PhD course in randomized controlled trials in the social sciences, September 2022

UiS Business School offers the course Randomized controlled trials in the social sciences (PHD416) to PhD students in the fall of 2022. 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.

Published Endret

When: September 5–9, 2022 Application deadline: August 5, 2022 How to apply: External applicants apply by filling out this application form and sending it to PhD coordinator Nadya Sandsmark. Candidates enrolled in the UiS PhD programmes apply through Studentweb. Course description: Read the full course description for PHD416 Contact: Please contact course coordinator Simone Häckl-Schermer if you have any questions regarding the course.

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. Bettinger 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 

The course will consist of five days of intensive lectures, PC-lab exercises and seminars at the university campus. The form of assessment is a term paper.

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.

There are no course fees. Students have to cover travel costs and living expenses themselves.

If there are more applicants than admission places available, a selection will be made.

Complete course description, practical information and reading list 

Apply now! 

Candidates admitted to the PhD Programmes at the University of Stavanger should apply through Studentweb. Other applicants may apply using this application form. Please send the application to PhD coordinator Nadya Sandsmark. The application deadline is August 5. 


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