002222.
  3. For more information please click here.

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Anna Madison
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