Doctor of Philosophy - Learning Sciences

The Ph.D. program in the Learning Sciences is designed to enable students to conduct research and evaluation of learning environments, including but not limited to technology-based environments. The focus of the program is on the design, assessment and understanding of learning environments and of the organizational and educational systems in which they are embedded. Data analytics and psychological process are also addressed in the program.

For information regarding accreditation at UNLV, please head over to Academic Program Accreditations.


Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program, graduates will be able to:

  • Understand and be able to analyze key theories related to learning, cognition, and development.
  • Understand how to design and modify technological and other types of learning environments to promote more effective learning.
  • Critically evaluate research studies based on each study’s methodology, literature support, and significance.
  • Understand and use advanced statistical research methods (including computer technology for the analysis of data); understand the role of causation in science and the threats to causal inference posed by invalid research design and methodology.
  • Understand (a) qualitative approaches to exploring phenomena related to educational and other social contexts, (b) the theoretical and practical considerations of conducting and interpreting case studies, ethnographies, participant observations, narrative reports, and design- based research, and (c) criteria for establishing goodness of qualitative studies.
  • Develop plans for test construction, item and test specification, item writing and selection, test preparation and administration, test and item analysis, item and test revision to enhance reliability and validity, and various methods for validating tests, such as factor analysis, item response theory, and current issues in measurement.
  • Serve as independent scholars who can design, implement, and prepare reports of research studies, and make significant contributions to the learning sciences.
  • Develop an identity relative to some aspect of the learning sciences, actively contribute to the profession, and understand aspects of ethical and professional functioning in the chosen domain.

Career Possibilities

  • University and college faculty.
  • Community college faculty.
  • Instructional designer for school districts, textbook publishers, educational gaming companies, museums and other informal learning environments.
  • Curriculum or professional development specialist.
  • Educational technology director for school districts, human services agencies, hospitals, businesses etc.
  • Education program evaluator.
  • Organizational consultant for schools.
  • Policy position in government or nonprofit sector related to educational reform and accountability.


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Program Information