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Doctorate in Learning Sciences

About the Program

Northwestern University's Learning Sciences program was the first of its kind in the nation. The program was developed with the understanding that design, cognition and sociocultural contexts are core areas for approaching learning and teaching in formal and informal settings. The curriculum and research projects in the Learning Sciences program exemplify continued focus in these areas. 

The Learning Sciences doctoral degree program prepares graduates to advance the understanding and practice of teaching and learning. Research and course work emphasize instructional, technological, and social policy innovations and the design of effective learning and teaching environments. This program is intended for people with a wide variety of interests, including: 

  • Research 
  • Teaching and training 
  • Software development 
  • School administration 
  • The study and reform of learning environments

Sociocultural Contexts

Examining the social, organizational and cultural dynamics of learning and teaching situations, including classrooms, schools, school districts, museums, corporations and homes.


Constructing scientific models of the structures and processes of learning and teaching by which organized knowledge, skills and understanding are acquired.


Building environments for learning and teaching, incorporating multimedia, artificial intelligence, computer networks and innovative curriculum and classroom activity structures.

Curriculum Overview

Course work in the Learning Sciences doctoral program includes a core curriculum and electives.

units of required coursework
core faculty members

View Curriculum

Our Students

Students prepare to be researchers, developers, and practitioners in schools, workplaces, and other settings.

Erica Halverson portrait photo

The Learning Sciences program at Northwestern is one of the few programs that treat the science of learning as a field in and of itself; understanding the cognitive and sociocultural foundations of learning and designing learning environments that take advantage of these insights are the cornerstones of what it means to be at Northwestern.”

—Erica Rosenfeld Halverson 
Associate Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-MadisonLearning Sciences PhD program, class of 2005

Average number of enrolled students
Average number of years to complete the program

Learning Sciences at Northwestern.

Explore the breadth of academic courses offered in the curriculum.

Contact Learning Sciences

Phone Number 


Physical Address 
Walter Annenberg Hall  
2120 Campus Drive  
Evanston, IL 60208