Oct 17, 2021  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 

Doctor of Philosophy - Learning Sciences

Plan Description

The Learning Sciences Ph.D. is an academic program with an emphasis on the design and evaluation of learning environments, including but not limited to technology-rich environments.  Students  take core courses in: 1) the learning sciences, 2) research methods and statistics, and 3) advanced studies in a specialization area.  The specialization areas are:  (a) learning technology, (b) educational data science and statistics, (c) learning policy and organizational change, and (d) cognitive and developmental sciences.  All students will be actively involved in research and research-related activities throughout their program of study.

The program will prepare students for a variety of professional careers related to teaching and learning in both academic and nonacademic settings.  Graduates of the program will be prepared for a variety of professional positions (e.g., university and community college faculty, curriculum specialists, learning and technology specialists, employee training specialists, program evaluators, and instructional technology coordinators).

For more information about your program, including your graduate program handbook and learning outcomes, please visit the Degree Directory.


Plan Admission Requirements


Application deadlines

Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.

Admission will be limited to the most qualified applicants based on a combination of the following:

  1. An undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 or above.
  2. If graduate course work has been completed, a graduate grade point average of 3.00 or above.
  3. Preference given to students whose scores relate to the 50th percentile or better on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  4. A score of 600 or above on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also required for students who do not speak English as their first language.
  5. Three letters of reference from university faculty or other individuals qualified to judge the applicant’s academic potential.
  6. The applicant’s statement of professional interests and goals.
  7. Graduate College application is available online.

All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements.

Students are accepted into a degree program as described in the Graduate Catalog. The faculty and corresponding sub-disciplines and sub-plans within the described programs are subject to change at any time.

Plan Requirements

Total Credits Required: 67

Course Requirements

Specialization Courses – Credits: 9

Complete 9 credits of advisor-approved coursework within one of the following specialization areas: (a) Learning Technologies, (b) Educational Data Science and Statistics, (c) Learning Policy and Organizational Change, or (d) Cognitive and Developmental Sciences.  

Elective Courses – Credits: 6

Student must take a minimum of 6 credit hours of advisor-approved elective courses that fall within any of the other program specialization areas or their own specialization courses.

Internship – Credits: 3

Dissertation – Credits: 12​

Degree Requirements

  1. Students must maintain a GPA of 3.00 or higher for all course work taken at the doctoral level.
  2. Residence Credit Requirement: A minimum of 50 percent of the total credits required to complete the doctoral degree not including transferred and dissertation credits must be earned at UNLV after admission to the doctoral degree program.
  3. Each student must satisfy a scholarly paper requirement by the time he or she has completed 36 credits (Review I). The student must be primarily responsible for carrying out and reporting a study under the supervision of a program faculty member. The requirement may be fulfilled in one of two ways. First, the study may involve the collection and analysis of some empirical data (for example, a pilot study) resulting in a scholarly paper that is submitted to either a professional journal or as a proposal to an annual conference of a national organization. Second, the paper may consist of a literature review that is submitted for publication in a quality, peer-reviewed journal or submitted for presentation at a national conference. Prior to beginning, projects must be approved by a supervising faculty member. Once completed, students must submit to the program coordinator: (a) a copy of the paper, (b) a submission acknowledgment, and (c) a completed Review I form from the supervising faculty member.
  4. Students must complete a one-semester or summer internship (EPY 794) with an employer.  The purpose of the internship is to provide students with real-world experience in designing, implementing, or evaluating a learning environment, so as to augment students’ depth of knowledge and skills as Learning Scientists.  The internship is also intended to enhance students’ employability.  The internship, which may be paid or unpaid, must be with an employer (for example, text book publisher, school district, U.S. military, hotel/casino, museum); these may include appropriate units at UNLV outside of academic departments.  The internship may, however, also be part of an academic research partnership involving these entities.  The student is responsible for securing an internship opportunity.  The internship may be completed at any point in the program prior to advancement to candidacy.
  5. The internship must result in an academic research product (paper or report) that is partially or fully authored by the student.  Proposals for internships that specify the employer, end product, and nature of the work must be approved by the student’s advisor before the internship commences.
  6. In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize a dissertation committee of at least three program members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the program, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. The committee must be chaired by a program faculty member with a primary affiliation with the Department of Educational Psychology and Higher Education or co-chaired by such a faculty member and a program faculty member with a primary affiliation in another department. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
  7. Students must successfully complete a preliminary examination. This formal assessment will focus on areas of knowledge that are most relevant to the student’s dissertation topic. The student and his/her committee will determine the content of this examination. The student and his/her committee will determine the content of this examination format in that it will focus on in-depth reading and writing directly related to the student’s proposed dissertation topic as well as on the student’s mastery of previously learned core information.
  8. After successfully completing the scholarly paper requirement and preliminary examination, students can submit a formal dissertation proposal to their doctoral committee and submit the accompanying “Prospectus Approval” form from the Graduate College. The doctoral committee will determine the acceptability of the prospectus. Upon completion of the dissertation, a defense will be scheduled and conducted in accordance with the Graduate College’s policies for thesis and dissertation completion.

Plan Graduation Requirements

  1. The student must submit all required forms to the Graduate College and then apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing his/her degree requirements.
  2. The student must submit and successfully defend his/her dissertation by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.
  3. After the dissertation defense, the student must electronically submit a properly formatted pdf copy of their dissertation to the Graduate College for format check. Once the dissertation format has been approved by the Graduate College, the student will submit the approved electronic version to ProQuest. Deadlines for dissertation defenses, format check submissions, and the final ProQuest submission can be found here