If you’re hoping to get started in educational technology with just a bachelor’s degree, unfortunately, options are limited. Very few colleges or universities offer degrees in educational or instructional technology at the undergraduate level. If this is the direction you’d like to go, you’ll likely need to start with a bachelor’s degree in an education- or training-related field.
Once you’re ready to think about your master’s degree, check out our rankings for the Best Master’s in Educational Technology Degrees and Best Online Master’s in Educational Technology Degrees.
So what degrees can you earn in ed tech? To put it simply, there are two distinct types of programs at the master’s level, and two distinct types of programs at the doctoral level.
The first type of master’s degree is a Master of Education in a field such as Instructional Technology or Educational Technology. In one of these programs, you’ll find coursework that focuses on K-12 education. Most of these programs require three or six credit hours towards a culminating project. This might be a written thesis or a more tangible capstone experience.
The curriculum for a Master of Education in Instructional Technology typically includes courses such as:
- Theories of Learning and Motivation
- Media Selection and Evaluation
- Assessment and Evaluation Strategies
- Developmental Psychology
The second type of master’s degree is a Master of Science or a Master of Arts in Learning Design and Technology or a similar field. While M.Ed. programs are designed for K-12 educators, M.S. or M.A. degrees are applicable to a broader range of training and development contexts. Like M.Ed. degrees, these programs typically have a three- or six-hour requirement for a capstone or thesis.
Essential coursework for an M.A. or M.S. in Learning Design and Technology might include classes like:
- Managing Instructional Development
- Development of Instructional Technology
- Multimedia Design
- Change in Instructional Development Processes
At the doctoral level, there are two more diverging choices. You may choose to pursue a Ph.D. in Educational Technology. Degrees of this type are also commonly listed as a Ph.D. in Learning and Communication. Most often, these programs have a heavy focus on the dissertation requirement, often expecting 30 or 36 credit hours dedicated to original research. A Ph.D. program is ideal for researchers who plan to embark on a career in academia.
Core curriculum for a Ph.D. in an ed tech field might include:
- Cognitive Sciences
- Learning Sciences
- Research and Practice in Instructional Technology
The other option for an educational technology degree at the doctorate level is a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Instructional Technology. Ed.D. degree programs are more common and sometimes less selective than Ph.D. degree programs. While Ph.D. programs tend to focus on research, an Ed.D. is typically a better choice for practicing ed tech professionals. Nonetheless, these degrees still generally require a research-intensive dissertation.
A Doctor of Education degree in Instructional Technology will often require courses such as:
- Emerging Trends in Educational Technology
- Global and Cultural Perspectives in Educational Technology
- Leadership in Educational Technology
- Project Management in Educational Settings