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, but there will be no WIFI access. 


The course meets 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18 at Manhattan Beach Marriott, 1400 Parkview Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266. Participants receive a bound manual containing detailed lecture notes (with equations and graphics), examples of computer printout, and many other useful features. This book frees participants from the distracting task of note taking.

Registration and lodging

The fee of $895.00 includes all seminar materials. 

Lodging Reservation Instructions A block of guest rooms has been reserved at Manhattan Beach Marriott, located at 1400 Parkview Avenue, Manhattan Beach, CA  90266 at a special rate of $169 per night for a Standard room. In order to make a reservation, call Marriott Reservations at 1 (800) 228-9290 or (310) 546-7511 and identify yourself as part of the the Statistical Horizons, LLC Seminar group staying at the Manhattan Beach Marriott. You may also use this link For guaranteed rate and availability, you must reserve your room no later than September 25, 2014.

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.)


“An excellent course taught by an exceptional, knowledgeable and gifted instructor. The cogent presentation of MSEM by Dr. Preacher opens new vistas for researchers who use traditional multilevel modeling approaches. After taking this course, prospective enrollees will never look at traditional multilevel modeling in the same way.”
  Marc Glassman 

“This seminar is helpful, constructive and assisted me in developing and understanding a number of SEM and MLM-related techniques.”
  Dongjae Jung, Arizona State University 

“The teacher is very well organized and it is easy to understand the difficult topics. I think I have learned a lot. This is what I need to prepare my papers, and submit them in top journals.”
  Paloma Bernal, Rey Juan Carlos University 

“Dr. Preacher skillfully broke down extremely complex topics in MSEM into more digestible components. The bound slides from the course will be an invaluable resource for many years.”
  Ross MacLean, Penn State