College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

Psychological foundations of education

Understand the way people think, learn, and teach

As a student in psychological foundations of education, you’ll study the psychological processes critical to education. Research in our program focuses on cognitive and social-emotional development, including high-level cognition and factors shaping and enhancing learning throughout the lifespan. Our faculty and students do not just conduct laboratory experiments—we also put our research to work: in local schools on programs to improve students’ reading and science outcomes and with members of our diverse communities to help our neighbors succeed at school and work.

Programs and degrees


Masters and PhD students choose between two areas of emphasis:

    Learning and cognition / educational technology (MA, PhD)

    Study how people think and learn. Research how people learn with technology and design research-based technologies to improve learning.

    • Faculty (PhD only)
    • Research associates at universities
    • Research scientists at companies
    • Researchers in:
      • Government agencies
      • Research and development centers
      • Other educational settings (e.g., K-12 school research offices)

    Social psychological and developmental processes (MA, PhD)

    Study how social processes contribute to the success of schools and other educational organizations.

    • Faculty (PhD only)
    • Research scientists at universities and companies
    • Other educational settings (e.g., K-12 school research offices)
    • Human and social service organizations
    • Health care organization evaluator/researcher
    • Government agencies
    • Research and development centers

    Certificates and minors

      Learning sciences postbaccalaureate certificate

      Shape your teaching and research through better understanding of how people learn. As a student in our new learning sciences certificate program, you’ll study learning theories, methodologies, designs, and evidence-based practices central to teaching and conducting research that supports the learning process.

      Talent development and gifted education certificate

      Develop, implement, and supervise programs to teach gifted and talented students in K-12 and postsecondary schools and other settings.


      The Department of Educational Psychology offers a minor in educational psychology with an emphasis in psychological foundations of education.

      What to expect

        Submit your MA or PhD application for the fall semester following the deadlines below.

        December 1

        PhD applications

        We will not be accepting applications for the Social area PhD at this time.

        February 1

        MA applications


        Visit the College of Education and Human Development's Finance and Funding page for information on tuition.

        Fellowships and awards

        Submit your application materials by the December 1 deadline, and you’ll automatically be considered for Graduate School fellowships and departmental awards based on scholastic achievement. Notification of awards will be sent in March.

        Graduate assistantships

        Get paid to work as a teaching assistant, graduate instructor or research assistant. Graduate assistantships are available through the department, College of Education and Human Development, and the University.

        Note: Applicants who complete their applications by the March 1 deadline will be less likely to receive graduate assistantships than students who meet the December 1 deadline.

        Additional funding

        Visit the College of Education and Human Development's Finance and Funding page for more information on funding.

        Financial aid

        Visit OneStop Student Services for more information on available financial aid.

        Faculty and instructors

        Laura Allen

        Bonnie Westby Huebner Chair in Education and Technology

        William M. Bart


        David DeLiema

        Assistant professor

        Hyejin Hwang

        Assistant professor

        Panayiota (Pani) Kendeou

        Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Guy Bond Chair in Reading

        Caitlin Mills

        Assistant professor

        Keisha Varma

        Program coordinator, associate professor, associate vice provost, Office of Equity and Diversity

        Martin Van Boekel

        Teaching assistant professor