Programs and Degrees

Instructional Design and Technology

What is Instructional Design and Technology?

Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) is a rapidly growing field with an increasing need for highly trained graduates who can design, implement, and evaluate multimedia instructional materials in a variety of rewarding professional arenas. 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. Through participation in the UC IDT graduate program, students will receive state-of-the art training necessary to enter this expanding field.

The IDT MEd oncampus program with a specialization in design and development will prepare students to create and research instructional technologies in a variety of content areas, learning types, and learning contexts. Students enrolled in the program complete professional field experiences that provide them with the opportunity to actively apply what they are learning and conduct research and assessments within real-world settings. They also work with a variety of new media and technologies, such as mobile apps, gaming and simulations, interactive video, and other industry-standard eLearning tools.

Upon graduation, IDT students with a specialization in design and development are able to leverage their expertise in current and emerging technologies to design effective, innovative learning and training solutions that help solve instructional problems across a variety of professional contexts including: educational media production companies, corporate training centers, health institutions, museums, publishing companies, classrooms, the military, and non-profit research organizations. Students may find themselves doing anything from developing video games for college-level online classrooms or developing interactive multimedia training for new hires in a large corporation.

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Students from a variety of backgrounds can thrive in IDT. Students in IDT are generally inquisitive, creative people with a propensity toward problem solving. They can successfully apply learning theory and thrive both when working independently as well as collaboratively with others. They have an eye toward continuous improvement of their learning designs and are keen at giving and receiving feedback. A willingness to learn new technology and openness to new and innovative ideas are also key traits of successful IDT professionals.

Career Possibilities

Students in the design and development specialization of IDT may have careers as:

  • Online learning content developers
  • Educational game designers
  • Mobile app designers
  • Instructional designers

Majoring in Instructional Design and Technology

Students complete a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of graduate study, which can be completed over 1 academic year for full-time students or over a longer period of time for students who wish to attend part-time. Classes are offered in a variety of formats (face-to-face, blended, and fully online), providing a blend of online and on-campus experiences. A teaching background is not a prerequisite for the program. This degree does not lead to a teaching license.

The curriculum includes 9 hours of core courses, 3 hours of electives, 15 hours of specialization requirements, and 3 hours of capstone experience. The core courses provide students with the foundation of instructional design, the learning sciences, and basic research skills needed for the field. These core courses emphasize the theoretical basis of Instructional and learning design. The electives are courses that provide the student with interdisciplinary knowledge and experience. The design and development specialization courses focus on instructional design for a wide range of technologies, such as multimedia, games, and mobile learning. Students are required to take a professional field experience to apply what they have learned to a real-world setting. For the capstone experience, students complete a project that builds upon their specialization track.

At the end of the program, the student will be able to:

  • 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.
  • Create an educational game prototype using instructional design principles.
  • Create instructional plans for mobile learning using instructional design principles.
  • Develop multimedia products using multimedia design principles.
  • Design blended and fully online learning environments based on theory and best practices.
  • Integrate theory and practice through field experiences.


All incoming Master’s students will be assigned an academic advisor who is a tenure-track faculty member. These advisors will mentor students on their plans of study. Students also receive mentorship throughout their internship experience from both the full-time faculty member coordinating the course as well as from their field supervisor in their placement. Past field supervisors have included leaders in the field of faculty training and development, corporate training, and classroom technology integration and management.

In addition to formal mentorship, students will build community through events such as the annual student showcase, which gives students the opportunity to demonstrate the projects and research that they have completed during the program and network with each other, alumni, professors from outside the IDT program, and others in the community. 

Special Programs

The goal of the IDT MEd at the University of Cincinnati is to ready students to compete in a dynamic, growing field that demands talented, well-informed professionals. Our curriculum is especially designed to meet this growing demand. Students learn from award winning faculty in state-of-the art facilities with access to cutting edge technologies, labs, apps, and software. 

With the advantage of being one of the few schools situated in a large, metropolitan city, our program is distinguished by its urban location. This location provides our students with advantageous experiential learning opportunities, such as working in urban education, corporate, and healthcare organizations, allowing them to gain firsthand experiences in the challenges of working in these different settings. As Cincinnati is home to many large companies and technology focused startups, a plethora of internship opportunities are also available to the student body. Finally, students get to learn from leaders in the field of instructional design and technology.

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 on GIA scholarships, please see the Graduate School website

Admission Requirements

The application materials will consist of the following:

  • Video Essay. The video essay is optional and should be informal. It is a great way to let the committee know a little bit about you and to personalize your application.
  • Statement of the applicant's academic and professional goals. For your goal statement, please answer the following questions and upload it as an attached document in the online application. Your response should be no more than one page in length.
    • What are your professional goals? How will the program help you meet these goals?
    • Describe your technology skills, e.g., skills in computer-based multimedia, web, or productivity tools, video, etc. You may wish to include a link to a sample technology project to demonstrate your proficiency in the use of technologies.
  • Writing sample. Discuss your position on an issue in the field of instructional technology and how you hope to address that issue during your studies. Your essays should be between 750 and 1000 words and have at least three references.
  • Resume
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • If you are applying before Fall 2018: At least two letters of reference (preferably with at least one from an academic reference).
  • If you are applying for Fall 2018, at least one letter of reference (preferably academic).

Note: The purpose of the reference letters is to give the committee an additional data point to assess your academic and professional background. Hence, it is highly recommended to include both an academic and professional reference as part of your application. Applicants do not upload the recommendation letters.  A note is sent directly to the recommenders from the application system.  It is advisable to ask more recommenders than required because applications that do not include the required number of reference letters cannot be reviewed by the committee.

  • Applicant must hold a baccalaureate degree from a college or university regarded as standard by a regional or general accrediting agency
  • Applicant must have at least a B average (3.0/4.0 system or equivalent) in relevant undergraduate coursework or otherwise give evidence of promise that is judged satisfactory by the admitting program and the Graduate School.

Note: Candidates who graduated from a non-accredited college or university or who do not meet the minimum grade point averages requirement for admission will need a waiver from the graduate school. The decision of whether that waiver is accepted is made by the graduate school. In order for the program to request a waiver, the candidate must provide evidence that address mastery of the knowledge prerequisite to the courses required by the program, acceptable writing skills, the ability to engage in critical thinking, and a personal commitment to completing the program. The evidence must convincingly demonstrate the candidate's potential for success in graduate level work.

Candidates who are not accepted for admission into a Master’s Degree program may not apply to the same program for at least one academic year. During that period, such applicants may be encouraged by the program to enroll in appropriate course work to develop the knowledge, skills, and values deemed necessary for admission into the program, or to demonstrate that the applicant already possesses such qualifications. Whether such coursework may apply to the degree program is left to the discretion of the program. Completion of this course work does not guarantee admission into the program.

Admission decisions may not be made on the basis of race, age, sex, color, religion, sexual orientation or handicap.

Application Deadline and Procedures

Prospective students will complete the online application.  After logging in and/or creating a user account, select “Instructional Design and Technology, Master of Education” program by the application deadline posted below.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all required materials and support documents are successfully submitted.  Incomplete applications will not be processed or reviewed. 


Application Deadline

Notification By


March 1

April 1


November 1

December 1


March 1

April 1



Providing academic records during the application process: 

All applicants are required to upload their unofficial transcripts during the application process. The university defines “unofficial” transcripts as transcripts that have been in the hands of students, are typically printed on plain paper, and do not have a college seal or registrar's signature. Applicants should NOT send official transcripts as part of the application process.

Providing academic records after admission:

Once an applicant has been extended an offer of admission to the University of Cincinnati and has accepted the offer, s/he must submit an official transcript showing conferral of a baccalaureate degree or higher as soon as possible to the address below. The university defines “official” transcripts as transcripts that have been received from a secure, authenticated issuing institution and bears validation (e.g., a seal, logo, or watermark), including a date, and an appropriate signature. Official transcripts MUST be sent forward in their original, sealed envelope. The absolute final deadline for submission of official transcripts is one week before the start of the student’s first semester. Students will NOT be allowed to complete a full semester without providing verification of an earned baccalaureate degree or higher. Any discrepancy later found between student-provided unofficial transcripts and official transcripts will be grounds for dismissal.

Official Transcripts should be sent to one of the following addresses:

Regular U.S. postal mail:              

Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
110 Van Wormer Hall
P.O. Box 210627
2614 McMicken Circle
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627        

Delivery via parcel delivery service (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.):

Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
2614 McMicken Circle
110 Van Wormer Hall
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627


Electronic transcripts may be sent to

UC Alumni:

Students who have received degrees from the University of Cincinnati do not need to submit official paper copies of their UC transcripts.

Unofficial transcripts for students with degrees received in China:

Applicants who have received degrees in China will upload their unofficial transcripts during the application process. The university defines “unofficial” transcripts as transcripts that have been in the hands of students, are typically printed on plain paper, and do not have a college seal or registrar's signature. Unofficial transcripts do NOT need to be verified at this stage of the application process.

Verification reports for students from China after being accepted to join a graduate program:

Applicants who have earned a degree in China must submit an English-version verification report from the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) of their final transcripts and degree certificates.  All verification reports must be sent to the University of Cincinnati directly by the CDGDC to be considered official. No other verification will be accepted. Applicants with Chinese transcripts must contact the CDGDC after their degree is completed and request that their degree verification report be submitted directly to the University of Cincinnati. Students who request a verification report prior to degree conferral will be required to submit a second report after conferral.

Verification reports can be ordered at the following websites:



Verification reports are due to the Graduate School one week prior to the start of the student’s first semester. Failure to submit verification reports on time will result in a student being placed in non-matriculated status and loss of his/her student visa status. Verification reports should be sent to the following address:


Regular U.S. postal mail:          

Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
110 Van Wormer Hall
P.O. Box 210627
2614 McMicken Circle
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627      

Delivery via parcel delivery service (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.):

Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
2614 McMicken Circle
110 Van Wormer Hall
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627

Changing Majors within UC Requirements

All transfer credits must adhere to Graduate School policy and are subject to approval. Courses must have (1) been completed within 5 years of admission, (2) received a B grade or above, and (3) be comparable to course work in the IDT program.

  • For students wishing to transfer graduate credit earned as a non-matriculated student, a maximum of 12 credit hours may be applied toward the degree.
  • For students wishing to transfer graduate credit from a graduate certificate or a Master’s degree program that hasn’t been completed, a maximum of 50% of the total credit hours required (or 15 credit hours) may be applied toward the degree.
  • For students wishing to transfer graduate credit from a completed Master’s degree, you should contact an advisor in the program to determine whether the graduate credit will be accepted.

International Student Requirements

International student applicants are required to provide specific information about their transcripts or degree programs to facilitate the applicant review process, including transcript translation and evaluation by a recognized translation/evaluation agency. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or successful completion of ELS Level 112, is required of all applicants whose native language is not English. Expectations for TOEFL scores are a minimum of 520 (paper test), 190 (computer-based test), or 80 (internet-based test); a minimum score on the Test of Written English (TWE) of 4.5; and a minimum score of 50 on the Test of Spoken English. The TOEFL must have been taken within the two-year period preceding admission. The University of Cincinnati maintains an International Student Services Office (ISSO), which serves international students attending the University. For questions regarding international student information, contact the International Student Services Office at (513)556-4278

Graduation Requirements

Before a candidate can graduate, he or she must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be registered for at least one credit in their program in the academic year, after having met minimum degree course requirements to be considered a graduate candidate throughout the academic year.
  2. Have all NG, N, I, UP, SP and F grades removed for degree courses.
  3. Posting of satisfactory grades for the semester of graduation.
  4. Obtain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA
  5. Satisfactory completion of all applicable College and program requirements as provided by the major advisor filling out the Checklist for Completion of College/Department requirements for Graduation and sending it to the Graduate School.
  6. Successful defense of a Master’s project


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Quick Facts

Master of Education Degree in Instructional Design and Technology

Full-Time Program Duration

2 Years


Uptown Campus West


PO Box 210014
Cincinnati, OH 45221
Phone: (513) 556-6308
Office of Recruitment