PhD course: PHD416 Randomized controlled trials in the social sciences

UiS Business School offers the course Randomized controlled trials in the social sciences to PhD students during fall 2021. Professor Eric Bettinger from Stanford University, one of the world’s foremost experts on RCTs, is teaching the course together with Simone Häckl-Schermer from UiS.

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PHD416 Randomized controlled trials in the social sciences

When: 13.–17. September 2021 Application deadline: August 23 for external applicants How to apply: External applicants apply by using this application form. Please send the form to PhD coordinator Nadya Sandsmark. Candidates enrolled in the UiS PhD programmes apply through Studentweb

Assistant professor Simone Häckl-Schermer and Professor Eric Bettinger are teaching the course.

The use of randomized experiments has become increasingly popular and prevalent in social science research. The US Department of Education has labelled randomized experiments as “the gold standard” in educational research. 

The University of Stavanger Business School is happy to offer the course Randomized controlled trials in the social sciences to PhD students in the social sciences.  

The methodology of randomization in social science research 

The course aims to provide future researchers with the tools required to plan and conduct randomized experiments. The course focuses on the methodology of randomization in social science research, discusses the practical aspects of running a randomized controlled trial, and introduces mixed method designs for investigating why or why not an intervention is effective. 

The course provides answers to questions such as: Why is randomization so compelling? What assumptions are inherent in randomized designs? What are hidden challenges to randomizations? Is randomization always the “best” empirical strategy? How does one design randomize experiments? Is clustering a problem to randomization?

World leading expert on RCTs 

We are very pleased that professor Eric Bettinger from Stanford University will be teaching the course together with assistant professor Simone Häckl-Schermer from UiS. 

Bettinger is one of the foremost experts on conducting RCTs in the social sciences, and he has been recognised for outstanding teaching multiple times. At Stanford University, he teaches courses on the creation, maintenance, evaluation, and ethics of randomized experiments in the social sciences. He has conducted over 50 randomized experiments in the field, and his experiments, including important experiments on higher education finance, mentorship, and educational vouchers, have been cited by policymakers throughout the world.  

Read more about professor Eric Bettinger

Practical information 

Randomized controlled trials in the social sciences is a one-week course of intensive lectures, PC-lab exercise and seminars. The course is held from 13.–17. September. 

The course is open to PhD candidates at the University of Stavanger and other universities. Participants must be enrolled in a PhD program and have master level knowledge of quantitative methods. We intend to hold the course in person at the University of Stavanger.

Complete course description, practical information and reading list 

Apply now! 

Candidates in the PhD Programme at UiS: Candidates admitted to the PhD Programmes at the University of Stavanger should apply through Studentweb.  

External applicants: Other applicants may apply using this application form. Please send the application to PhD coordinator Nadya Sandsmark. External applicants must apply no later than three weeks prior to the course start date. The application deadline for external applicants in this course is August 23. 


If you have any questions regarding this course, please contact course coordinator Simone Häckl-Schermer