Multilevel Modeling:
A Second Course

A 2-Day Seminar Taught by Kristopher Preacher, Ph.D

Read reviews of this course

Hierarchically clustered (multilevel or nested) data are common in the social sciences, medical fields, and business research. Clustered data violate the assumption of independence required by ordinary statistical methods. Increasingly complex research designs and hypotheses have created a need for sophisticated methods that go beyond standard multilevel modeling (MLM). This “second course” in MLM will introduce a variety of MLM extensions, including cutting-edge multilevel structural equation modeling (MSEM) to handle complex designs and modeling objectives. Throughout the seminar, empirical examples will be presented to illustrate key concepts. A background in structural equation modeling (SEM) is not necessary.

On Day 1 we will begin by reviewing the basics of MLM, including

  • The motivation for MLM
  • Key concepts
  • Equation conventions
  • The univariate two-level MLM with fixed and random coefficients

Mplus will be introduced as a flexible and powerful software environment for fitting basic and advanced multilevel models. Next, we will cover several advanced MLM topics, including

  • Estimating, plotting, and probing interaction effects
  • Modeling cross-classified data
  • Modeling discrete (e.g., binary, count) dependent variables
  • Conducting power analysis for MLM using a general Monte Carlo technique
  • Fitting multivariate multilevel models

On Day 2 multilevel structural equation modeling will be introduced as a general approach for more complex modeling tasks.  After a brief overview of single-level SEM , we will turn to the development of MSEM and the important advantages of MSEM over MLM (e.g. inclusion of latent variables, complex causal pathways, upper-level outcomes, and model fit assessment). Standard SEM and MLM will be recast as special cases of MSEM. Next we will cover a variety of MSEM topics:

  • Multilevel exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis
  • Multilevel path analysis
  • Multilevel structural models with latent variables
  • Multilevel mediation analysis
  • Multilevel reliability estimation
  • Applications to cross-classified and three-level data

Throughout the two-day course, models will be presented in several formats—path diagrams, equations, and software syntax. Data and Mplus syntax for all of the examples will be included in the workshop materials.

Participants in this seminar can expect to gain:

  • Mastery of advanced topics in MLM
  • A deeper understanding of the relationship between MLM and SEM
  • The ability to use multilevel SEM to test complex structural hypotheses
  • Resources to conduct power analysis for virtually any multilevel design
  • The ability to fluently interpret and translate among path diagrams, model equations, and Mplus syntax for advanced MLM and MSEM
  • Documented Mplus syntax templates for fitting a variety of multilevel models.

Who should attend?

This seminar is designed for researchers who have some prior experience with multilevel modeling (e.g., in a seminar, workshop, or course) and who want to deepen and extend their knowledge.  At a minimum, participants should have a good working knowledge of basic principles of statistical inference (e.g., standard errors, hypothesis tests, confidence intervals), and should also have a good understanding of the theory and practice of linear regression. 


Mplus will be used for all worked examples, but prior knowledge of Mplus is not essential. You are welcome and encouraged to bring your own laptop computer with Mplus installed (including the multilevel or combination add-on). However, this is not required. Participants will still benefit from the comprehensive set of slides and syntax that they can apply at home.  Power outlets will be provided at each seat.    

Location, Format and materials

The class will meet from 9 am to 5 pm each day with a 1-hour lunch break from 12 pm to 1 pm at Temple University Center City, 1515 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. 

Participants receive a bound manual containing detailed lecture notes (including equations, graphics, and Mplus syntax), examples of Mplus output, and other useful features.

Registration and Lodging

The fee of $995 includes all course materials. 

Lodging Reservation Instructions

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Club Quarters Hotel, 1628 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA at a nightly rate of $127 for a Standard room. This hotel is about a 5-minute walk from the seminar location.  To make a reservation, you must call 203-905-2100 during business hours and identify yourself by giving the group code STA123. For guaranteed rate and availability, you must make your reservation by November 3, 2015. 

Seminar outline

Day 1:

–  Introduction: What does this course cover?
–  Review of multilevel modeling (MLM basics, definitions, and equations)
–  Introduction to Mplus MLM syntax and capabilities
      *Univariate MLM
      *Estimating, plotting, and probing interaction effects in MLM
      *Modeling cross-classified data
      *Multilevel models with discrete dependent variables
      *Power analysis and sample size determination for MLM
      *Multivariate multilevel models

Day 2:

–  Overview of single-level structural equation modeling
–  Introduction to multilevel SEM
–  MSEM path diagram conventions and equations
–  MSEM implementation in Mplus
      *Multilevel confirmatory factor analysis
      *Measurement invariance in multilevel factor models
      *Multilevel exploratory factor analysis
      *Multilevel path analysis
      *General multilevel SEM with latent variables
      *Multilevel mediation
      *Three-level structural models
      *Multilevel reliability estimation

(*Mplus examples provided and discussed.)


“Multilevel Modeling: A Second Course, taught by Kris Preacher proved to be tremendously valuable. Generous with his time and knowledge, Dr. Preacher fielded a broad range of questions from everyone in the course. The course covered a wide range of topics, as well as provided a large number of tools for my future research. I am confident this course will prove valuable to my work and my career moving forward.”
  Kevin Wolff, John Jay School of Criminal Justice, CUNY 

“Dr. Preacher is an excellent instructor – extremely lucid and clear in his presentation and responses. The notes are an amazing resource, especially when combined with making all of the MPlus files available. There was an excellent coverage of seemingly all topics anyone would want covered. Overall, a tremendous value in terms of both time and money.”
  David Shernoff, Rutgers University

“The MLM seminar was a great mix of overview of the basics and elaboration on more complicated models. Dr. Preacher was very approachable and was welcoming to all questions. The course overall provided me a better understanding of the MLM basics that I can take back to my lab. I highly recommend this course and especially Dr. Preacher.”
  Elisa Torres, University of California 

“I think it was worth enrolling in the workshop just for the handouts alone. This was a great workshop taught by a true expert. It is very fast-paced, but we covered a ton of material. I’d definitely recommend it to colleagues.”
  Erin Maloney, University of Pennsylvania

“I really enjoy Dr. Preacher’s teaching style. He explains the material very clearly and concisely. Kris is a great teach and always takes time to help with one-on-one questions. I would highly recommend one of his seminars.”
  Jan Super, Murray State University 

“This course offers extensive coverage of multilevel modeling. The instructor (Preacher) took the time to set up the topic well before introducing advanced concepts.”
  Vishag Badrinarayanan, Texas State University 

“I had next to no experience with SEM and zero experience with MPlus going into this workshop. By the end of the workshop, I felt very competent with both of these. The handout materials are tremendously helpful, and I plan to use them at work for years to come.”
  John Merranko, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center 

“I thoroughly enjoyed (I am not sure this is the right way to describe a workshop) and learned a lot. Especially, given that I had familiarity with some of the topics and not all, Kris did a great job balancing various components to get the content across. I have some answers and whole lot of new questions (Hopefully that’s a good thing).
  Sreedhar Madhavaram, Cleveland State University 

“Very helpful for learning advanced statistical techniques. The printed materials and electronic resources are invaluable and will be used as references for years to come.”
  Edward Lemay, University of Maryland 

“Dr. Preacher is an outstanding teacher. He covers complex material in an accessible way. These methods are cutting edge and highly applicable to research questions in the social sciences.”
  Mark Prince, University of Buffalo 

“The course materials were well delivered and the instructor made it a point to explain difficult concepts in an easy to comprehend manner. Strongly recommended.”
  Melvin Chan, Office of Education, Singapore