Degrees & Programs

Educational Psychology

Understand how students acquire knowledge and how learning environments shape outcomes. You’ll study the cognitive, environmental, social, and emotional factors that shape students’ ability to learn. By understanding these influences, you can create opportunities for children and adults to learn more effectively.


Faculty areas of research include:

  • Child, adolescent, and adult development
  • Cognitive and social development
  • Creativity
  • Individual differences in learning rates (i.e., gifted learners)
  • Classroom applications of learning theories
  • The interacting effects of child, home, and school variables

Some of our research programs focus on basic processes of development, such as family processes, parenting, scaffolding, peers, social status; social networks, the development of aggression, violence, emotional and academic self-regulation, play interests, expertise, metacognition, creativity, children’s thinking, gerontology, physical activity and aging, and creativity and aging.

Faculty also focus on applied programs of research such as child care and development, family/school connections, learning in the classroom, adolescent deviancy and risky behaviors, and geriatric education for health care professionals. A wide range of research methods is used by faculty and included as part of the training program, including laboratory based experimental studies, naturalistic studies in homes and schools, and secondary data analysis of large data sets.

We limit the number of doctoral students entering the Educational Psychology program to typically 4–6 students each year in order to facilitate close mentoring relationships between faculty and students. Please note: we are not currently admitting new students to the PhD program. Alternative programs for the educational psychology program are Learning Sciences and Human Development.  These programs have similarities with the educational psychology program and are well worth investigating.

Our department is firmly committed to mentoring and supporting ethnic minority graduate students.


The IU School of Education offers the following degrees in Educational Psychology:

M.S.Ed. in Learning and Developmental Sciences (Educational Psychology Program)

Examine how teachers, classroom environments, and schools can enhance or diminish student motivation and performance. You’ll gain insight into cognitive and emotional changes in children, adolescents, and adults and develop a solid foundation in the theoretical frameworks that guide different styles of teaching.

This 36-credit hour program teams you with nationally known researchers exploring motivation, creativity, social development of children, aggression and bullying in schools, and family influences on child development. It also includes a strong emphasis on statistical analysis, assessment, and inquiry methodology.

Degree Requirements

Course descriptions and complete degree requirements can be found in the IU School of Education Graduate Bulletin.

  • Educational Psychology (12 cr.)
    Courses are selected from one or more of the subareas of psychological studies, which include human development or learning and instructional cognition. Most if not all P-prefixed courses should count, including but not limited to the following:

P513 Gerontology: Multidisciplinary Perspectives
P514 Life Span Development: Birth to Death
P515 Child Development
P516 Adolescent Development
P517 Adult Development and Aging
P518 Social Aspects of Aging
P540 Learning and Cognition in Education
P544 Applied Cognition and Learning Strategies
P545 Educational MotivationP550 Cognition and Semiotics
P566 Social Psychology in Education
P590 Independent Study in Educational Psychology
P600 Topical Seminar in Learning, Cognition & Instruction
P622 Social Development
P624 Brain Research Applied to Educational and Clinical Practice
P625 Family Processes and Child/Adolescent Development
P640 Thinking and Learning in Social Contexts
P650 Topical Seminar in Educational Psychology

  • Inquiry Methodology (9 cr.)
    Courses are selected from one or more of the following inquiry areas: statistics, assessment, program evaluation, and qualitative or quantitative inquiry methodology. Most if not all Y-prefixed courses should count, including but not limited to the following:

Y502 Intermediate Statistics Applied to Education
Y520 Strategies for Educational Inquiry
Y527 Educational Assessment and Psychological Assessment
Y530 Topics in Computer Analysis of Educational Data
Y535 Evaluation Models and Techniques
Y590 Independent Study in Inquiry Methodology
Y603 Statistical Design of Educational Research
Y604 Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research
Y611 Qualitative Inquiry in Education
Y617 Psychometric Theory
Y635 Methodology of Educational Evaluation

  • Foundations (3 cr.)
    This may be a course in philosophy, sociology, history or anthropology. Typically an H-prefixed education course is used to fulfill this requirement. Other acceptable courses include

P601: Educational and Historical Foundations of Psychology

  • Curriculum Theory or Methods (3 cr.)
    This requirement may be waived for students with undergraduate course work in education and for students who will not seek a position in public education. Otherwise, courses in curriculum theory or design are acceptable. Other acceptable courses include:

P650: College Teaching (as long as 3 total credits have been completed)
P670: Classroom Management Behavior Analysis and Consultation

  • Electives (9 cr.)
    Other relevant courses, in or outside of Learning and Developmental Sciences, to bring total hours to 36. Elective courses must contribute to the integrity of the student's program and must be approved by a program advisor.
Ph.D. in Learning and Developmental Sciences (Educational Psychology Program)

Take an in-depth look at the biological, cognitive, social, and emotional issues that affect learning. Investigate real-life issues from why some students learn faster to how aggressive behaviors develop in school settings. As a Ph.D. in educational psychology, you’ll begin working on independent research under the mentorship of a faculty advisor as early as your first semester. You’ll also have the opportunity to pursue professional roles, from teaching to program development, which will help you meet your career objectives.

Through this 90-credit hour program, you’ll enter the job market with at least two years of teaching experience, a portfolio of national conference presentations, and a record of publications. You’ll be prepared to pursue academic appointments or work at education research institutions or government agencies.

Degree Requirements

Course descriptions and complete degree requirements can be found in the IU School of Education Graduate Bulletin.

Educational Psychology Major (36 cr. minimum)

Courses that are part of the major form the heart of the student's doctoral program and are planned by the student with the advisory committee. Besides course work in Educational Psychology, an Early Inquiry Experience in the form of an independent research project (3 credit hours) must be carried out prior to qualifying for writing the Ph.D. dissertation.

This requirement can be met through a Masters thesis (P599), Independent Research (Y590, P690), or some other experience agreed to by the student and the faculty advisor. The research report resulting from this project must be read and approved by the student’s advisory committee.

In addition, all doctoral students are required to take the following course:

  • P526 Theory and Method in Educational Psychology (3 hours)

Students are expected to acquire basic knowledge in the Core Areas of Learning and Developmental Sciences listed below by taking at least one 3 credit course from each area. Basic knowledge in these spheres is tested in qualifying examinations.

  • Human Development
  • Learning and Cognition
  • Educational Inquiry Methodology

Foundations in Education (9 cr. minimum)

Doctoral students are required to take courses outside their major and minor areas to obtain alternative theoretical perspectives to their studies. These courses may be taken in areas such as the history, philosophy or sociology of education, curriculum theory and other social sciences. Students are allowed to take no more than 6 hours in the same area.

Inquiry Core (15 cr. minimum)

The Inquiry component emphasizes methodological skills which provide a basis for conducting original research. The following three courses are required:

  • Y520 Strategies for Educational Inquiry (3 cr.)
  • Y502 Intermediate Statistics Applied to Education (3 cr.) (must be taken concurrently with Y500)
  • Y527 Educational Assessment and Psychological Assessment (3 cr.)

In addition, two of the following courses (three credits each) are required:

  • H510 Methodology of Educational Inquiry
  • Y535 Evaluation Models and Techniques
  • H601 Historical Inquiry in Education
  • Y603 Statistical Design of Educational Research (must be taken concurrently with Y500)
  • Y604 Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research (must be taken concurrently with Y500)
  • Y611 Qualitative Inquiry in EducationY617 Psychometric Theory
  • Y627 Seminar in Educational and Psychological MeasurementY
  • 635 Methodology of Educational Evaluation
  • Y750 Topical Seminar in Educational Inquiry Methodology

Minor (12 credit hours minimum)

Students are required to take a minor outside the Learning and Developmental Sciences program in an area which complements their major field and provides additional depth and breadth to their program. Typical minors include Psychology, Special Education, Inquiry, Sociology, Linguistics, Language Education, Higher Education, Instructional Systems Technology, Counseling and Philosophy of Education. The specification of courses to be taken in the minor is under the direction of the student's minor faculty representative and the program advisory committee.


Elective courses are chosen to fill out the major and to contribute to the integrity of the student's program. These courses are taken in the student's areas of interest, within or outside the department, in order to fulfill the total program requirement of 90 credit hours.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is given towards the end of the student's course work. It has two parts--a written examination, followed by an oral one. The written examination, has three sections covering (a) a general exam in Human Development, Inquiry, and Learning and Cognition, (b) the Major exam in Educational Psychology, and (c) the Minor exam. Minor qualifying examination requirements are under the direction of the minor department.

Dissertation (15 cr. minimum)
After passing the written and oral qualifying examinations, the student is admitted to candidacy and begins formal work on the dissertation. In consultation with the dissertation director, the student enrolls in P795 Dissertation Proposal Preparation, and selects a research committee.

Proposal approval and dissertation research as pursued by the student under the direction of his/her research committee.

  • P795 Dissertation Proposal Preparation (3 cr.)
  • P799 Doctoral Thesis (12 cr.)

A final oral examination of the dissertation completes the doctoral program.


From educational consulting and instructional software companies to Fortune 500 companies seeking research specialists, your career opportunities as a Learning Sciences graduate are numerous and exciting.

Graduates of these programs secure positions as university faculty members, as psychological and educational researchers, and as program evaluators in research and consulting firms, foundations, public schools, industry, state and federal departments of education, and the military.


For detailed program information, please contact:

Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology
201 North Rose Avenue, Suite 4000
Bloomington, IN 47405
Phone: (812) 856-8300