The Learning Sciences and Educational Psychology program draws from multiple disciplines to study how, when, and why people learn both in and out of school.

Our students come from diverse fields and professional backgrounds, with shared interest in cognition, design, and learning environments. In our program, students apply learning theories and design principles in projects of their choosing under the mentorship of our faculty.



Educational Psychology Minor

An undergraduate minor to enhance understanding of learning, development, assessment, and learning environments.

MA Learning Sciences and Educational Psychology

A master’s preparing professionals to design, implement, or evaluate learning materials and environments

PhD Learning Sciences and Educational Psychology

A terminal doctorate preparing scholars for careers in academia, industry, museums, and beyond.

Graduate Certificates

Certificate in Online Teaching

Online certificate to gain skills in designing and facilitating online instruction for anyone who has completed a four-year degree.

Graduate Certificate in College Teaching

The Graduate Certificate in College Teaching provides the necessary coursework and supervised experiences to prepare graduate students for careers in post-secondary education.

Faculty and Research

Our Learning Sciences and Educational Psychology faculty reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of the field, applying various lenses and approaches to the study of learning in diverse contexts.

To see associated faculty, please: Visit Faculty Listing

Areas of expertise include:

  • Cognition, learning, and development
  • Collaborative learning
  • Conceptual change
  • Design-based research
  • Learning in the disciplines
  • Learning technologies & environments
  • Meaning making
  • Multi-modal learning


The Network of Academic Programs in the Learning Sciences (NAPLeS) is a network of PhD and Master’s programs in the Learning Sciences.

DeLTA Center

The DeLTA (Development and Learning from Theory to Application) Center is an interdisciplinary research community at the University of Iowa

Admissions and Application

For general admissions information, please visit Graduate Admissions. Please visit the degree pages for specific admissions information:

The faculty of the Learning Sciences and Educational Psychology program strive to provide financial aid to as many students as possible. The major sources of funding are teaching and research assistantships. In addition, students frequently obtain professionally relevant employment in the Iowa City area. We encourage all students to consult with their advisors prior to taking employment. In general, financial aid in the form of teaching and research assistantships is available to students for no more than two years of work toward an M.A. degree and for no more than four years of work toward a Ph.D. degree. General information about financial aid for graduate students may be found at the UI Graduate Admissions' website.

Research and teaching assistantships: Each year, the program is able to support a number of students as research and teaching assistants. In general, research assistants are supported with funds that faculty members obtain through external grants and contracts. Thus, the number of research assistantships available fluctuates from year to year. Generally, the students appointed to these assistantships have been in the program long enough to acquire the skills that enable them to contribute to the research program. The duties of teaching assistants range from grading to taking full responsibility (with appropriate supervision and support) for teaching a section of a course. Again, first-year students rarely have the skills and background necessary for appointment as teaching assistants. Students are encouraged, through coursework and other experiences, to gain research and teaching skills that will make them eligible for appointment to these assistantships. In most years, some research assistantship or fellowship funds are available especially to support first-year Ph.D. students.

Assistantships for a 25% time or greater appointment qualify the student assistant and his or her spouse for in-state resident tuition, which is substantially lower than out-of-state tuition. Compensation for student assistants also includes a health-care plan and, in some cases for students with children under 24 months of age, a modest contribution toward child-care costs.

Special Graduate Assistantships are open to graduate students pursuing an advanced degree offered by the College of Education. These assistantships are half-time appointments (i.e., 20 hours). During the assistantship, students pursue both individual and collaborative research projects with a faculty advisor. Summer support is not available through this program. The application must be filed on a special form obtained from:

The Chair of the Selection Committee
334 Lindquist Center, The University of Iowa
Iowa City IA 52242-1529
Tel: 339/335-6010

The deadline for completed applications is usually in February. Students should file these applications at the time they apply for admission to the program.

Each year, the program is able to support a number of students as research and teaching assistants. In general, research assistants are supported with funds that faculty members obtain through external grants and contracts. Thus, the number of research assistantships available fluctuates from year to year. These assistantships follow the same general guidelines as the special research assistantships. Summer support may not be available. Unlike the special graduate assistantships, no special form is required. If they indicate an interest, all applicants to the Educational Measurement and Statistics program are considered for these assistantships.

Several Fellowships are available in addition to these assistantships. These include Graduate Opportunity Fellowships for minority students and University of Iowa Fellowships. The University of Iowa Fellowship involves a four-year waiver of tuition, plus a stipend. The faculty will review your materials when complete and will forward to you the necessary forms to enable you to apply to either of these fellowships for which you may be qualified.

Apply Now

Please review the required supplemental documents above before starting the general graduate application. To begin the application process, set up an account with an existing email address and password


Cheryl Ferguson smiles for a photo at the College of Education.

Ferguson’s research inspired by caring for mother with dementia

Thursday, October 5, 2023
Cheryl Ferguson's research aims to develop interventions that extend independence and quality of life for adults with degenerative brain diseases.
Picture of UI research facility, with blue sky above.

Eight faculty-led projects funded by Seeding Excellence Initiative

UI's Office of the Vice President for Research has selected the winners of eight pilot grants--several of which are led by College of Education faculty--intended to sustain the continued growth of the campus research enterprise by providing competitive seed funding in strategic areas.
Clinical professor Mitchell Kelly

Kelly recognized with UI's highest teaching honor

Friday, February 17, 2023
Clinical professor Mitchell Kelly was bestowed with the 2023 President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence, UI's highest honor for teaching.
Matthew Lira teaches students

Lira receives NSF grant to advance learning technologies

Thursday, August 25, 2022
Matthew Lira, assistant professor in educational psychology and learning sciences, was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to investigate the role of gesture using physical feedback in STEM learning.

Program Resources

  • The Blommers Measurement Resource Library contains a collection of books, journals, and reference materials related to educational testing and assessment as well as an extensive collection of published and unpublished tests. The laboratory is staffed by a full-time professional librarian.
  • The Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development provides teacher training and direct services to gifted students. A variety of experiences including practica and research assistantships are available to graduate students.
  • Professional Development @ the TLC provides graduate students a comprehensive job seeking resource.  From résumé and CV samples, templates and critiquing service, to programs that address all aspects of the academic and professional job search, to several publications and video programs that inform and guide every step of the job search.  They also offers students a Letter Service for professional letters of recommendation.  For more information on the services offered, stop by N140 LC or visit our website.
  • The Education Technology Center provides:
    • Computer Resource Laboratory that contains networked microcomputers and terminals linked to the University's network. The lab is used by faculty and students for research and instruction.
    • The Video Production Laboratory consists of a 2,000-square-foot television facility and an audio recording studio. The lab is used for instruction and to produce instructional programs.
    • The Media Laboratory houses a variety of instructional equipment and facilities for students and faculty to develop skills in the design and production of instructional materials.
  • Iowa Testing Programs develop the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development. The programs also provide analytic and consultative services associated with the interpretation and use of test scores. These activities support a number of unique opportunities for student research.

Contact Us

Admissions Coordinator

Matthew Lira
353 Lindquist Center

Program Coordinator

Kathy Schuh
N304 Lindquist Center


For admissions and application questions, please contact:

We're here to help.