Our curriculum and program requirements are designed to prepare graduates for careers in several possible settings.

For the master's programs, these settings include:

  • Publishers and software companies looking for people with knowledge of cognition and development and experience in instructional design.
  • Research organizations seeking people to conduct basic research and work on instructional applications of computers and related technologies.

For the doctoral programs, work settings after graduation might include:

  • Research organizations or universities seeking faculty in cognitive psychology, educational psychology, educational technology, and reading.

Students beyond the M.A. level take more advanced courses, including a statistics sequence.

In addition, students register for research practicum seminars during which they complete a substantive project as a culminating experience for that degree. Choice of advanced courses and research seminars should be shaped by the students' area of focus, as described below. Students whose interests do not fit one of these tracks may design their own area of focus in consultation with their advisor.

Areas of Focus

Foundations in Cognition and Learning

Cognition and Learning is designed for students interested in theories of human cognition and learning, and experimental approaches to learning, memory, language, reasoning, and problem solving. The culminating experience for master's students in this concentration is to conduct an empirical research study in the area of cognition or learning.

Intelligent Technologies

Intelligent Technologies offers a program of study for students whose interests include developing cognitive science-based theoretical frameworks for informing the design of educational technology, as well as for students wishing to create educational applications that serve as test beds for such theoretical frameworks. By offering this area of focus, the Program in Cognitive Studies in Education recognizes the importance of computational and allied technologies to both guide and be guided by cognitive research. Many of the courses in this area of focus are cross-listed with the programs in Communication, Computing, and Instructional Technology in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology. As a culminating experience, master's students in this area of focus create and evaluate an educational technology application.


Applications is for students interested in understanding and facilitating the thinking and learning involved in educational activities. Students will learn about cognitive processes involved in both formal and informal education and how they are influenced by various factors, including classroom structure, teacher belief systems, student motivation, and educational policy. The focus on understanding cognitive processes and development is designed to help prospective and practicing teachers and other educators improve educational practice. The culminating experience for master's students is an empirical study of cognition in a classroom setting.

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