Degrees & Programs
Understand how people of all ages learn, both in and out of school. Some of the questions our faculty pursue are: What are the best strategies for ensuring that students excel in science, math, and technology? How can we better leverage digital media to create innovative environments for learning that both excites learners and deepens understanding? How can we better understanding interest-driven learning spaces where learning seems to flow “naturally,” and how can we use these approaches to transform education? What do our hobbies indicate about the ways we learn most effectively? The answers to these questions can be found in the discipline of Learning Sciences.
In the Learning Sciences, you’ll immerse yourself in the rich history of thinking about learning and acquire a deep understanding of how the notion of learning has evolved over time. By understanding how learners, teachers, peers, family members, guides, instructional materials and technology interact; you can create new innovative learning environments, improve existing ones, and assess their impact for children and adults in a wide array of settings including schools, museums, after-school programs, and online spaces or games, just to name a few.
Our Learning Sciences program is one option in Educational Psychology, currently ranked #21 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Our researchers receive funding from the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and NASA, among others. And our graduates are in demand by organizations ranging from the U.S. military to Fortune 100 corporations.
The School of Education offers the following certificates and degrees in Learning Sciences:
Certificate in Learning Sciences, Media, and Technology (distance)
Students from all disciplines can improve their understanding of the factors that make a successful learning environment through this 12-credit hour online certificate program. You’ll get a strong foundation in learning theory as you examine how learning, media, and technology intersect to create more effective learning environments. No matter your chosen career or industry, this certificate can make you a stronger teacher, manager, or trainer.
- P507 Assessment in Education
- P540 Learning and Cognition in Education
- P574 Topical Seminar in Learning Sciences
Choose two of the following:
- Computational Technologies in Educational Ecosystems
- Games and Learning
- Learning in New Media
M.S.Ed. in Learning and Developmental Sciences (Learning Sciences Program)
Take a science-based approach to education in a discipline that welcomes people with backgrounds in psychology, sociology, computer science, mathematics, and anthropology, as well as education.
In the Learning Sciences program, you’ll assess learning environments and create environments which include digital media, games, and other technologies. Join our research team and investigate use of technology to help people learn in formal settings, such as K-12 schools and universities, as well as informal environments, such as after-school and museum education programs.
This 36-credit hour degree program prepares you for a career as an educational consultant or researcher, among many other possibilities.
Detailed course descriptions and complete degree requirements can be found in the IU School of Education Graduate Bulletin.
Learning Sciences Core (15 cr.)
- P572 Introduction to the Learning Sciences
- P631 Theorizing Learning in Context
- P632 Designing for Learning in Context
- P633 Capturing Learning in Context
- P671 Professional Seminar in Learning Sciences
Inquiry (9 cr.)
Choose from these approved inquiry core classes.
Philosophy, Sociology, Anthropology, History (3 cr.)
Choose among any education course with an H- prefix. See a list of EDU-H courses »
Curriculum and Instruction (3 cr.)
Choose among any education with a J- prefix. See a list of EDU-J courses »
Electives (6–12 cr.)
A total of nine hours must be outside of Learning and Developmental Sciences.
Ph.D. in Learning and Developmental Sciences (Learning Sciences Program)
Students in our Learning Sciences Ph.D. program come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, from math and science to psychology and computer science. What unites them is a desire to understand the connection between how people learn and the environments in which they learn, and to make those environments more effective.
We believe that learning science problems are solved through interdisciplinary collaboration. You’ll collaborate with researchers in related fields, such as cognitive science. As a candidate, you will establish and defend your personal research agenda. Learn to apply relevant social scientific theory, psychological theory, and educational design theory to our research. In addition, you will prepare a research grant proposal tailored to the needs and interests of major foundations and government agencies that support advances in learning sciences.
Complete course descriptions and detailed degree requirements may be found in the IU Bloomington School of Education Graduate Bulletin.
At the completion of your course work and before you begin your dissertation, you will need to pass a qualifying exam, in the form of portfolio of work and an oral examination.
Major (36 cr.)
- P544 Applied Cognition and Learning Strategies (3 cr.)
- P572 Introduction to the Learning Sciences (3 cr.)
- Other learning sciences courses (12–15 cr.). Courses should include a minimum of 6 credit hours of course work on theory and 3 credit hours of course work on design. These courses and the inquiry linkage course taken together must include a minimum of 6 credit hours at the 600-level.
- Early Inquiry Experience
- P573 Learning Sciences Apprenticeship (12–15 cr.). Apprenticeship may be taken for 1-3 credit hours each semester. During one semester, you must carry out an independent research project as your early inquiry experience. The resulting research report must be read and approved by your advisory committee.
- Inquiry Linkage (3 cr.)
- Additional learning sciences course
Inquiry (15 cr.)
- Y521 Methodological Approaches to Educational Inquiry (3 cr.)
- Additional approved course inquiry courses (6 cr.)
- Inquiry methodology electives (6 cr.)
Minor (12 cr.)
The minor must contribute to the integrity of the program. Specific course requirements are under the direction of the minor department. Typical minors include psychology, sociology, special education, curriculum and instruction (e.g., mathematics education, science education, arts education), instructional systems technology, linguistics, informatics, cognitive science, or computer science
Electives or Second Minor (12 cr.)
These courses must contribute to the integrity of the program.
Dissertation (15 cr.)
- P795 Dissertation Proposal Preparation (3 cr.)
- P799 Doctoral Thesis in Learning Sciences (12 cr.)
Our program is organized in interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students, so you’ll collaborate with researchers in related fields, such as cognitive science or the sciences. As a candidate, you will work closely with one or more professors within apprenticeship program that will help define a path towards being an independent scholar with your own personal research agenda. Most of these teams are funded by major foundations and government agencies that support advances in learning sciences. The program is particularly designed to prepare you to develop competitive proposals for foundation and commercial support for your work. Our research interests include creativity, informal learning environments, learning technologies, gaming and virtual environments, online learning, social media, innovative assessment methodologies, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning, learners modeling of scientific phenomena, and many other topics.
- Joyce Alexander, Professor and Executive Associate Dean
- Joshua Danish, Assistant Professor
- Thomas Duffy, Professor Emeritus
- Sean Duncan, Assistant Professor
- Kenneth Hay, Associate Professor
- Daniel Hickey, Associate Professor; Program Coordinator, Learning Sciences Program</P>Adjunct Faculty, Cognitive Science Program
- Cindy Hmelo-Silver, Professor
- Richard Lesh, Professor Emeritus
- Frank Lester, Emeritus Chancellor's Professor of Education, Martha Lea & Bill Armstrong Professor of Teacher Education 2000-2005 & Emeritus Professor of Mathematics Education and of Cognitive Science
- Kylie Peppler, Assistant Professor
- Robert Sherwood, Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Science Education
- Karen Wohlwend, Associate Professor of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education
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, as instructional designers, game designers, educational toy designers, and as program evaluators in research and consulting firms, foundations, public schools, industry, state and federal departments of education, and the military.
For additional information about the Learning Sciences Program, please fill out this brief survey so that we can match you with a faculty member to answer your questions.
Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology
201 North Rose Avenue, Suite 4000
Bloomington, Indiana 47405