Instructional Design and Technology (IDT): Ph.D. Program

Dr. Janet Zydney instructs an IDT Course

About the Program

The University of Cincinnati graduate program in Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) offers a Doctoral Program in Educational Studies with a concentration in IDT. The objective of this concentration is to prepare researchers and practitioners for leadership roles in the design, evaluation, and use of media and technology for education. Put simply, IDT professionals are experts in using media and technology to help people learn.

IDT students learn how to design and research instructional technology for a variety of content areas, learners, and settings. For example, graduates of the IDT concentration could apply the knowledge and skills gained in the Ph.D. program in settings such as higher education institutions, corporate training centers, health institutions, museums, non-profit research organizations, and educational media production companies. Within these work environments, graduates may work as administrators, directors, faculty members, researchers, designers, or evaluators.

The central focus of this concentration is the study of underlying learning theories and their implications for the design and application of educational media and new technologies. Students study what is known about how people learn in order to more effectively design and assess technology-rich learning environments. Students in the program learn from experts in the field and also have the option to complete  an internship  wherein they conduct research or assessment within a real-world setting. Students are prepared to conduct research and development with a variety of new media and technology to support learning such as social media, gaming and simulations, interactive videos, and other computer tools.

This area of concentration provides opportunities for graduate students to specialize in the study of research methodologies, theories, and issues surrounding the use of instructional technology. This is accomplished through the delivery of relevant coursework and carefully guided dissertation study. A distinguishing feature of the program includes research apprenticeships with faculty who have Graduate Faculty Status in the School of Education. Through faculty mentoring, students author and/or co-author publications and presentations at national and international conferences.

About IDT

IDT is a quickly growing field with an immediate need for highly trained graduates, largely fueled by the significant increase in online learning. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), occupations related to IDT will have a faster than average growth with a projected growth rate of 11 to 15% between 2012-2022.  UC’s IDT program prepares students to meet this demand by offering an interdisciplinary program drawing from the fields of cognitive science, education, design, information technology, and computer science.  The IDT program furthers learners’ skills in design, evaluation, and the use of media and technology for education and training. Graduates of the IDT program are able to work in a variety of professional contexts and to build value in and improve upon learners’ experiences.


A Master’s degree is required in IDT or closely related areas from an accredited college or university. Students with Master’s degrees in unrelated areas, but with clear evidence of experiences and/or credentials appropriate to the degree and the IDT area of concentration may be accepted. To fulfill the requirements of the IDT Ph.D. degree, students complete a minimum of 90 semester credit hours of graduate study. Students may transfer up to 30 graduate credit hours for comparable courses with a B grade or above if those courses were completed within 5 years prior to admission, excluding core coursework. Transfer credits must adhere to Graduate School policy and are subject to approval by the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee. For more details, visit the Educational Studies Ph.D. website.

Funding Opportunities


Scholarships in the form of Graduate Incentive Scholarship Awards (GIA) are available to incoming and returning students based on merit. If awarded, students can use GIA funding to cover part of their tuition. Application forms for GIA support scholarships will be sent to students after they have been officially accepted into a program. GIA funding is an annual award. A new application must be submitted each year.

For more information regarding GIA scholarships, please contact Jillian Altus at






Did You Know?

The UC IDT program has a 100% job placement rate among graduates.

Graduate Assistantship

A Graduate Assistantship (GA) is a work appointment for a full-time graduate student that includes a living stipend and full tuition remission (fees are not covered). Most GA appointments are for a period of one academic year (nine months) beginning Fall Semester and terminating with the fulfillment of normal academic responsibilities for the Spring Semester. Application forms for GIA support scholarships will be sent to students after they have been officially accepted into a program.  Students must reapply for GA positions annually.  

Program Objectives

  • Apply learning theories and sound pedagogical practices to the instructional design and development process.
  • Apply a systematic process to design instructional strategies that meet identified learning contexts and needs.
  • Create authentic, technology-mediated learning experiences.
  • Evaluate learning technologies and strategies using a variety of methods.
  • Analyze current research and emerging trends in the area of learning technologies.
  • Demonstrate mastery of contemporary learning technologies.
  • Explain the instructional delivery continuum, including associated strengths and affordances.
  • Practice with different research tools for analyzing different forms of data collected through design-based research as well as other research methods.

Contact Us

For more information on the program, please contact:

Dr. Kay Seo
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210022
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0022

Additional Information

Learn more about the IDT program.

Learn more about the IDT application.