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Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences: MA, MS, EdS, PhD

Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences

ITLS is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on understanding teaching and learning as they occur in school, online, in the workplace, at home, and in the community. It also addresses the design of environments with the potential to facilitate learning and development more effectively. Additionally, students can focus on the use of emerging technologies and their potential to work as a support for learning or to promote change in learning. Students with bachelor’s degrees in any area can earn a graduate degree in ITLS. A graduate degree in ITLS is a good complement for those with backgrounds in graphic arts, business administration, management information systems, computer science, technical writing, and more. Students focus on the core areas of theory and design and learn to use design skills and other technologies in a variety of business areas, customized to specific career goals.

The ITLS department also offers a fully online Master's of Education in Educational Technology and Learning Sciences.


The goal of the MA program is to prepare individuals for careers in instructional design and development in business, industry, government, and education. Positions range from highly design-oriented jobs requiring extensive instructional development skills to product development-oriented jobs requiring skills in media production. This program prepares people to handle a variety of possible positions. Graduates can use these skills in preparing educational materials for visitors at nature centers, historical sites, and other places that aim to educate the public. They can also design distance-learning classrooms and use the skills learned in their graduate program in the field of education. MA students choose between an internship or a creative project as a culminating experience.


The Master of Science program prepares individuals for instructional design positions that require or benefit from research expertise. In addition to the full range of instructional design positions that our MA students gravitate towards our MS students are prepared to design and carry out research studies. Education coordinators for foundations, science museums, and non-profits, community college faculty, and those wishing to go on and pursue a doctoral degree are all good candidate for an MS degree. Instead of an internship or creative project, MS students complete a thesis and carry out their own original research.


Students who graduate with the EdS are qualified for careers in education. They are typically already teachers who wish to increase their knowledge of technology's role in education. They can also go on to supervisory positions with school districts and education offices, or work for businesses who specialize in creating curriculum and educational resources. Many other possibilities are open to people with ITLS degrees depending on the student's undergraduate degree and interests. Graduates will gain the technical skills and knowledge to succeed in a wide variety of fields and with companies and organizations across the spectrum.

The EdS is beyond the master's level and contains much of the coursework required of PhD students but does not require students to complete a dissertation. Instead, they complete a creative project for their culminating experience. It has the equivalent number of credits to a PhD program.


The PhD is geared toward students interested in pursuing research careers and for those interested in working as faculty or in other positions within a higher education environment. While coursework overlaps with the MS, there is a much stronger research focus for PhD students.

Those with master’s degrees may work in the private sector, academia, work for themselves, or work directly or indirectly for the government, including both K-12 and military settings. Depending on their interests, students may decide to focus on administration and project management, on design work, or on development-oriented efforts. Graduates gain the technical skills and theoretical knowledge to succeed in a wide variety of fields and with companies and organizations across the spectrum. The following list demonstrates the depth and variety of career paths available.

  • Faculty support at an academic institution
  • Traditional classroom teacher (with additional education and licensure)
  • Entrepreneur (instructional design firm, etc.)
  • In-house corporate trainer
  • Instructional designer (In-house corporation, military, etc.)
  • Corporate chief educator
  • Government sub-contractor for the military
  • Human resources (it is recommended that students take electives in the school of business)
  • Chief learning officer
  • Designer for informal learning environments (museums, nature facilities, etc.)
  • Videographer
  • Project manager
  • Webmaster
  • Multimedia specialist
  • Technical writer
  • E-learning specialist (distance learning, digital classroom designer, etc.)
  • Educational or curriculum software consultant
  • Independent consultant (contracting jobs from organizations)
  • Graphic designer
  • Information systems programmer
  • Simulation and games design specialist
  • Mobile app developer

Those who graduate with an EdS are typically already teachers who wish to increase their knowledge of technology’s role in education. They can also go on to supervisory positions with school districts and education offices, or work for businesses who specialize in creating curriculum and educational resources. EdS students are also qualified for the same career paths as the MA and MS students

Those who graduate with a PhD work in business and industry, K-12 settings, and also pursue work in higher education in student services, libraries, faculty support/instructional design and also as tenure-track faculty.

Admission Requirements

Students are welcome from any undergraduate background.

Application Requirements:

Complete the online application, including the following:

  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits (must have a 3.0 or higher GPA on the last 60 semester or 90 quarter credit)
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation
  • Pay the $55 application fee fee (note some ITLS applicants may be eligible for a fee waiver)
  • Submit a statement of purpose
  • Submit a writing sample
  • In recognition of the high cost and low predictive validity of admissions tests ITLS no longer requires the GRE or MAT.

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Admission Deadlines

The department has the following deadlines:

Doctoral degree:

  • Fall semester – December 15

Master's degree:

  • Fall semester – April 1*; Any time for remaining openings
  • Spring semester – December 8*; Any time for remaining openings
  • Summer semester – Apply any time!

* We give full consideration to Master's students who apply by the Fall and Spring deadlines above and then hold remaining openings until they are filled. Students can start our program (including taking our 1 credit orientation class) year round.

Program Requirements

PhD Qualifying Exams:

PhD students must take both written and oral comprehensive examinations. The written examination ensures that students have a broad understanding of instructional technology and the depth of knowledge in their chosen fields required for PhD work. The written examination must be passed before the oral examination is attempted. These must be taken after all coursework is completed, but before the student proposes their dissertation.

Financial Assistance

Those wishing to study in Logan (face to face), our MA, MEd, MS, and PhD programs are all part of the Western Regional Graduate Program. Residents from any qualifying WICHE state can use resident tuition rates for USU even if they are not yet a Utah resident.

Graduate assistantships are available through the department, both through department funds and faculty grants. The availability of these assistantships varies from year to year; check with the department for more information.

A variety of funding opportunities are available on the graduate school website.

Brian Belland, PhD, Purdue University
Associate Professor
Area: Scaffolding, problem-based learning, psychometrics, STEM education, service learning, technology integration
Office: EDUC 207
Phone: (435) 797-2535


Jody Clarke-Midura, EdD, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Assistant Professor
Area: Immersive Virtual Environments, Games, Simulations, Assessment, Collaborative Learning & Assessment, Equity in STEM education, Scale of Technology
Office: EDUC 214
Phone: (435) 797-0571


David Feldon, PhD, University of Southern California
Area: Development of research skills within STEM disciplines
Office: EBLS 242
Phone: (435) 797-0556


Deborah Fields, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Temporary Assistant Professor
Area: Identity, connective ethnography, children's online media (virtual worlds, social networking forums, DIY sites), computational thinking
Phone: (435) 797-2694


Sheri Haderlie, PhD, Utah State University
Program Advisor and Senior Lecturer
Area: School library media administration and adult Learners
Office: EDUC 284
Phone: (435) 764-8764


Yanghee Kim, PhD, Florida State University
Associate Professor
Area: Pedagogical agents, teacher education, instructional design, learning theory, intelligent tutoring systems, human/computer interaction
Office: EDUC 211
Phone: (435) 797-2653


Victor Lee, PhD, Northwestern University
Associate Professor
Area: Visual representations, curriculum design, cognitive science, everyday and intuitive reasoning, conceptual change
Office: EDUC 227
Phone: (435)797-7562


Breanne Litts, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Assistant Professor
Area: Learning through design/making, Makerspaces, Mobile Technologies, Design Thinking, Computational Thinking, Collaborative Learning, Assessment, Culturally Responsive Making, Equity & Accessibility, Design Research, Research-Practice Partnerships
Office: EDUC 205
Phone: (435) 797-0142


Mimi Recker, PhD, University of California – Berkeley
Area: Cognitive modeling, interactive learning
Office: EDUC 215
Phone: (435) 797-2692


Kristin Searle, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Assistant Professor
Office: EDUC 209
Phone: (435) 797-5789


Andy Walker, PhD, Utah State University
Department Head, Associate Professor
Area: Problem-based learning, collaborative information filtering, situated cognition
Office: EDUC 201
Phone: (435) 797-2614


Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

Instructional Technology Student Association: ITSA is dedicated to students in the department of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences. Our mission is to create a positive atmosphere wherein professional excellence and moral principles coexist.

Labs, Centers, Research

ITLS Computer Laboratories: The ITLS Department provides two computer labs for its students and instructors. The computer labs are used as classrooms, but when a class is not scheduled, it is an open lab to ITLS students only. Labs are equipped with a wide variety of specialty software and programs, providing students with access to the tools they use in their coursework, such as the latest version Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro, and more. Students have access to both Macs and PCs.



Academic Advising

Kristy Bloxham
Program Advisor and Professional Practice Associate Professor
Phone: (435) 881-5138

Ramy Shaaban
Practice Assistant Professor
Phone: (435) 797-0896

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