Learning and Design (M.Ed.)

Understand how learning happens both in and outside the classroom and how to develop instructional designs that support this learning.


Program Overview

Discover how learning happens across diverse settings and how to bolster and enhance it. You'll create and study environments that have impact across scale, time, and context.

From developing curriculum for an after-school art program to community initiatives that create safe spaces for homeless youth, this immersive 10-month program focuses on understanding how people learn, how contexts and tools influence learning, and how to design learning environments and activities to support learning. Graduates choose careers that include classroom teacher, instructional design leader, curriculum designer both for schools and for out-of-school-settings like museums and libraries, leader of non-traditional learning experiences, and education specialist. Some pursue doctoral degrees in Learning and Design.

All M.Ed. candidates complete an individual capstone project that provides an opportunity for students to synthesize and demonstrate their understanding of the professional knowledge areas of Learning and Design.

M.D./M.Ed. Dual Degree Program
If you are a medical student interested in further training, expertise, and immersion in educational theory and practice while in medical school, you can complete a joint master's degree in education (M.Ed.) and an M.D. degree. The dual degree program takes about five years to complete. You must apply to the M.D. and M.Ed. programs separately and must be accepted by both programs to pursue the dual degree.


Of job-seeing graduates, 100 % were employed or attending graduate school within four months of graduation. Recent career placements include: 

  • 2nd Grade Teacher, High Tech Elementary, San Diego, California
  • 3rd Grade Teacher, Tollgate Elementary, Aurora, Colorado
  • Editor, Educational Resources, Barnes & Noble, New York, New York
  • Education Project Specialists, Disney, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
  • Senior Researcher and Strategic Initiatives, The Citizens Foundation, Karachi, Pakistan
Andre Costa

"The L&D program equipped me to understand that one of many lens of an educational designer is about 'reading' the complex system of the local context by being locally immersed while respecting the local history of practices."

Andre Costa, M.Ed.

Program Facts

Program Director: Andrew Hostetler
Admissions Coordinator: Angie Saylor
Admission Term: Summer
Credit Hours: 31, 15 of which are elective credit hours
Priority Application Deadline: January 3*
*We will continue to accept applications after this date, but applications will be evaluated for admission and scholarships as space and funds are available.

Program Curriculum

Coursework through the Learning and Design program concentrates on the combination of core and elective classes. It culminates with a final Capstone project. Throughout the program you'll focus on three interrelated core emphases: learning, design, and diversity

  • The learning core focuses on theories of learning and their application and implications in formal and informal settings. These theoretical perspectives provide the foundations for the design work.
  • The design core explores implications of the learning core through a user-centered design process, which emphasizes the importance of interacting with users from the very beginning of the process.
  • The diversity core drives and informs both the learning and design cores.


  • Courses and Capstone

    Common Core

    You'll complete 16 core credit hours that focus on learning, design, and diversity over the 10 months of the program. The program of study typically follows this schedule:


    • EDUC 7100 Learning Out of School
    • EDUC 8040 Diversity and Equity in Education


    • EDUC 6030 Learning and Instruction
    • EDUC 6080 Designing for Contexts
    • EDUC 7992 Capstone Seminar


    • EDUC 7810 Inquiry Into Contexts
    • EDUC 7992 Capstone Seminar (continuation from fall semester)


    Past Capstones:

    • Podcasts and Education
    • Retuning and Refining Museum Educational Programming
    • Math, Motivation, & Technology: Envisioning an Engaging High School Math Classroom
    • Centralizing teachers as artists: a re-humanizing framework for curriculum adoption and implementation
    • Empathy as Learning: Activating Empathy in the Workplace
    • Build Back Better 2.0: Civic Design and Youth Empowerment
    • Introducing Elementary Engineering Through Making and Literacy
    • We edit and Yukon too!: Mashed potatoes and editorial review"

    Elective Courses

    You'll complete 15 credit hours from any graduate level course in any department, college or university for which you are able. At least one of these electives will have a primary focus on diversity and at least one will have a primary focus on design.

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The program's diversity core drives and informs both the learning and design cores. Organizations and activities are often tacitly designed to support only a narrow segment of the population reflecting the backgrounds of the designers. Such a limited perspective is not only inequitable and unethical, but it is also highly ineffective. The diversity core explores various approaches for supporting diversity through design.

Selected Faculty Research

Rich Milner, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair of Education

Rich Milner, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair of Education

Professor Milner is a researcher, scholar and leader of urban education and teacher education. Centering on equity and diversity, he examines the social context of classrooms and schools and looks at ways in which teachers' talk (particularly about race) influences student learning, identity and development.


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