Programs and Degrees

Instructional Design and Technology : Online

What is Instructional Design and Technology : Online?

The University of Cincinnati offers an online graduate program in Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) with a concentration in teaching in blended and online environments. IDT is a quickly growing field with an immediate need for highly trained graduates. The increase in need for professionals in the IDT field is largely fueled by the significant increase in online learning. The 2016 Babson Survey of Online Learning found that more than one quarter of students were taking at least one online course. With this increasing trend in online and blended learning in educational institutions and corporate training, the ability to create, manage and facilitate online learning is vital for educators in every field.

UC’s online IDT MEd 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 work in museums, publishing companies, educational institutions, corporate training centers, health institutions, non-profit research organizations, and educational media production companies.

The IDT online program with a specialization in teaching in blended and online environments leverages pedagogy, theory, instructional design, and user experience in order to prepare educators to develop and facilitate learning using online and digital tools. Blended and online learning and teaching are modern, technology-mediated learning modes that require specific skill sets, combining facilitation, collaboration, management, learning design, and assessment. Teaching and facilitating courses in such environments requires understanding of the nature of online and blended learning experiences, how they differ from traditional classrooms, and how to overcome the challenges and leverage the benefits.

Students will learn to facilitate effective learning in online and blended learning environments, create strategies for assessment and accessibility, obtain mastery of contemporary learning technologies, and develop skills to be lifelong learners. Led by educators with proven success in the field, students will examine current and projected trends, experience authentic online classrooms, and complete hands-on practice with eLearning tools. By completing project-based assignments, students will develop the skills needed to design, manage, and lead their online and blended classrooms. For more information, click here.

Instructors successful in the online and blended environment understand the challenges and benefits of developing, delivering and managing online and blended learning. They can successfully apply learning theory and sound pedagogical practices to the online environment and are focused on student success and delivering engaging, collaborative, active learning experiences. Educators in this field need to be able to collaborate with and accept feedback from colleagues in the field with the goal of continuous improvement of their courses. Willingness to learn new technology and openness to new and innovative ideas are also key traits of successful professionals in this field. Successful online educators should have a passion for creating e-learning opportunities learners can universally access and value and support a diverse group of learners.

Career Possibilities

Students in the teaching specialization of IDT may have careers as:

  • Online instructors
  • Corporate online trainers
  • Teachers of e-learning
  • Online learning content developers
  • Technology professional development coordinators
  • E-learning consultants
  • Educational technology specialists
  • E-learning managers

Majoring in Instructional Design and Technology : Online

The curriculum consists of 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 fully online format. Students have the option to apply directly to the online Master’s program or apply to the 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Blended Online Learning and Teaching and then later apply to the Master’s, and transfer those graduate certificate credits into the Master’s program, if admitted. 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. Students can also take a professional field experience as an option for an elective. The teaching specialization focuses on facilitating learning in blended and online environments, creating technology-based assessments, gaining strategies for building in accessibility and differentiation, and learning new technology tools. 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.
  • Develop strategies to encourage active learning, application, interaction, participation, and collaboration in online and blended environments.
  • Facilitate effective learning in online and blended learning environments.
  • Demonstrate mastery of contemporary learning technologies.
  • Explain the instructional delivery continuum, including associated strengths and affordances.
  • Remain cognizant of the diversity of student academic needs and make appropriate accommodations.
  • Provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards.


All incoming Master’s students will be assigned an academic advisor who is a tenure-track faculty member. Students will be mentored by their advisor on their plans of study. 

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

Our program is applicable to a wide range of educational environments including public, non-profit, higher education, and corporate training. Professors are leaders in the field, and course materials and activities incorporate the overarching methodology and latest trends in online teaching and learning. Students will experience online learning firsthand and practice the skills needed to succeed in the online teaching and learning in every stage of their coursework.

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, Distance Learning, 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.


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 : Online

Full-Time Program Duration

2 Years


Uptown Campus West


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