Learning Sciences & Technologies, PhD

The Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Technologies focuses on the preparation of researchers and researcher/developers in education. The program includes formal courses, mentored research, and informal seminars. Ph.D. students are required to hold a master’s degree prior to beginning the Ph.D. program, and are expected to have experience in educational practice. You will build a program of study that includes courses in teaching and learning, social foundations, and research methods. The program is designed to draw together coursework, research apprenticeship, and other professional academic activities to build a complete professional program that is tailored to your interests and needs.

View the University’s Academic Rules for PhD Programs.


The program requires a minimum of 12 course units beyond the master's degree.

Theory Strand2
Required Courses
Doctoral Foundations of Teaching and Learning
Learning Sciences: Past, Present, Future
Methods Strand3
Required Courses (choose 3, pre-approved courses below) 1
Introduction to Mixed-Methods Research
Qualitative Research: Concepts, Methods and Design
Core Methods in Educational Data Mining
Advanced Qualitative and Case Study Research
Social and Statistical Network Analysis
Regression and Analysis of Variance
Design Strand2
Required course
Design of Learning Environments
Choose 1 more from pre-approved courses below:
MaKer Studio
Integrative Design Studio: Biological Design
Design Thinking
Applications Courses2
Required Courses (choose 2, pre-approved courses below)
Video Games and Virtual Worlds as Sites for Learning
Educational and Social Entrepreneurship
Digital Literacies in a Networked World
Educational Assessment of and for Learning
Big Data, Education, and Society
Technologies for Language Learning and Teaching
Professional Experiences 21
Required course
Doctoral Proseminar on Education Research
Electives 32
Select 2 electives
Total Course Units12

Chosen in consultation with an advisor.


A non-credit bearing Research Apprenticeship Course is required from second semester of first year forward in the Professional Experiences Strand. 


 Electives may be taken outside of GSE with advisor approval. Courses must be at the 5000 level or above.

Required Milestones

Qualifications Evaluation (Also known as Program Candidacy)

A Qualifications Evaluation of each student is conducted after the completion of 6 but not more than 8 course units. The evaluation is designed by the specialization faculty and may be based on an examination or on a review of a student’s overall academic progress.

Preliminary Examination (Also known as Doctoral Candidacy)

A Candidacy Examination on the major subject area is required.  The candidacy examination is a test of knowledge in the student's area of specialization, requiring students to demonstrate knowledge and reasoning in the key content areas in their specialization as defined by their academic division. This examination is normally held after the candidate has completed all required courses.

Oral Proposal

All doctoral candidates must present their dissertation proposals orally and in person to the dissertation committee.

Final Defense of the Dissertation

The final dissertation defense is approximately two hours in length and is based upon the candidate’s dissertation. 

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2022 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.