Multilevel Modeling:
A Second Course

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

This seminar is full. It will be offered again on
December 4-5, 2015.

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 $147 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 STA610. For guaranteed rate and availability, you must make your reservation by May 11, 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.)


“This is the best statistical class/workshop I have taken in the last 15 years. Dr. Preacher is a very talented instructor. He explained things clearly and systematically. He was able to address questions/issues raised by participants of various background and familiarities with MSEM. His willingness to answer individual questions both during lunchtime and after class each day is also extremely helpful. I only wish he had time to eat lunch and relax during the workshop.”
  Maria Wong, Idaho State University

“As a graduate student in psychology, working on completing my doctoral dissertation, I appreciated this course’s ability to balance a wide theoretical approach to MSEM with focused examples and applications. I feel so much more confident in my ability to address complex research questions with the tools provided in MPlus. Thank you, Kristopher Preacher!”
  Ryan Thomas, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology 

“This course was great! The instructor was very clear and covered all of the relevant topics. He was approachable and made the models easy to understand. I would definitely recommend this class.”
  Sarah Schnitker, Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Psychology

“This course is a nice introduction to complex multilevel models that include mediation or factor analysis. Dr. Preacher is not only very knowledgeable but is an enthusiastic teacher. As a bonus, the course provides a gentle intro to MPlus.”
  Mario Pandelaere, Ghent University

“Kris was great at starting us at a comfortable level and increasing complexity. He went at a slow pace and was clear. Well, I look forward to applying this method to my future work.”
  Marisa Crowder, University of Nevada

“Dr. Preacher is a fantastic instructor who made advanced methodology highly accessible while still providing sufficient nuance.”
  Arthur Andrews, Medical University of South Carolina

“I really like Dr. Preacher’s presentation. It’s very practical and useful. This method is very advanced. I think everyone in social sciences needs to participate.”
  Jiaqing Sun 

“Dr. Preacher managed to fit a semester’s worth of material into just two days of the workshop and yet all the material was taught extremely clearly. As a graduate student, I came into the course intimidated by the prospect of multilevel SEM, but I’m leaving with much greater confidence in my own abilities. I hope to take similar course in the future because this has greatly benefited me!”
 Hannah Schacter, UCLA

“I have taken several multi-level and SEM classes and this was one of the clearest explanations of MLM, and the MSEM part with exciting to learn about.”
  Rina Eiden, University of Buffalo 

“The course provides numerous practical examples that help students learn both multilevel modeling and MPlus.”
  Lori Andersen, Kansas State University

“This is a great course for anyone who is familiar with multilevel modeling and just wants an update on new methods and procedures, or those who are learning about multilevel modeling for the first time. All the MPlus examples should help tremendously when doing your own research.”
  Dan Sass, Unvieristy of Texas