Ph.D. Concentration in Learning, Cognition, Instruction & Development

Program Details

Area(s) of Study:
  • Early Childhood
  • Educational Psychology
  • Human Development
  • Language Education
  • Learning Sciences
  • Literacy Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Science Education
  • Social Studies Education
  • Special Education
  • Statistics and Measurement
Associated Degree:
  • Ph.D.
  • On-Campus
Program Level:
  • Doctoral
Program Type:
  • Degree


The concentration in Learning, Cognition, Instruction, and Development within the Ph.D. in Education program prepares students to carry out research on learning and teaching in classrooms and other settings. Interdisciplinary study is encouraged within this concentration, which focuses on:

  • how people think;
  • how knowledge is conveyed;
  • how understanding is acquired;
  • how human beings develop in learning environments; and
  • the ingredients of effective teaching.

Students can specialize in areas of faculty expertise, with opportunities for research in interdisciplinary studies and these specializations:

We help our students to develop the broad base of knowledge and research skills needed to design and investigate methods of improving learning and teaching in real-world learning environments. Students specialize in one area of study but learn about one or more other areas, allowing them to develop stronger educational interventions and research designs.

Click on the link for each specialization listed above for information on specific courses and faculty members.



1. Personal statement.
2. Three letters of recommendation.
3. Official undergraduate transcripts.
4. Curriculum Vitae/Resume (optional).
5. Sample of Academic Writing (optional).

No decision of admission can be processed less than 2 weeks before the beginning of the semester.



GRE General (optional)



Please submit a personal statement that describes why you are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at Rutgers, what you would like to study and research, and what qualities and experiences you would bring to the Rutgers GSE.

In no more than 1,000 words total, we ask you to address the following questions:

  • Why do you want to earn a Ph.D. in Education, and what are your long-term goals?
  • What are your research interests within the field of education?
  • What do you bring to the program that will help you succeed as a researcher and professional colleague?
  • Why is the Rutgers GSE an appropriate doctoral program in which to pursue your research interests? Please describe your interest in specific concentrations/areas of study and/or your interest in working with a certain faculty member(s).

Please refer to the GSE website for details about programs, faculty, admissions criteria, financial aid, and tuition. Questions about admissions procedures are answered by Graduate and Professional Admissions at the website listed above.



Program Requirements

The Ph.D. in Education requires 48 credits of coursework and 24 credits of dissertation research. All students in the Learning, Cognition, Instruction, and Development concentration take a common set of courses, accumulating 18 credits within the concentration, of which 6 credits must be classes within the concentration but outside the faculty advisor’s specialty.

The pre-thesis courses are independent study courses that are designed to enhance a student’s ability to conduct scholarly research. The faculty advisor, or other Ph.D. in Education faculty member as appropriate, will typically provide greater support and guidance for the first course than for the second course. Each course should result in some type of product (e.g., a research paper, literature review, etc.). The exact nature of the research that the student will engage with is to be decided with the advisor or other faculty member serving as the course instructor. The pre-thesis plan, including expected outcome(s), should be shared with Ph.D. in Education Program upon course registration. Prior to receiving a special permission number from the Administrative Assistant for the Ph.D. in Education Program, students and advisors/instructors are asked to complete and submit the Pre-thesis Research Form. The form simply asks for a brief explanation of the focus of the pre-thesis course along with anticipated outcomes. 

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please contact the Office of Student and Academic Services.