The M.A. in Learning Sciences prepares students to apply the findings of learning sciences research to the solution of problems in a broad range of educational contexts.

The 30-semester-hour M.A. in Learning Sciences emphasizes the ways theory and research inform our understanding of learners, learning, instruction, and the technology and environments in which learning and instruction occur. Elective opportunities allow students to develop a multidisciplinary specialization, including technology and media, human development and motivation, and measurement and evaluation. The capstone experience is an internship/practicum that allows the student to apply knowledge of the Learning Sciences.

Application Deadlines

  • January 15 (Fall semester)
  • October 1 (Spring semester)

Late applications will be accepted but may not be considered for funding.

Admission Requirements

Applicants typically are expected to meet the following admission criteria:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a Regionally Accredited American College or University, or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions.
  • Undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better on a four-point scale.
  • Graduate GPA or 3.00 or better on a four-point scale.
  • Minimum Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores of 146 (verbal) and 149 (quantitative) on the General Test. Successful applicants usually score higher. NOTE: The GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle only. Please note that the GRE is not required for graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships within the College of Education, nor is it required for Graduate College fellowships. The GRE is a requirement for Special Graduate Assistantships (SGAs) offered through the Iowa Measurement and Research Foundation.
  • Teaching experience is desirable but not required.
  • English Proficiency Requirements (international applicants)

Applicants who do not meet all admission requirements may be granted conditional admission on the basis of other evidence, such as high grade-point average, strong academic preparation, and highly supportive recommendations. Conditional admission is rare. Admission decisions are announced approximately six weeks after the application deadlines.

Application Procedure

  1. Create an application account to begin the application process.
  2. Submit the online application to the Graduate College and pay the $60 application fee by credit card ($100 for international applicants).
  3. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive email instructions on how to establish your HawkID and password which you will use to access MyUI, our online service center for students and applicants.
  4. You will use your Admissions Profile on MyUI to upload required supplemental materials.

Required Supplemental Materials

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  • NOTE: The GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle only. Official GRE scores from Educational Testing Service (the University’s institutional code is 6681)
  • Official TOEFL scores may be required for some non-native speakers of English
  • A statement of purpose, including a statement of your personal career objectives and how a graduate degree in Learning Sciences will help you achieve those objectives.
  • Three letters of recommendation*

* You will be asked to give the contact information of your recommenders, including their email, on your Admissions Profile. The recommender will then get an email with instructions on how to upload the recommendation letter and/or form.


Application questions can be directed to: Sue Cline in the Office of Student Services   319/335-5260,

We look forward to receiving your application!

Additional Information

Applicants who accept admission or financial aid and do not relinquish either one on or before April 15 are committed not to solicit or accept another offer. Offers made by the program after April 15 include the provision that the offer is void if the applicant has accepted and continues to hold a previous offer from another program listed in the American Psychological Association publication Graduate Study in Psychology and Associated Fields. This policy is consistent with standards set by the association's Board of Educational Affairs.

The M.A. in learning sciences requires a minimum of 30 s.h. of graduate credit. Course requirements are as follows.

Required Courses

PSQF:6204 Foundations of the Learning Sciences

PSQF:6205 Design of Instruction

PSQF:6200 Educational Psychology

PSQF:6203 Tools and External Representations in Learning Processes

PSQF:6281 Cognitive Theories of Learning

PSQF:6214 Design of Learning Environments

PSQF:6208 Digital Media and Learning OR
PSQF:6215 Web-based Learning

PSQF:6299 MA Project: Internship/Practicum/Portfolio

Elective Opportunities (2 courses)

Electives allow the student to choose a strand of interest to develop a multidisciplinary specialization.  Current areas and course options within include:

Human Development and Motivation focus area

  • PSQF:4106 Child Development
  • PSQF:4111 Human Motivation
  • PSQF:4130 Early Adolescent Development
  • PSQF:4133 The Adolescent and Young Adult 
  • PSQF:6206 Advanced Child Development

Technology and Media focus area

  • PSQF:6208 Digital Media and Learning
  • PSQF:6215 Web-based Learning
  • PSQF:6216 Online Tools and Utilities
  • PSQF:6211 Universal Design and Accessibility for Online Learning

Measurement and Evaluation focus area

  • PSQF:4143 Introduction to Statistical Methods 
  • PSQF:6257 Educational Measurement and Evaluation
  • PSQF:6220 Quantitative Educational Research Methods
  • PSQF:5165 Introduction to Program and Product Evaluation
  • PSQF:6265 Program Evaluation
Application Deadlines
  • January 15 (Fall semester)
  • October 1 (Spring semester)
  • Late applications may not be considered for funding.
Application Questions