The undergraduate Minor in Survey Methodology is a cross-disciplinary program offered by the Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM) within the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS).  Students in the program will explore the theoretical foundations of survey design and survey data collection, together with the practical application of this theoretical material. Completion of the minor will prepare students to enter careers in the Federal statistical system or any of the numerous private sector firms that collect survey data to inform decision-making, as well as for further graduate study in the field of survey methodology.  In addition, students aspiring to careers in fields such as marketing, political consulting, economics or the social sciences that rest on the collection and use of survey data will benefit from the understanding of the data collection process that they will acquire.

Student Learning Outcomes

Whether collecting information from survey respondents or making use of data collected by means of such surveys, individuals in many fields require an understanding of the process of designing surveys and collecting survey data.  Requisite knowledge areas include the principles of questionnaire design, selecting survey samples to represent populations of interest, modes of data collection, and the use of weights in the analysis of survey data, among other topics.

Upon completion of the proposed curriculum, students will:

  • Have the knowledge needed to construct a new survey questionnaire or evaluate an existing survey questionnaire in accord with the basic principles of questionnaire design
  • Know how to identify potential sources of error in survey estimates and suggest strategies for minimizing those errors
  • Be aware of various features of the design of sample surveys that may affect the analysis and interpretation of the resulting data

Statistic and Research Method Courses (6 to 8 credits)

Students enrolled in the minor will be required to take two courses in statistics and research methods. Please be aware that all of these courses have prerequisites. Any of the following courses are appropriate choices for the first of these two courses:

  • BIOM 301         Introduction to Biometrics
  • CCJS 200         Statistics for Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • ECON 321        Economic Statistics
  • EDMS 451        Introduction to Educational Statistics
  • GVPT 422        Quantitative Political Analysis
  • PSYC 200         Statistical Methods in Psychology
  • SOCY 201        Introductory Statistics for Sociology
  • STAT 400         Applied Probability and Statistics I
  • STAT 410         Introduction to Probability Theory

Any of the following courses are appropriate choices for the second of the two courses:

  • ECON 422        Econometrics I
  • SOCY 401        Intermediate Statistics for Sociologists
  • STAT 401         Applied Probability and Statistics II
  • STAT 420         Introduction to Statistics

There is enormous demand on campus for many of the courses listed as options for fulfilling the statistics/research methods requirement, especially the courses on the first list, and the number of seats available in these classes may be limited.  Majors in the department that offers a course may receive priority for enrollment (e.g., CCJS 200) or enrollment in a course may be restricted to majors (e.g., ECON 321).  In addition, there may be prerequisites associated with a particular course.  Several of the courses listed in the first set of options require that the student have taken calculus and some of the courses listed in the second set of options require a particular first course as a prerequisite (e.g., STAT 420 requires STAT 410 as a prerequisite).  The fact that a course is listed as an appropriate option for fulfilling the minor requirements does not imply that students necessarily will be able to enroll in that specific course.  Students interested in the minor will be asked to consult with their JPSM Advisor about the best way to complete the two-course statistics and research methods requirement given their individual circumstances.  Courses covering similar material, including courses offered at other institutions, may be accepted as substitutes for the listed courses.

SOCY 201 and SOCY 401 are 4-credit rather than 3-credit courses.  For students choosing these courses to fulfill the requirements of the minor, the minor will be an 18-credit program.  Students admitted to the minor in the spring of their sophomore year that have not yet taken one of the listed statistics/research methods courses ideally will take one in the fall of their junior year and the second in the spring of their junior year.

Core Course in Survey Methodology (3 credits)

The core course of the minor is SURV 400 Fundamentals of Survey Design.  This is an existing course that is offered each spring and is taught by a regular member of the JPSM teaching faculty.  Students in the minor will be given enrollment priority.  SURV 400 is designed to provide students with an overview of the entire survey process, from the development of survey objectives to the collection and analysis of the survey data.  Leading scholars in the field authored the textbook for the course, all of who have taught in the JPSM program.  SURV 400 will be a prerequisite for the two additional 3-credit SURV courses required for the minor and should be taken in the spring of the junior year.

2 Additional Survey Methodology Courses (6 credits)

SURV 630 Questionnaire Design (3 credits), a course developed to serve students in the minor as well as graduate students pursuing the JPSM Masters in Survey Methodology. 

Students taking the minor also will be required to take one additional 600-level SURV (3-credit) course.  The course options and the semesters when these courses are regularly offered are as follows:

  • SURV 623  Data Collection – Fall, Summer
  • SURV 632  Social and Cognitive Foundations of Survey Measurement – Fall
  • SURV 625  Applied Sampling – Spring, Summer

These are existing courses taken primarily by students in the JPSM Masters program.  Although these are graduate level courses, we believe they should be accessible to advanced undergraduates with suitable preparation.

Admission to the minor will be limited to no more than 25 students per year, selected through a competitive application process.  This limitation on potential enrollments is necessary because of the small size of the JPSM faculty.  Successful applicants will have completed at least 30 semester credits and have demonstrated a high level of academic achievement with a minimal GPA requirement of a 3.2.  Students who apply to the program are expected to be able to work independently.

Students seeking admission to the minor will be asked to:

  • Complete an application form

  • Submit a letter of support from a faculty member or advisor

  • 1/2 page statement of interest in the minor program

  • Provide a copy of their transcript

The faculty committee responsible for oversight of the minor will evaluate the applications submitted.  In selecting students to the program, the committee will emphasize academic achievement, including in particular evidence of successful completion of courses in quantitative subjects.

Interested students should contact JPSM at jpsm-contact [at] umd [dot] edu. Applications for admission will be reviewed each semester.  Once admitted to the program, students will work with the Program Director or an assigned faculty advisor to plan the courses to be taken to complete the minor.  Students will be expected to be in touch with their faculty advisors before the start of each semester to ensure that they are continuing on track to complete the minor requirements.

The minor is designed to be completed during the junior and senior years, but students could apply for admission to the minor as early as the fall of their sophomore year. Courses completed prior to applying for the minor will be accepted to satisfy the minor requirements.

  1. Complete all 15-17 required credits
  2. Achieve a minimum grade of "C" or better in all minor courses
  3. Apply no more than two courses from the minor to satisfying the requirements of the student's major
  4. Complete no more than two courses for the minor at an institution other than the University of Maryland, College Park
  5. Adhere to the general rules for undergraduate minors - here