Program Contact

Kevin Oliver
Professor and Coordinator of Learning Design and Technology Doctoral Program
Program Contact

Irene Armstrong
Graduate Student Services Specialist

Program Area of Study

Learning Design and Technology

Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences (TELS)

Learning Design and Technology serves doctoral students interested in researching how learners acquire disciplinary or professional knowledge in varied settings (traditional classroom, online, informal, workplace) as mediated by: 1) intentional designs in technology-enhanced learning environments (e.g., game-based, virtual/augmented, mobile, social, online/open); 2) innovative curricula and instructional methods (e.g., teaching with primary sources and social media); and/or 3) innovative educational policy (e.g., common core standards, educational cloud computing).

Please note: If you are interested in applying for this program, click the Apply Now button. If you have any questions, complete the contact form and we will be in contact with you within a few days. Note applications are due December 1, 2018. Applications are due December 1. Completed applications for consideration for funding and assistantships are due December 1. 


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Research in this program area of study (PAS) is guided by cognitive, social, and/or cultural theories of learning, and by the existing body of research informing how people learn in specific disciplines and professional settings. The field at large along with individual programs of research are influenced by: educational technology and psychology, cognitive science, instructional design, communications/message design, graphic design, computer science, adult workforce training, human factors, and anthropology. Students will utilize traditional quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods, along with emerging methods applicable to the study of contemporary learning environments (e.g., design-based research in cycles of software/app design and improvement, learning analytics and social network analysis in online learning communities and massively open online courses). The goal of student research is to generate theory and standards of disciplinary or professional practice that help to solve critical educational problems.

Important Dates
December 1, 2018
Applications are due December 1. Completed applications for consideration for funding and assistantships are due December 1.

Program Description

All doctoral degrees in the College of Education require a minimum of 72 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Most doctoral programs in the College of Education require a minimum of 60 graduate credit hours beyond an approved master’s degree.

This program area of study emphasizes coursework in learning theories and processes, digital-applied research methods, and technology cognate areas selected by the student for emphasis (e.g., distance education, instructional design, game/educational software design, digital media design, technology in the disciplines).

Information Sessions

We hold information sessions annually for prospective students to meet with program faculty and graduates, and ask questions about our programs. These sessions are held in conjunction with the College of Education’s open houses for graduate programs. Please submit an RSVP if you wish to attend one of these sessions. We will inform you of the next available date/time.

Course of Study

The Learning Design and Technology TELS Doctoral Program Area of Study requires the completion of 72 credit hours beyond a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 60 new graduate hours required while enrolled in the PhD program.

Faculty and Affiliated Faculty

Primary College Faculty

  • Deniz Eseryel, Associate Professor, Learning Design and Technology, TELS Department
  • Michael A. Evans, Associate Professor, Learning Design and Technology, TELS Department
  • Julia McKeown, Teaching Assistant Professor, Learning Design and Technology, TELS Department
  • Kevin Oliver, Professor, Learning Design and Technology, TELS Department

Affiliated College Faculty

Affiliated College Associate Faculty

Affiliated Non-College Faculty

  • Tiffany Barnes, Associate Professor, Computer Science
  • Min Chi, Assistant Professor, Computer Science
  • James Lester, Distinguished Professor, Computer Science

Admission Requirements

  • Two official* copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, including any non-degree studies (NDS) at NC State
  • GRE scores from within the last 5 years
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores for international applicants whose first language is not English
  • Academic writing sample
  • Research statement and emphasis
  • Three (3) letters of reference

See our Doctoral Handbook (below) for detailed information on all needed admission documents.

* Unofficial transcripts are accepted for application review purposes, but we require official ones before an admitted student can begin graduate studies.

Additional Info

Doctoral Handbook for Prospective and New Students

Please view our Doctoral Handbook to find answers to your questions about the concentration and its structure, required and transfer credits, curriculum, ideal candidates, what we’re looking for in an application, sources of financial aid including assistantships, and the standard doctoral timeline. If you have other questions, please contact the doctoral program coordinator, Kevin Oliver.

Advantages to Earning Your Ph.D. in Learning Design and Technology at NC State

NC State offers a competitive choice for doctoral study in Learning Design and Technology. Unique opportunities exist for collaborative research with faculty through ongoing research and evaluation projects at the college’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. Further, the university is situated in the state capital of Raleigh, with additional opportunities to network with state-level education staff in the Department of Public Instruction (NC-DPI). Past students have worked or gone on to work in professional positions with the state. The university is also situated in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, reknowned for its high-tech business and industry with major employers like SAS, IBM, Cisco, RTI, Citrix, Quintiles, Lenovo, Bayer, Glaxo, and Red Hat. Further start-up’s can be found on NC State’s own Centennial Campus. Past students have completed internships and projects with numerous companies in the region. Raleigh and the counterpart cities of Durham and Chapel Hill comprise the American region known as the “Research Triangle” with just over 2 million residents. The region is regularly awarded national honors of interest to doctoral students advancing toward professional high tech careers. Raleigh alone was recently rated #2 among most educated cities (WalletHub, 2014), #1 city attracting the most families (Forbes, 2014), #2 best cities for young professionals (Forbes, 2014), #4 happiest metropolitan areas (University of British Columbia, 2014), #1 best places for buisness and careers (Forbes, 2014), #3 least stressed out cities (CNN Money, 2014), among ten best city art districts (USA Today, 2014), #2 fastest growing cities (Forbes, 2014), #5 emerging tech hub to pay attention to (TransferWise, 2014), #13 city driving the future (Business Insider), and many more. A large part of the Triangle’s economic success is tied to its three Research I universities in NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Duke. Students in a research-intensive doctoral degree at NC State can take considerable advantage of the unique Triangle Research Libraries Network to access materials from any of these universities, plus NC-Central University in Durham. In addition, students at NC State can take advantage of two cooperative registration programs allowing them to take courses at other local universities that aren’t offered at their own institution. This expands the course offerings a student may take to 4 additional colleges in Raleigh, and 5 additional universities in North Carolina, including the nearby UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke.

Assistantship Application

Incoming students interested in assistantships should complete and submit this form after they receive a notification of acceptance into the program. Note, assistantships require 20 hours of work per week and students must attend school full-time (9 hours/3 courses per semester). Doctoral students are eligible for stipend, tuition remission, and health benefits, as part of their assistantship.