College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Learning technologies MA / PhD

The MA/PhD track in learning technologies prepares students to conduct research and engage in technology-related practices in higher education, K-12, and business settings. Core focus areas include learning analytics, K-12 technology integration, online distance learning, and multimedia design and development.

Quote from Rukmini Avadhanam

I’m really fortunate to work with faculty who are extremely knowledgeable, very approachable, and who have had a lot of impact on the way I started looking at my research and career.

Rukmini Avadhanam PhD candidate, 2023

Coursework

Curriculum

Coursework in learning technologies includes hands-on learning and use of current technologies, development of technological solutions, consideration of theory and research, and conducting educational research. 

The MA in learning technologies is designed for students interested in a stronger research orientation compared to those who pursue the MEd degree in learning technologies. Students complete a thesis (plan A) or a final paper (plan B). View the required courses in the graduate catalog under subplan "learning technologies." 

The PhD experience is based upon your research interests with your faculty adviser. To view the curriculum requirements in detail visit the course catalog go to Requirements, go to program sub-plan, and scroll down to Learning Technologies. 

Research opportunities

Students can engage in research that ties into their area of interest. Faculty work closely with each cohort to achieve research and educational goals. Learn more about the student research experience in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. 

Areas of research include: 

  • Learning analytics 
  • Technology integration in K-12 classrooms 
  • Computer science education 
  • Educational technology 
  • Instructional Design 
  • Remote and distance online learning 

Sample plan of study

  • Core courses: CI 8131 + CI 8132 (6 cr) 
  • Research courses: CI 8134 + CI 8135, OLPD 5056, OLPD 5528, ESPY 8251, ESPY 8252 (18 cr) 
  • Major courses: CI 5331, CI 5330, CI 5365, CI 8391, CI 8395 (15 cr) 
  • Supporting courses: CI 5472, ESPY 5151, CI 5651, CI 5641 (12 cr) 
  • Elective course: CI 8461 (3 cr) 
  • Thesis credits: 8888 (24 cr) 

Career outlook

MA graduates engage in advanced media and software design and development, lead K-12 technology integration initiatives, and work as researchers. MA students often apply to PhD programs.

PhD graduates earn academic positions in higher education institutions and become leaders within community organizations, K12 schools, and businesses.

Current students and recent graduates have found employment in the following positions:

  • Academic Developer in the Teaching and Learning Innovation Center at Goldsmiths College, University of London

  • Academic Technologist, University of Minnesota 

  • Assistant Professor of Digital Marketing Technologies, University of Wisconsin-Stout 

  • Associate Professor + Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology, Royal Roads University 

  • Instructor of Instructional Technology, University of South Florida 

    John Bartucz John Bartucz

    I believe that everything that is meaningful in life is built through connections and relationships. Nothing is learned or accomplished in a vacuum.

    Image
    John Bartucz

    Angelica Pazurek Angelica Pazurek

    I have a very personal appreciation for the empowering potential of education and am interested in leveraging learning technologies, especially online learning affordances and mobile technologies, to improve access to education and learning…

    Image
    Angelica Pazurek

    Cassie Scharber Cassie Scharber

    • Associate Professor of Learning Technologies, Director of the L+T Collaborative, Bonnie Westby Huebner Chair in Education and Technology
    • she, her, hers
    • 612-625-6607
    • scharber@umn.edu

    I am troubled by the narrow conceptions and practices of literacy and learning that proliferate in schools and current educational inequalities that are rooted in the gendered, racist, and classist histories of U.S. schooling.

    Image
    Cassie Scharber

    George Veletsianos George Veletsianos

    • Professor of Learning Technologies, Bonnie Westby Huebner Chair in Education and Technology
    • he/him/his
    • georgev@umn.edu

    I pursue a socially responsible and critical research agenda focused on responding to complex education problems in online and blended contexts, such as inequitable access, participation divides, and online harassment.

    Image
    George Veletsianos
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    How to apply

      Application deadline and instructions

      Priority deadline: December 1 for admission to the fall of the following year
      Admissions decisions: January

      Applications submitted after this date are considered on a case-by-case basis and may not be reviewed until the following year. Faculty review applications in mid-late December, and the Graduate School will notify applicants about admission decisions shortly thereafter. Final admission decisions are based on complete applications. All application materials must be included for the application to be released for review.

      Before applying online, go through the application checklist to ensure you have all the required materials. We are here to help! If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator. If you are a returning Graduate School student, follow the Readmission guidelines. If you are a current Graduate School student and need to change your program, follow the Change of Status guidelines.

      Tuition and funding

      We have several funding options to support students full-time through program completion. Support is available in the form of:

      • Teaching Assistantships. The majority work as student teaching supervisors for MEd initial licensure students. Daytime availability, a teaching license, and teaching experience are required
      • Research Assistantships
      • Fellowships. Based on a departmental nomination process. You will be notified by the Director of Graduate Studies if you are being considered for a fellowship. Decisions are made by April 15.
      • Graduate students are also eligible to apply for fellowships and graduate assistantships through other University departments. Visit the University's employment page or fellowships through the Graduate School's Graduate Fellowship Office.
      • Find more detailed federal financial aid and graduate tuition information.

      Application requirements

      What we look for

      Admission to our master's of arts and doctoral programs are competitive and we look for candidates whose goals and interests align with the program’s research and scholarship. Program faculty make admissions decisions based on the candidate’s experience and research competencies, along with compatibility of research goals.

      Please look at our current faculty members’ research interests.

      Our masters and doctoral candidates display

      • Evidence of strong interest in research and in the development of research competencies
      • Evidence of substantial experience in the discipline
      • Strong writing skills
      • Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent

      Required application documents

      1. Unofficial transcripts.Upload your transcripts into the application system. Please include all transcripts from any institution you have attended, even if you did not earn a degree or certificate. Please do not mail your transcripts. Official transcripts are required only after you are admitted. Tips for uploading your transcript(s).
      2. Resume.
      3. CI Application Form. Upload in the graduate program additional materials section.
      4. Three letters of recommendation. Ask professors, employers, or supervisors to speak to your potential for successfully completing your degree; they will upload their letters directly into the online application.

      The GRE is being waived for those applicants applying for Fall 2025.

      Required written statements

      1. Personal statement.Upload to the Applicant Statements section of the online application. (Most statements are 1.5-3 pages, single spaced). Please trace how you became interested in research in this discipline, as well as what problems interest you the most and why. Be sure to speak to:
        1. Why you want to study in our department
        2. What strengths, expertise, and research experience would contribute to your success in our program
        3. Your professional goals for pursuing a research-focused degree
      2. Diversity statement.Upload to the Applicant Statements section of the online application. Identify the distinctive qualities, characteristics, and life experiences you would contribute to our community. You may wish to include examples that address your contribution to the diversity of the student body and illustrate your motivation to succeed by setting high standards for accomplishing intellectual and other goals, overcoming obstacles to achievement, and/or helping others to gain access to the resources necessary for success. (please do not exceed one page in length)
      3. Short writing sample.(Optional except for Literacy Education applicants). For example, an excerpt from a term paper or research paper for publication. No longer than five pages in English.
      4. Common Ground Consortium Fellowship. (Optional) The primary purpose of the CGC is to assist graduate programs in the College of Education and Human Development to recruit exceptional students with the distinct experience provided by HBCUs or similarly distinguishing contexts, provide these students with financial assistance support during their graduate studies, and assistance with career development and job placement afterwards. It offers a pipeline to excellence and an opportunity to diversify perspectives in the academy. If you wish to apply, submit a statement that describes how your participation as a CGC scholar would a) enhance your graduate student experience, b) prepare you for your chosen career, and c) benefit the public. Upload to graduate program additional materials section.

      Additional admissions information

      Application checklist

      Before applying online, go through the application checklist to ensure you have all the required materials. We are here to help! If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator.

      If you are a returning Graduate School student, follow the Readmission guidelines. If you are a current Graduate School student and need to change your program, follow the Change of Status guidelines.

      Transfer credits

      MA students must complete at least 60 percent of their coursework (not including thesis credits) within our program. PhD students may transfer no more than 15 credits from an outside institution.

      A maximum of 12 graduate course credits taken as non-degree seeking or non-admitted status at the University of Minnesota can be transferred; this is counted separately from the maximum 60 percent or 15 non-UMN credits. For example, a PhD student could transfer a maximum of 27 credits (15 non-UMN and 12 non-degree from UMN).

      If you earned a MA at the UMN, please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator to discuss transfer procedures. Thesis credits cannot be transferred.

      After you are admitted, you will work with your adviser to determine which credits may transfer.

      International applicants

      International applicants may also need:

      • An English translation of your transcripts, if the transcript is not in English. Please note: the Graduate School Admissions Office will not accept an evaluation of your international coursework by an outside agency such as ECE or WES; they only accept the original transcripts.
      • TOEFL/IELTS or MELAB. You may qualify for an exception if you have completed 16 semester or 24 quarter credits within the past 24 months in residence as a full-time student at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States or other country where English is the official language (i.e. U.K, Canada). Score requirements and submission guidelines

      Request information

      We’re here to help. Simply complete one of these forms and a member of our department will be in touch