Take the lead in an evolving learning landscape
SMU’s online Master of Science in the Learning Sciences
Take the lead in an evolving learning landscape
SMU’s online Master of Science in the Learning Sciences

Build learning and technology skills to meet needs across industries with the online MSLS

Elevate your potential in an educational landscape where innovation, technology, and data converge.
Southern Methodist University's (SMU) online Master of Science in the Learning Sciences (MSLS) program is your gateway to becoming an architect of learning for the digital age. Join a diverse community of professionals seeking to harness cognitive science, instructional design, and cutting-edge technology to revolutionize how we learn and teach.

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Total credits
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Start dates
Spring and Fall
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Program length
20-22 months
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100% online with optional on-campus events
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Primarily asynchronous with weekly synchronous sessions

Earn your master’s in the learning sciences from experts and innovators

Interested to find out how the online MSLS can help you upskill to upgrade your career? Complete the form to receive a program brochure.

Get valuable insights into the online experience, learn more about SMU, and see where this degree can take you.

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A world of opportunity, entirely online

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Thrive with flexible program delivery

The M.S. in the Learning Sciences is delivered 100% online so you can expand your skills while continuing to work. Start dates in both the spring and fall mean you can begin your academic journey at a time that best fits your schedule.

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Meet education innovators

The online MSLS faculty are revered for both their scholarship and their professional experience. Connect with faculty one-on-one to get support with coursework, find or develop research opportunities, or seek career advice.

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Leverage a legacy of success at SMU

Ranked in the top 50 Best Education Schools1 earning a degree from SMU Simmons School is not just an academic achievement; it's an entry into a tradition of excellence and a community of leaders.

An interdisciplinary approach to education

The online M.S. in the Learning Sciences integrates research, theory, and the practice of education and human development to create innovative learning environments in both formal and informal settings. With a curriculum rooted in cognitive science, data science, and technology-enhanced learning, the MSLS program empowers you to lead and innovate in an array of settings, from classrooms to corporations.

Tell Me More

Customize your MS in the Learning Sciences curriculum

The online MSLS program includes four required core curriculum courses: three worth 3 credit hours each, in addition to one core Research Methodologies course worth 6 credit hours. This combination ensures you gain a robust foundation of contemporary pedagogy coupled with the specialized knowledge that differentiates you in the field.

Enroll in one of two specialization options or pick and choose courses to build your own personalized elective curriculum to ensure the MSLS courses meet your career needs and interests. Whether you're aspiring to improve learning systems, master the craft of learning analytics, or do a little bit of both, the SMU learning sciences master’s has you covered.

Explore the curriculum

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Learning and Technology Design Course Highlight:

Video Games and Virtual Environments for Learning

This course investigates how, why, and when video games can foster learning on multiple levels. The course will explore the kinds of learning and social interactions video games encourage and develop critical thinking skills around the research on games and learning. Drawing on research from education, psychology, communication, and the growing field of games studies, the course will include an examination of the history of video games, research on game play and players, conceptualization and investigation of learning in playing and designing games, and what we know about possible outcomes. The course will also address issues of gender, race and violence that have been prominent in discussions about the impact of games.

Explore the Whole Curriculum

Upskill your talents to upgrade your career

Graduates of the SMU online Master of Science in the Learning Sciences program are equipped to lead and innovate in a diverse array of educational and corporate environments. With a comprehensive understanding of how people learn and the technological tools to enhance educational experiences, alumni are prepared to tackle challenges in instructional design, data analysis, and the creation of engaging learning materials. Whether it's designing immersive educational software, informing policy through data-driven insights, or leading organizational learning initiatives, the skills honed in the MSLS program enable graduates to significantly impact how educational content is curated and consumed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between the learning sciences degree and traditional education degrees?

While traditional education degrees often concentrate on curriculum development and teaching methodologies, the online MSLS blends cognitive science, data analysis, and technology to provide a more comprehensive understanding of how individuals learn in various environments.

The online MSLS emphasizes the application of the latest technologies in education, such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and data analytics, preparing graduates to implement and manage innovative learning solutions across all sorts of industries and settings. Further, graduates of a learning sciences program often pursue careers in instructional design, corporate training, and educational technology leadership, which are distinct from the K-12 teaching roles that traditional education degrees typically prepare students for. Check out the careers page to learn more about professional opportunities for graduates with an MSLS.

Can I work while completing the online MSLS?

Absolutely. The online MSLS is designed specifically for working professionals to be able to complete coursework online and partially on their own time from wherever they’re located. Students will take just 6 credits (typically two classes) per term which is roughly less than half of the typical credit load of a full-time undergraduate student.

What kind of academic support is available to students in the online MSLS?

While the online MSLS program is partially asynchronous, you will participate in live classes once every week which provides an excellent opportunity for students to speak directly with their peers and instructors. (A recording will also be provided to those students who can’t attend some live sessions).

Additionally, upon admission to the program, you are paired with a student success coordinator who can help you navigate the online learning environment, find study strategies that work for you, connect you with additional resources and assist you in many other ways.

There are also non-mandatory campus-based opportunities like conferences and seminars where students can network with faculty, peers and other professionals.

What are some of the career opportunities available to a graduate with a master’s degree in the learning sciences?

Students who complete the learning sciences master's degree could pursue impactful roles, including:

  • Learning experience designer
  • Instructional technology coordinator
  • Educational data scientist
  • Corporate training manager
  • Curriculum developer
  • Learning management system analyst
  • Education policy advisor
  • User experience researcher for educational technology
  • Chief learning officer

Admissions Deadlines

Priority Deadline
July 15
Fall 2024
Final Deadline
August 5
Fall 2024
Class Start Date
August 26
Fall 2024

The future of education is what you make it


Southern Methodist University has engaged Everspring, a leading provider of education and technology services, to support select aspects of program delivery.