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 The University of Illinois at Chicago,1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607.

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 Marriott at Medical District/UIL, 625 South Ashland Avenue at Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60607 at a nightly rate of $199 for a Standard room. This hotel is approximately 0.5 miles from the UIL campus. To make a reservation, you must call 800-228-9290 during business hours and identify yourself as part of the Statistical Horizons group. Room cancellations must be made a least 10 days prior to arrival. For guaranteed rate and availability, you must make your reservation by February 17, 2016.  Lower rates may be available online, so be sure to check the website directly.

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.)


“It’s a tough mandate to teach such a complex process to an audience so diverse in their specialties. Kris did a great job at directing the learning in a way where students were able to get their questions answered efficiently and effectively. The atmosphere was collegial, and follow-up assistance was made available. I would recommend this course to researchers wanting to become adept with multilevel methodology.”
  Trevor Watkins, University of Washington 

“I’m amazed at how thorough the course has been while maintaining the fidelity necessary to have students understand all the details of each new idea. Despite being a novice, I felt like I left the course being able to evaluate all kinds of models, not just the most basic of them.”
  Alex del Giudice, Amplify 

“Dr. Preacher is extremely knowledgeable, and helped to connect the dots between the equations, MPlus syntax, and diagrams. Further, the materials he provides will be a valuable reference tool for future use.”
  Matthew Porter Wilcox, Church of Latter-Day Saints 

“This course was really great in terms of both its breadth and depth. Thankfully, it was also really understandable. Kristopher Preacher is an amazing instructor with patience, the ability to break down difficult topics and a wealth of knowledge to share. Great course!”
  Susan Collins, University of Washington

“My understanding of Multilevel Modeling is much broader and better grounded as a result of this course. The instructor is extremely well informed and draws from his broad background of practical experience in applying these concepts and methodological tools.”
  Richard Sudweeks, Brigham Young University

“This workshop is well-organized, with instructions and directions provided ahead of time, and materials circulated and provided in a timely fashion.”
  Janet Yang, SUNY at Buffalo 

“Great energy, patient and thoughtful way of teaching challenging information.”
  Carmen Logie, University of Toronto

“It’s my second course with Statistical Horizons. I absolutely loved the course! It is well-paced, has a great mixture of theory and examples. Although it is the second MLM course, the instructions are so clear and detailed that even a novice in multi-level analysis can easily handle the course. Kris Preacher is the best instructor I’ve ever had! He makes stats loveable!!”
  Marina Astakhova, University of Texas at Tyler