Learning, development & instructional sciences

This graduate program stream focuses on the application of knowledge and research in the psychological sciences to instruction, learner support and the design of optimal learning environments.

In the learning, development and instructional sciences program you will learn to:

  1. Examine, critique, and apply contemporary research in human learning, self-regulation, motivation and development.
  2. Apply psychological sciences to evidence-based practices across diverse instructional contexts.
  3. Critically read, interpret, synthesize and evaluate research.
  4. Communicate scholarly information in ways that are accessible to colleagues, clients and communities. 
  5. Gain in-depth knowledge of scholarly theory and research in a chosen area of focus.
  6. Develop research competency and experience.

Please note:

  • This program is suitable for achieving advanced TQS standing for previously qualified teachers, but none of our programs lead to BC Teacher Certification.
  • This program does not allow you to become a school psychologist.

MA program details

The MA degree is a course and thesis based research degree. It is most suited to students who seek careers designing and conducting research in schools, post-secondary contexts, government or community agencies.  Thesis work typically advances theory, research, and practice in the field of Educational Psychology. Persons who anticipate proceeding on to a doctoral program should apply for the MA degree. Applicants who enjoy and wish to develop the skills of conducting research, writing, and presenting and publishing academic papers frequently select this degree.

Students are encouraged to review and consider faculty area of research & supervision and are welcome to contact potential supervisors in advance of application to discuss their interests. The faculty members in the Learning, Development and Instructional Sciences are Dr. Wanda Boyer, Dr. Allyson Hadwin, Dr. Joan Martin, Dr. John Walsh. 

Important MA features:

  • Progress through program together with your peers and community of learners
  • Two years full time (or three years full time with co-op option)
  • Individualized work with a faculty supervisor on your research thesis
  • Students with undergraduate psychology degrees are generally well prepared for this degree

MA program requirements

The MA is a 21 unit program consisting of 10 courses (1.5 units each) plus a thesis (6.0 units).

Learn about which courses to register in each semester on the program planner for the course-only program or program with co-op option. Note: if you do not follow the course planning guide for course selection and scheduling, you will have to wait until missed courses re-occur in the schedule. This could delay completion by up to a year.

The MA thesis requires students to apply knowledge and skills acquired during your program to design and conduct a primary research study. To complete in a timely manner students are advised to (a) secure a supervisor and committee by February of year one, (b) complete a literature review on their topic in year one of the program and (c) complete the thesis proposal early in the fall semester year two.

MA course requirements

Course number and units Course name
ED-D 505 (1.5) Advanced Concepts in Human Development

ED-D 506: A,B or C (1.5)

Cognitive Development; Social and Emotional Development; Adolescent Development
ED-D 508 (1.5) Theories of Learning in Educational Psychology
ED-D 509 (1.5) Psychology of Learning and Instruction
ED-D 560  (1.5) Statistical Methods in Education
ED-D 561A  (1.5) Methods in Educational Research 
ED-D 570 (1.5) Self-Regulated Learning
ED-D 591A (1.5) Motivation and Emotion Regulation 
Electives (3.0) Courses to be chosen in consultation with student's supervisor
ED-D 599 (6.0) Thesis

Program courses and requirements are subject to change. Check the Academic Calendar for up-to-date information and course descriptions.

MEd program details

The MEd degree is primarily a course-based applied degree that culminates in a capstone project demonstrating your ability to read, evaluate, communicate and apply psychological research. It is especially useful if you're seeking advancement in applied educational settings, community organizations, or government education ministries. The program is also useful if you are interested in the development and evaluation of educational programs and services. 

Important MEd features:

  • A cohort based program; you progress through the program together with your peers creating a community of learners
  • The MEd requires two years full time (or three years full time with co-op option)
  • The MEd is primarily a course-based program that culminates in a time-limited capstone research review project that is designed to allow you to demonstrate what you've learned
  • The MEd focus is on developing skills for reading and interpreting both quantitative and qualitative research

Program requirements

The MEd is 10 courses (1.5 units each) plus a project (3.0 units) and final comprehensive exam (1.5 units) for a total of 19.5 units.

You'll apply knowledge and skills acquired during your program to read, synthesize and critically review primary empirical work in the field with a goal of: (a) evaluating its quality, and (b) interpreting its implications from practice. 

Learn which courses to register in each semester on the program planner for the course-only program or program with co-op option. Note: if you do not follow the course planning guide for course selection and scheduling, you will have to wait until missed courses re-occur in the schedule. This could delay completion by up to a year. 

Course requirements

Course number and units Course name
ED-D 505 (1.5) Advanced Concepts in Human Development

ED-D 506: A,B or C (1.5)

Cognitive Development; Social and Emotional Development; Adolescent Development
ED-D 508 (1.5) Theories of Learning in Educational Psychology
ED-D 509 (1.5) Psychology of Learning and Instruction
ED-D 560  (1.5) Statistical Methods in Education
ED-D 561A  (1.5) Methods in Educational Research 
ED-D 570 (1.5) Self-Regulated Learning
ED-D 591A (1.5) Motivation and Emotion Regulation 
Electives (3.0) Courses to be chosen in consultation with student's supervisor
ED-D 597 (1.5) Comprehensive Exam
ED-D 598 (3.0) Project

Program courses and requirements are subject to change. Check the Academic Calendar for up-to-date information and course descriptions.

Co-op term options

Students in our programs complete two terms before their first co-op term placement so they have the necessary disciplinary expertise for their placements.

MEd students have the option of completing three co-op terms while MA students have the option to complete two co-op terms to allow for thesis writing.

Students interested in the co-op option must adhere to the three-year program plan listed below in order to finish on schedule.

Delivery methods

Courses are offered in a specified sequence to ensure students have access to courses required to complete the program within two years (without co-op) or three years (with co-op) of full-time studies.

All classes are offered in the evenings (4:30-7:20) or summers to accommodate family and work commitments during the day.

It is possible to take any of our program streams part-time following the designated sequence of courses over four years instead of two. Please check the course planning guide for your program to determine what courses you should take each semester.

Who takes our programs?

  • Teachers, education administrators and program developers
  • Psychology students interested in applying psychological sciences for educational contexts
  • Professionals in student services and higher education settings
  • Health care, child and youth care, and student success professionals
  • Persons with undergraduate degrees in psychology, education, and related fields
  • Learning strategy instructors
  • Government employees

Why study with us?

  • BC TQS requirements—Our program meets the BC TQS requirements for promotion via graduate study
  • Course timing—All required courses are taught after 4:00 pm
  • Work at your own pace—We offer both full- and part-time options 
  • Broaden your work experience—We offer optional co-op semesters that allow you to explore diverse career opportunities
  • Integrate your personal interests into your coursework—We encourage you to use class discussions, papers, and presentations to explore your own classroom and community experiences and interests
  • Earn a flexible degree— Our degree has been used in careers that evaluate, translate and apply research to practice in schools, government, health education and student services 
  • Be part of an international learning community— Our students come from all over the world and have interesting work histories

 Program schedule by year

Semester Courses and co-op schedule

Year 1 Fall

ED-D 505: Advanced Concepts in Human Development (1.5)

ED-D 508: Theories of Learning (1.5)

Co-op preparation and courses (non-credit)

Year 2 Spring

ED-D 561A Methods in Educational Research (1.5)

ED-D 509 Psychology of Learning & Instruction (1.5)

ED-D 506B Social and Emotional Development (1.5)

Year 1 Summer (May-August)

Co-op Work Term 1

Year 2 Fall

ED-D 560: Statistical Methods in Education (1.5)

One elective course such as:

Year 2 Spring

Co-op Work Term 2

Year 2 Summer (May-June) ED-D 570: Self-regulated Learning (1.5)

Year 2 Summer (July)

ED-D 591A: Selected Topics: Motivation (1.5)
Year 3 Fall

ED-D 590 Directed Studies (1.5) (write your proposal)

ED-D 599 Thesis (Thesis ethics & instrument preparation)

Year 3 Spring

ED-D 599 Thesis (data collection & analysis)

+ extra course in advanced analysis if you need it (ED-D 562 or ED-D 563)

Year 3 Summer

ED-D 599 Thesis Completion-write, revise (May/June), Defend (August) +

oral exam