Master of Arts (M.A.) in Learning Engineering

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Learning Engineering

Design innovative learning experiences

Today’s evolving world calls for learning engineers who can help schools, nonprofits, companies, and governments design engaging, accessible learning experiences that draw on the most current learning technologies and pedagogies. The M.A. in Learning Engineering is designed to equip you with the hands-on design experience, interdisciplinary knowledge, and technical savvy you’ll need to respond to that call.

Designing from Day One

As a student here, you will be designing from the moment you step on campus. Under the guidance of faculty who are at the forefront of the field, you will develop a toolkit for creating learning experiences that incorporate cutting-edge technologies.

Build Your Design Portfolio

Through collaborations and internships with our partner organizations, you’ll build a design portfolio that will prepare you to pursue a career as a learning engineer, learning experience designer, instructional designer, curriculum developer, or educational technology consultant.

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At a Glance

How many courses?

Most students take 10 courses (30 credits). 
The program is on campus and takes one year to complete.


Leverages human-centered design principles to iteratively develop and improve products and services 


By the Department of Homeland Security

Equity & Access

We believe that designers have a responsibility to think about inclusion, equity, and access. These values are built into our program’s approach—we care about creating a better, more equal public and designing engaging learning experiences for that public.
Brian K. Smith, Honorable David S. Nelson Chair and Associate Dean for Research


Throughout the program, you’ll develop the expertise and imagination you’ll need to design learning experiences that dynamically engage learners’ interests, passions, and prior knowledge. 


  • Courses: 10 
  • Credits: 30 
  • Comprehensive Exam



Core Courses

Course Course Title Credit

Design Studio 1 

The Design Studio is the venue for learning how to practice Learning Engineering. Students will learn practices of design thinking and design decision making in the context of two design projects, each focused on designing learning experiences for a targeted population of learners that foster learning of targeted learning objectives. The Design Studio will be richly-facilitated and orchestrated as a Cognitive Apprenticeship. Students will work in pairs and also spend time as a Knowledge Building Community sharing what they are designing and the complexities they are facing, providing advice to each other, and reflecting on and articulating what they are learning about designing for learners.


Reflective Seminar 1 

This one-credit seminar is designed to help students make sense of and synthesize across the new concepts, skills, and practices they are learning as participants in the M.A. in Learning Engineering Program. Focus will be on how to be designers of engaging and effective learning experiences. Students will also reflect on their experiences to identify their strengths and what brings them joy, to imagine the special expertise they'd like to develop, and to identify the kinds of responsibilities they'd enjoy taking on in the workplace.


Introduction to Learning Engineering 

This course introduces the content and skills needed to thrive as systematic designers of learning experiences, environments, and technologies. It focuses on three themes: (i) how people learn--cognitive processes involved in learning and social, cultural, physical, affective, and other influences on those processes; (ii) how to fostering or promote learning--what we know about the help learners need to engage and participate at their best and ultimately to become more knowledgeable and capable; and (iii) designing for learners and analyzing those designs--how to apply what you are learning to the design and analysis of learning experiences, environments, and technologies.


Principles of Fostering Learning 

This course will introduce students to what the field of psychology has to say about how humans learn. This includes examining the basic cognitive processes involved in learning, and considering how these processes interact with task demands and organization. The course is organized around key principles about learning and cognition which have emerged from empirical work in the fields of cognitive and developmental psychology. Its focus will be to identify practices that can be used to foster learning in different settings and interactions, including approaches such as spaced practice and group discussions.


Learning Technology Modules

Course Course Title Credit

Games for Learning 

What can we learn from games about engaging learners and fostering learning? How can games be developed specifically to promote learning? What kinds of things can be learned from games? What does it take to foster learning from games? Some educational games that have been designed in research labs can inform about the answers to these questions. As well, there are many computer games around that can teach us about sustaining engagement, particularly important for understanding deeply and mastering capabilities. In this module, students will engage with and read about a variety of games for learning and, hopefully, develop imagination about what different kinds of games and ways of interacting with games afford with respect to learning and come to recognize aspects of game design that are relevant to designing learning experiences. Your project will be the conceptual design of a game to achieve a set of learning goals of your choice.


Modeling and Simulation for Learning 

Simulations and computational modeling are popular educational activities that can serve as venues for engaging learners in observations and explorations of invisible processes and phenomena, collecting data and evidence, and constructing and iteratively understanding of mechanisms and processes. This module will engage students in exploring interesting questions such as "What are simulation activities good for?", "What about modeling activities?", "What are the affordances of each and when should each be used?", "What makes some simulations better for some situations and learner groups than others?", and "How can you design modeling/simulations to support desirable interactions?".


Accessible and Inclusive Design 

This survey course focuses on practical considerations regarding inclusive and accessible design. The focus is around guiding principles and key content that learners and designers can apply to their particular area of design. Particular focus is paid to understanding the functional barriers that individuals with disabilities might encounter, how these barriers can be addressed proactively, and why retrofitting designs can be costly and ineffective. After a general introduction to some of the guiding ideas behind inclusion and accessibility, both Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and accessibility are discussed to provide practical paths towards design that is ultimately more effective for all learners.


Population of Learners Courses

Course Course Title Credit

Applied Child Development 

This course will help teachers understand principles of learning and cognitive, linguistic, social, and affective development as they apply to classroom practices. Students will focus on the acquisition of strategies that enable them to assess and understand how they and the children they work with are constructors of meaning. This course is designed for individuals beginning their professional development in education who plan to work with children.


Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education 

Focuses on learning (including behavioral, cognitive, and information processing approaches), motivation, and social development, while incorporating the role of play in the learning and development of the young child. Examines individual differences and the effects of special needs on learning and development, as well as program implications.


Applied Adolescent Development

This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the theoretical and empirical knowledge base concerning adolescent development. In particular, four broad areas will be considered: (1) psychological, biological, and cognitive transitions; (2) central developmental tasks of adolescence; (3) primary contextual influences; and (4) prevalent types of problematic functioning that emerge during adolescence. The overarching goals of the course are to provide a solid and broad understanding of how and why adolescents develop in the manner they do, and to extend this developmental understanding into research, application, and practice.


Positive Youth Development  

Applied Developmental Science (ADS) uses research about human development to inform programs and policies pertinent to topics of social importance. Students will integrate readings about and class discussions of ADS theory and research with information about community-based programs. The focus of this class will be a discussion and analysis of the role of developmental research and, in particular from longitudinal research (for example, the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development), in framing applications (programs and policies) for promoting positive development among youth. In addition to an overview of the theoretical models that are the bases of the PYD perspective, the course will present the work of researchers who have conducted applied developmental studies of adolescents and their ecological settings in order to advance understanding of how individuals and context are involved across the adolescent years in providing a basis for both healthy and problematic development.


Issues in Life Span Development

This course addresses the major psychological and socio-cultural issues in development from childhood through adulthood. The theory, research, and practice in the field of life span development are examined and evaluated.


Career Development

Provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the theoretical and practice aspects of career development and the psychology of working. Students learn existing theories and related research pertaining to the vocational behavior of individuals across the life span. Through readings, case discussions, and lectures, students learn how to construct effective, ethical, and humane means of helping people to develop their work lives to their fullest potential.


Human Development & Disabilities 

This course addresses the reciprocal relationship between human development and disability. Prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal causes of disability will be presented. Students will learn about theoretical perspectives, research, and current disagreements related to causes, identification, and treatment of disabilities. Prevention and intervention strategies will be presented for each disability. The application of assistive technology will be covered across disabilities.


Augmentative Communication for Persons with Disabilities

This course focuses upon the communication problems of persons who are developmentally disabled, physically challenged, hearing impaired, and deaf-blind. Students learn strategies for enhancing communication and learn how to develop and implement a variety of augmentative communication systems.


Developmental Disabilities: Values, Policy & Change

This course focuses on issues facing professionals who work with people with developmental disabilities, their families, and the system whereby services are offered. It is designed for graduate and post-graduate students interested in learning about interdisciplinary evaluation and teams, in understanding disabilities from the person's and family's perspective, and in acquiring knowledge about the services available in the community. This course will be held at Children's Hospital.


Multicultural Issues 

Assists students to become more effective in their work with ethnic minority and LGBT clients. Increases students' awareness of their own and others' life experiences, and how these impact the way in which we approach interactions with individuals who are different from us. Examines the sociopolitical conditions that impact individuals from ethnic and non-ethnic minority groups in the U.S., and presents an overview of relevant research.


Bilingualism, Second Language, & Literacy Development

Explores first and second language and literacy development of children raised bilingually as well as students acquiring a second language during pre-school, elementary, or secondary school years. Also addresses theories of first and second language acquisition, literacy development in the second language, and factors affecting second language and literacy learning. Participants will assess the development of one aspect of language or language skill of a bilingual individual and draw implications for instruction, parent involvement, and policy.


Assessment, Research, & Evaluation Courses

Course Course Title Credit

Assessment and Test Construction 

This course addresses the major issues of educational assessment, with emphasis on the characteristics, administration, scoring, and interpretation of both formal and informal assessments, including but not limited to tests of achievement. All forms of assessment are examined including observation, portfolios, performance tasks, and paper-and-pencil tests, including standardized tests. Basic techniques of test construction, item writing, and analysis are included. Standardized norm-referenced tests and statewide testing programs are also examined.


Interpretation and Evaluation of Research

This course will improve a students' understanding of the empirical research literature in education and psychology. It concentrates on developing the conceptual foundations of empirical research and the practical analytic skills needed by a competent reader and user of research articles. Topics address purpose statements, hypotheses, sampling techniques, sample sizes and power, instrument development, internal and external validity, and typical quantitative research designs. Exercises emphasize the critical evaluation of published research. 


Evaluation Practice and Methods

This course introduces the process of conducting evaluations from beginning to end. Evaluation is a form of applied social science research focused on systematically assessing the value--merit, worth, or significance--of interventions. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to evaluation, this course draws on scholarly articles and examples from multiple fields including education, public health, social services, and international development and addressing evaluation at various scales including program, organizational, and systems-level evaluations. By the end of the course, students will gain knowledge of how to carry out evaluations; apply this knowledge to develop evaluation plans for real-world interventions; and gain skills to critique existing evaluations supporting their development as informed, critical consumers of evaluations.


Management & Marketing Courses

Course Course Title Credit

Financial Management

This course deals primarily with a firm's investment and financing decisions. Topics treated intensively include valuation and risk, capital budgeting, financial leverage, capital structure, and working capital management. Also discussed are financial statistical analysis and tools of planning and control. Some attention is given to financial institutions and their role in supplying funds to businesses and non-profit organizations.


Introduction to Strategic Management

The course is designed to provide you with a general understanding of how firms formulate and implement strategies to create competitive advantage. Relying exclusively on the case method, it will expose you to some basic strategy concepts, which will lay the foundation for the strategic management core course that you will take later on. The cases chosen for this course will place you in a diversity of managerial situations--large multinational firms and small startups, manufacturing and service industries, growing and mature organizations, U.S. and non-U.S. settings.


Managing People and Organizations

This course focuses on the analysis and diagnosis of organizational problems. It attempts to enable students to apply these concepts to real organizational and managerial problems. It also provides opportunities for participation in ongoing work teams while learning about team effectiveness. Finally, students can examine their own behavior and beliefs about organizations to compare, contrast, and integrate them with the theories and observations of others.


Nonprofit Management

This course provides an opportunity to explore essential management issues in a nonprofit context alongside topics that are somewhat unique to the nonprofit sector, including distinctive funding methods, governance, and staffing structures. Topical areas include Social Entrepreneurship, Venture Philanthropy, Leadership, Strategic Planning, Performance Measurement, Cause Marketing, and Microfinance. In addition to case and article discussion, the course features local, national, and international nonprofit leaders as guest speakers. The course aims to provide future nonprofit managers, volunteers, board members, donors, or supporters with a more nuanced understanding of critical issues and important trends in the nonprofit sector.



This course focuses on the managerial skills, tools, and concepts required to produce a mutually satisfying exchange between consumers and providers of goods, services, and ideas. The material is presented in a three-part sequence. Part one deals with understanding the marketplace. Part two deals with the individual parts of the marketing program such as pricing, promotion, product decisions, and distribution. Part three of the course deals with overall strategy formulation and control of the marketing function. Students in this course will come to understand the critical links between marketing and the other functional areas of management.



Financial Aid

Education should level the playing field. We feel the same way about financial aid.

The Lynch School of Education and Human Development provides more than $8.4 million in financial aid to students each year. As a result, the quality of BC’s instruction, the benefit of our alumni network, and the impact a BC degree will have on your employment options is both affordable and invaluable. 



  • Schools, districts, colleges, and universities
  • Museums, zoos, aquariums, and national parks
  • Businesses ranging from startups to large corporations
  • Nonprofits and foundations
  • Social service and community agencies

Job Responsibilities

  • Designing the next generation of educational technology
  • Developing online, hybrid, makerspace, and active-learning environments
  • Constructing technology-enhanced curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment
  • Creating employee training and consumer education programs


  • Learning Engineers
  • Learning Experience (LX) and User Experience (UX) Designers
  • Instructional Designers and Evaluators
  • Curriculum Developers
  • Educational Technology Consultants





Application & Deadlines

Apply Now


  • Regular Decision — 1/6
  • Rolling Admission — Until 7/15
  • Intl. Applicants — Until 7/1
  • Resume

    To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

    In addition to your academic history and relevant work experience, please include any licenses currently held, any social justice-related experience, any language skills other than English, and any research experience or publications.

    Personal Statement

    To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

    In 1,000-1,500 words, describe your academic and professional goals, any experience relevant to this program, and your future plans, expectations, and aspirations.

    Letters of Recommendation

    Identification of recommenders/instructions to recommenders are outlined in the online Application Form.

    Two letters of recommendation are required with at least one required from an academic source. Applicants may submit one additional recommendation of their choice. 


    Unofficial transcripts will be accepted in lieu of official transcripts for the application review process. In the event that one is admitted into a program and enrolls, our office will need official transcripts prior to course registration. To expedite application processing times, our office encourages you to send unofficial transcripts electronically to our email address at GSOE@BC.EDU. Please note that unofficial transcripts must include all of the following items:

    • Course titles and grades for each course
    • Year and entry term for each of the courses listed
    • Translated into English by certified translation agent (if not already in English)
      • Original and translated transcripts must be provided

    If you are able to secure official transcripts, please note the following:

    • An official postsecondary transcript must be printed on official institutional paper and include at least one of the following: an institutional watermark, the registrar’s signature, or the registrar's seal.
    • Copies and unofficial transcripts sent directly from applicants are not acceptable, the transcript must come directly from the institution.
    • If you are a current student and have not completed your undergraduate and/or graduate degree, the most updated version of your transcript is acceptable.

    Official electronic transcripts are accepted when sent directly to from the institution. When requesting electronic transcripts, you must manually type in to ensure it is received by our office. 

    Mailed transcript(s) should be sent to the following address:

    Lynch Office of Graduate Admissions, Boston College
    Campion Hall 135
    140 Commonwealth Avenue
    Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

    Standardized Tests

    Submitting GRE test scores is optional and not required for 2022 entry term(s). If you wish to send GRE scores, the Lynch School GRE code is 3218.

    Writing Sample

    Not required.

    International Students

    International applicants are encouraged to apply to the Lynch School of Education and Human Development.

    Requirements for International Students



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