The Master of Arts in Learning Sciences program is a full-time, 11-month course of study that prepares researchers, developers and practitioners to advance the scientific understanding and practice of teaching and learning. As with the PhD program, the master's program focuses on learning from three interacting perspectives, namely, cognition, design and sociocultural context.
Access to Faculty
Master’s students have a great deal of contact with the faculty and the wider community of researchers, both through their coursework and through independent research projects. Faculty members make it a high priority to take time with students to provide direction in courses, answer questions and recommend resources. The Dean of the School of Education and Social Policy also teaches in the program and often mentors students.
Because the number of master’s students (typically 10 to 12 per year) and the LS community as a whole are relatively small, students are easily able to form connections with the faculty and full-time researchers. Indeed, the LS graduate programs are designed to foster a sense of community and encourage knowledge sharing both inside and outside the classroom. Master’s students and first-year PhD students share offices and participate in a substantially overlapping curriculum. Shared common workspace is also available for students to form study groups, work on project teams and socialize. In addition, students gather regularly for brown bag discussions to share knowledge and research findings.
Whereas some aspects of the program are fixed (e.g., required courses), there is sufficient flexibility for students to tailor their courses and project work to suit their own particular interests. As the program progresses, students are given increasing options for electives, and they join research teams composed of faculty and PhD students, allowing for in-depth research experience.
A Focus on Projects
In addition to extensive course offerings, research projects provide invaluable opportunities for student participation in innovative investigations of learning and teaching in schools, workplaces and other settings. As part of the curriculum, students conduct research with faculty projects or, occasionally, with external organizations.
The Learning Sciences MA and PhD programs are interdisciplinary programs in the School of Education and Social Policy drawing from cognitive science, education and computer science research. Through course work and research apprenticeships, students are exposed to the three major themes that permeate the research and theory in the learning sciences: sociocultural context, cognition and design.
Examining the social, organizational and cultural dynamics of learning and teaching situations, including classrooms, schools, school districts, museums, corporations and homes.
Constructing scientific models of the structures and processes of learning and teaching by which organized knowledge, skills and understanding are acquired.
Building environments for learning and teaching, incorporating multimedia, artificial intelligence, computer networks and innovative curriculum and classroom activity structures.