Program Contact

Dr. Michael A. Evans
Associate Professor, Learning Design and Technology
Program Coordinator
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 January 1, 2018. But if you’d like to be considered for funding or assistanships, please apply by December 15. 

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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
January 1, 2018
Applications are due January 1. Completed applications for consideration for funding and assistantships are due December 15.

Program Description

The doctorate in Learning Design and Technology is a 60-hour program emphasizing 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

Prior to the January 15th application deadline, we hold a fall information session for prospective doctoral students to meet with program faculty and ask questions about our program. This session is held on the second Monday of September at NC State’s Friday Institute, in the 4:30-6:00pm time block. Please submit an RSVP if you plan to attend this fall session. Prospective doctoral students are encouraged to attend and discuss their research interests with faculty.

Course of Study

The 60-hour curriculum includes: 6 hours in scholar leader coursework from the college, 6 hours in teacher education and learning sciences seminars from the department, 15 hours in general research methods, 6 hours in digital-applied research methods, 6 hours in learning theories and processes, 12 hours in a specified cognate area, and 9 hours in dissertation research. In addition, students can earn course credit for independent study, practicum, or supervised teaching/research projects.

Full Curriculum

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

  • Jere Confrey, Professor, Mathematics, STEM Ed Department
  • , Professor, Workforce and HR Development, ELPHD Department
  • Glenn Kleiman, Professor, Learning Design and Technology, TELS Department
  • Hollylynne Lee, Professor, Mathematics Education, STEM Ed Department
  • Meghan Manfra, Associate Professor, Social Studies, TELS Department
  • Brad Mehlenbacher, Workforce and HR Development, ELPHD Department
  • Hiller Spires, Reading, TELS Department
  • , Learning Design and Technology, TELS Department
  • Eric Wiebe, Science, STEM Ed Department

Affiliated College Associate Faculty

Affiliated Non-College Faculty

  • Roger Azevedo, Professor, Psychology
  • 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 program coordinator, Michael A. Evans.

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.