Multilevel Modeling:

A Second Course

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

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To see a sample of the course materials, click here.

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.  

Location, Format and materials

The class will meet from 9 am to 5 pm each day (with a 1-hour lunch break) at the Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport at Town Center9931 Interstate Commerce Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33913. This hotel is 5 miles from the Fort Myers International Airport, and there is a complimentary hotel shuttle to and from the airport. The shuttle can also take you to and from the nearby Gulf Coast Town Center, a large open-air shopping center with numerous stores, restaurants, and a movie theater.

Although you can expect the weather to be comfortably warm (75 is the average high in early February), this is not a resort-type location. However, it’s about a half-hour drive to several attractive vacation areas, including Naples, Sanibel Island, and Fort Myers Beach.

The Fort Myers International Airport (RSW) is served by numerous airlines with direct flights to and from most major cities in the U.S. However, demand for seats in February is quite high, so be sure to make reservations at your earliest opportunity.

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 $995.00 includes all course materials.

Refund Policy

If you cancel your registration at least two weeks before the course is scheduled to begin, you are entitled to a full refund (minus a processing fee of $50). 

Lodging Reservation Instructions

A block of guest rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport at Town Center, 9931 Interstate Commerce Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33913 at a special rate of $169. In order to make reservations, call 239-561-1550 during business hours and identify yourself as part of the Statistical Horizons Meeting, or click here. For guaranteed rate and availability, you must reserve your room no later than Friday, January 5.

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.)


“Good explanation, one to one consultation, and Q&A. Comprehensive slides.”
  Lu Qin, University of Kansas

“I had experience with structural equation modeling prior to taking this course, but I had no experience with multilevel modeling. Dr. Preacher quickly and effectively brought me and others up to speed and I learned a ton in just two days. I can now understand the lingo in books about multilevel modeling and feel so much more confident that I can apply it to my own work. He’s a great teacher.”
  Jessica Myrick, Pennsylvania State University

“If you have a solid foundation in SEM, this course is extremely helpful. I particularly appreciated the content on MSEM, which I did not have exposure to before.”
  Hector Lopez-Vergara, Brown University 

“This course was fantastic in carefully explaining and providing concrete examples. It built upon concepts familiar to participants, and built them together in a logical way. The take-home materials (e.g. data sets, instruction materials, etc.) are going to be invaluable. I have learned so much about MSEM – and also beyond (e.g. tricks to use in Mplus, etc.)! Further, Kris Preacher is excellent; clear, funny, willing to answer questions. Great!”
  Mary Beth Oliver, Pennsylvania State University

“Great workshop by great researchers! You can’t miss it!”
  Phil Seok Lee, South Dakota State University

“I can’t praise Dr. Preacher’s MLM class enough. He did an excellent job balancing conceptual, mathematical, and practical application. After the course, I felt ready to use Mplus to analyze data using multilevel SEM. A great way to spend two days!”
  Kellie Brisini, Pennsylvania State University

“This is a clear, comprehensive, and comprehensible introduction and in-depth look at MSEM. Dr. Preacher is so clear and articulate in his teaching and provides the tool set learners need to become more comfortable in their own analyses. The classroom environment is conducive to asking questions and the learning is very collaborative. This is well-worth the time and money!”
  Kristen Berg, Case Western Reserve University

“I really liked the course. It was very comprehensive, but was clear in explaining how to do it. Dr. Preacher does a phenomenal job explaining the material clearly. Probably my best stats class so far.”
  Gwendolyn Deger, Pennsylvania State University

“A classic course at the intersection of SEM and MLM. The instructor makes the completely complicated subject to be completely uncomplicated and easy to understand.

“Great course! Appreciated so many things. I’m early to Mplus and MLM/SEM/mediation analyses, but because Dr. Preacher is such a great teacher, I feel like I was able to learn a lot nonetheless. I have learned important trends that I will take home with me and utilize in future analysis. I understand underlying concepts much better. Thanks for all.”
  Claire Wilcox, University of New Mexico

“This course is very helpful for those who are interested in learning MSEM and MLM. A lot of useful examples and syntax for running analyses in Mplus. I strongly recommend this course!”
  Ruodan Shao, University of Manitoba