PhD in Learning Sciences

PhD in Learning Sciences

PhD and Masters in Learning Sciences

The Learning Sciences doctoral degree program prepares graduates to advance the understanding and practice of teaching and learning. Research and course work emphasize instructional, technological, and social policy innovations and the design of effective learning and teaching environments. This program is intended for people with a wide variety of interests, including research, teaching and training, software development, school administration and the study and reform of learning environments.

Northwestern University's Learning Sciences program was the first of its kind in the nation. The program was developed with the understanding that design, cognition and sociocultural contexts are core areas for approaching learning and teaching in formal and informal settings. The curriculum and research projects in the Learning Sciences program exemplify continued focus in these areas.

Because of our commitment to the need for multidisciplinary perspectives, methods and collaborations for successful research in learning sciences, students have these distinctive advantages:

  • Faculty members bring expertise from fields including computer science, education and cognitive science.
  • Students may take courses and do research in other departments and schools, including Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Business and Communication.
  • Students select an adviser during the first year of the program after becoming acquainted with faculty and their research.
  • In addition, students receive full tuition and academic year stipend for five years, contingent on satisfactory progress.

Interdisciplinary Themes

Through course work and research apprenticeships, students in the Learning Sciences PhD program engage with the three major themes that permeate the research and theory in the learning sciences — sociocultural context, cognition and design.

Sociocultural Contexts

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.

Learn How To Apply

Contact Us

Learning Sciences Program School of Education and Social Policy

2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/491-4329