A doctoral program emphasizing research and innovation in education through technology, data, and curriculum design.

The Ph.D. program in Learning Sciences and Technologies is designed to build and study the learning technologies of tomorrow, to analyze large-scale educational data, to develop expertise in learning analytics, and to develop cutting-edge curricula and learning materials.

What Sets Us Apart

1:1 One-on-one mentorship from faculty and fellow doctoral students through the research apprenticeship.
4 years Full scholarship for your first four years of study
 Individualized program tailored to your interests

About the Program

The program is designed to draw together course work, research apprenticeship, and other professional academic activities to build a comprehensive learning experience that is tailored to students’ interests and needs.

Entry term(s)
Fall
Course requirements
12 courses, organized around 5 strands
Typical course load

Fall: 3; Spring: 3

Culminating experienceDissertation

Format(s)
  • Full-Time
Overview

Coursework and research experiences in the Learning Sciences and Technologies program address a range of practice-based and theoretical problems in schools, in online learning, and in community settings. Coursework and research experiences consider learning in its full richness and context, using sociocultural, cognitive, and psychological perspectives. Taking an interdisciplinary stance, faculty and students explore how to enhance learning, motivation, and engagement, for the world's diversity of learners, in a range of formal, informal, and online educational settings. Our graduate students study learning in traditional contexts using new technological approaches, and they study new and emerging pedagogies for learning such as constructionist environments, simulations, massive online open courses, serious games, and intelligent tutoring systems.

Because of the significance we attach to the building of knowledge from experiences as educators and educational designers, we expect most students to have, on admission to the program, either teaching/instructional experiences (in or outside of school settings), educational design/development experience, or experience as a learning analytics practitioner. Students will build a program of study that includes courses in teaching and learning, social foundations, and research methods. Students in the program participate in field-based research and collaborative projects with practitioners in schools or other educational settings, and/or work with large-scale educational data sets. Students learn not only from a rigorous program of study, but also from active participation in a community of learners including practicing and prospective teachers, and educational designers and researchers.

Curriculum

The Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Technologies focuses on the preparation of researchers and researcher/developers in education. The program includes formal courses, mentored research, and informal seminars. Ph.D. students are required to hold a master’s degree prior to beginning the Ph.D. program, and are expected to have experience in educational practice. You will build a program of study that includes courses in teaching and learning, social foundations, and research methods. The program is designed to draw together coursework, research apprenticeship, and other professional academic activities to build a complete professional program that is tailored to your interests and needs. For more information about courses and requirements, visit the Learning Sciences and Technologies Ph.D. program in the University Catalog.

 Theory

• Learning Sciences: Past, Present, and Future
• Foundations of Teaching and Learning
• Education, Culture, and Society

Methods courses (3 required)

• Core Methods in Educational Data Mining
• Mixed Methods
• Social Network Analysis
• Qualitative Modes of Inquiry
• Quantitative Modes of Inquiry

Design (2 required)

• Design of Learning Environments
• Maker Studio
• Integrated Design Studio
• Design Thinking and Product Development

Applications (2 required)

• Games for Learning
• Entrepreneurship in Education
• Technologies for Language Learning and Teaching
• Digital Literacies
• Big Data, Education, and Society

Professional Practice

• Research Apprenticeship Course

Our Faculty

Our award-winning faculty design and research formal and informal learning environments. Innovations developed by our faculty range from online learning communities and teacher professional development workshops to more effective curricular and pedagogical approaches. They work in school clubs, museums, classrooms, and virtual worlds across multiple educational settings. With grant-funded projects, as well as ties to Philadelphia schools and institutions, the faculty offer students direct access to nationally significant research on education. Their work connects closely to Penn GSE’s broader focus on equitable access to education across social strata.

Penn GSE Faculty Ryan S. Baker
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University
Penn GSE Faculty Susan A. Yoon
Professor
Ph.D., University of Toronto
Penn GSE Faculty Yasmin B. Kafai
Lori and Michael Milken President’s Distinguished Professor
Ed.D., Harvard University

Affiliated Faculty

Ed Brockenbrough
Associate Professor and Calvin Bland Fellow
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Sarah Schneider Kavanagh
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Washington

Rand Quinn
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University

Sharon M. Ravitch
Professor of Practice
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Abby Reisman
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University

Janine Remillard
Professor
Ph.D., Michigan State University

Our Graduates

The Ph.D. program in Learning Sciences and Technologies prepares graduates to work in learning sciences research and development in universities, industry, and non-profits. Graduates of this new program are anticipated to work in teaching and research positions in institutions of higher education, or in research and development positions in industry and non-profits. Graduates will learn to build and study the learning technologies of tomorrow, to analyze large-scale educational data, and to develop cutting-edge curricula and learning materials.

Admissions & Financial Aid

Please visit our Admissions and Financial Aid pages for specific information on the application requirements, as well as information on tuition, fees, financial aid, scholarships, and fellowships.

Contact Information

Contact us if you have any questions about the program.

Office of Admissions and
Financial Aid

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania
3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-6415
admissions@gse.upenn.edu
finaid@gse.upenn.edu

Program Contact

Veronica E. Aplenc
Program Manager
Adjunct Assistant Professor
(215) 746-2566
vaplenc@gse.upenn.edu

Please view information from our Admissions and Financial Aid Office for specific information on the cost of this program.

All Ph.D. students are guaranteed a full scholarship for their first four years of study, as well as a stipend and student health insurance. Penn GSE is committed to making your graduate education affordable, and we offer generous scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.