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Structural Equation Modeling and Its Applications: The First English Original Course Initiates

Published : 2018-10-08Reading : 229

During the autumn semester (Sept. 17 – Nov. 16, 2018), the first English original course named Structural Equation Modeling and Its Applications was set up for senior undergraduate students in the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Zhejiang University. The course has attracted widespread attention among students and faculty members since its opening. Prof. Karl Schweizer from the Department of Psychology, Goethe University Frankfurt is the main lecturer, Prof. Zaifeng Gao is responsible for the management of the course, and Dr. Tengfei Wang acts as the teaching assistant.


To date, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) has been one of the mostly used statistical approaches to analyzing data in the areas of Psychology, Education, and Sociology etc. The SEM course is given by the Department of Psychology in first-class universities like University of Oxford but not in Zhejiang University. The lack of such education has been a major bottleneck restraining students from conducting empirical studies. The course introduces modern methods for statistical investigations in differential research. A core characteristic of these methods is the use of models for representing and investigating the structure of data. Hypotheses regarding the structure of data and general theories regarding the structure of ability and personality get transformed into statistical models, and in the statistical investigation it is checked whether they reflect the represent the data collected in empirical research sufficiently well. The students who successively complete the basic versions of the course will acquire basic knowledge of the method. The advanced version of the course teaches the attendants how to use statistical program packages (AMOS and LISREL) for applied research. The participants are trained in transforming the formal models into the code of the program, to run the program and to react appropriately to failures.


The lecturer Prof. Schweizer has more than 30 years’ teaching and research experience in prestigious universities including Goethe University Frankfurt, Freiburg University, and Tübingen University. His course in statistics is one of the most popular courses among undergraduate and graduate students in Germany. He was previously the President of the European Association of Psychological Assessment (2009-2011), the Editor of European Journal of Psychological Assessment (2009-2013), the Member of prize committees awarding the G.-Lienert Prize (2003-2007), and currently the Associate editor of International Journal of Personality Psychology (2013-now). He was awarded the “Alfred-Binet-Preis (Psychology award)” because of his outstanding contribution to the area of Structural Equation Modeling. He has also directed 7 DFG projects, published more than 120 journal papers, contributed to 35 book chapters, and edited more than 10 books.