Doctoral Program Requirements

The PhD program in Instructional Psychology and Technology prepares students to assume positions of leadership in instructional design and evaluation. Graduates may take positions as faculty at other colleges and universities, administer or direct other instructional designers in private or public institutions, or work as individual consultants.

The program requires three hours of prerequisite credit; 15 hours of skills credit (up to 31 hours of skills credit for second language acquisition emphasis); 16 hours of core credit; two hours of seminar credit; a minimum of six hours of internship credit; six hours of project credit; 24 hours of specialization credit as approved by the student’s advisory committee; and 18 hours of dissertation credit, for a total of at least 87 hours, not including prerequisite credits.Students may specialize in instructional design, research and evaluation, or second language acquisition.

  1. Entrance Requirements

    Acceptable undergraduate GPA; Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Score—verbal, quantitative, and writing proficiency; three letters of recommendation; and letter of intent. Note: The GRE must be taken far enough in advance in order for the scores to reach the university by the admission deadlines. Students specializing in second language acquisition must have advanced proficiency (as defined by the graduate committee of the language department in question) in their language of focus.

  2. Entry Times

    Fall semester and summer term entry.

  3. Application Deadlines

    The application for admission deadline is January 2 for both US and international students.


The Instructional Psychology and Technology doctoral program is designed for full-time study. All PhD students will be required to complete at least 15 credit hours each year to remain enrolled in the program. PhD students should also make themselves aware of the department enrollment and progress policy (see Department Enrollment and Progress Policies below) and admission requirements.

Prerequisite Requirements

A high level of writing proficiency is required throughout the PhD program.A technical writing course or demonstrated competence is required as a prerequisite.One of the following courses is recommended:

  • IP&T 510 Academic Writing and Argumentation (3) or
  • ENGL 316 Technical Communication (3)

Foreign language and Skill Requirement

There are two options for completing this requirement:

  • Language acquisition specialization: an equivalent of at least 15 hours of statistics and computer science, and at least intermediate proficiency (demonstrated by test or by coursework completed through the 202 level) in two second foreign languages. This means that students must have two languages in addition to English in order to complete this specialization.
  • All other specializations: an equivalent of at least 15 hours in statistics and computer science.

It is recommended that the statistics and computer science courses be selected from the following:

Required Skills Courses

Number Course Title Credit Hours
IP&T 651

Statistics 1 Foundations


IP&T 653

Qualitative Research 1


Research Method Skills

Number Course Title Credit Hours

IP&T 692R

Survey Research


IP&T 745

Statistics 2: Multiple Regression


IP&T 747

Structural Equation Modeling


IP&T 752

Measurement Theory


IP&T 753

Qualitative Research 2


IP&T 754

Item Response Theory


IP&T 761

Advanced Evaluation in Education


IP&T 763

Hierarchical Linear Modeling


Technical Skills

Number Course Title Credit Hours
IP&T 560 Instructional Product Development 3
IP&T 654 Computers in Ed. Measurement 3
IP&T 655 Digital Interface Design 2
IP&T 665 Inst. Visual/Video 4
IP&T 760 Advanced E-Learning Programming 3

Other courses, as approved by advisory committee to meet the requirements specified above.

Foreign language, skill, or prerequisite courses may be taken before or after admission to the PhD program.However, if the courses are taken after admission to the program, they should be completed during the first year.

Core Requirements

All PhD students, regardless of area of specialization, should receive broad training in Instructional Psychology and Technology.Breadth of training allows students to approach problems from several perspectives and increases their overall employability.In order to obtain this broad preparation it is strongly recommended that all students take the following core courses:

Number Course Title Credit Hours

IP&T 520

Foundations of Instructional Technology


IP&T 564

Instructional Design


IP&T 620

Learning Theory


IP&T 629

Introduction to Research


IP&T 652

Assessing Learning Outcomes


IP&T 661

Intro to Evaluation in Education


Substitutions may be made for any of the courses listed above upon written justification and approval of the advisory committee.

Department Seminar

The department holds a seminar each week during the fall and winter semesters on Wednesday 12:00 noon–1:00 p.m. All students and faculty in the department are expected to attend this seminar. Students may receive 0.5 hours of credit for participating in 80 percent of the seminar sessions during a given semester by enrolling in IP&T 690R.Two hours of seminar credit (four semesters) are required for PhD students.


The internship is a practicum under the supervision of a faculty member.The student performs work on a professional level for a client who may or may not be within the university community.The internship may or may not involve remuneration.

Students may register for one to three hours of IP&T 599R every semester they are enrolled in the program, resulting in a minimum of six semester hours of credit.Students should plan on working at least three hours per week for every hour of credit.Students may not register for more than three credit hours of internship per semester although they may work more than 10 hours per week on an internship.This requirement ensures that students are involved in practicum experience throughout their stay in the program and not just during the first few semesters. Consult the Internship Guide for info about how to find and register for an internship.

Comprehensive Examination Projects

Students must pass a written comprehensive examination in order to be advanced to candidacy for the PhD degree. Traditionally, this examination has been a paper and pencil essay exam administered over several days. Such exams may be appropriate for measuring the knowledge a student has gained in the program, but they are very poor in measuring the problem solving skills of development, research, evaluation, and measurement that are central to the Instructional Psychology and Technology program. In order to obtain a more valid measure of knowledge and problem solving skills, the comprehensive exam requirement for the PhD in Instructional Psychology and Technology is met by successfully completing two Comprehensive Exam Projects.

These projects are essentially take-home exams that each requires approximately one semester to complete and each is similar in scope to a Master’s Project or Thesis. These projects are to be conducted in consultation with and under the supervision of a faculty sponsor. A previously completed equivalent Master’s Project or Thesis may count towards one of the PhD Comprehensive Exam Projects on approval of a student's advisory committee.

Each of these projects should be related to one of the following areas of emphasis: development, evaluation, measurement, or research. Both projects may not be from the same area. Thus, a development project and an evaluation project would meet this requirement, but two evaluation projects would not. Students should select project areas, in consultation with members of their advisory committee, which meet their personal interests and career goals. The project areas selected should be indicated on the students’ Program of Study form.

The following table shows the prerequisites and course numbers associated with each project. Click a course number link to access a detailed description of the corresponding project, its requirements, and procedures for completion and submission.

Project Class Credit Prerequisite
Measurement IP&T 657R 3 IP&T 652
Evaluation IP&T 667R 3 IP&T 661
Research IP&T 677R 3 IP&T 629/651
Development IP&T 687R 3 IP&T 564

At the completion of each project, the student must prepare and submit a written report of the project to the faculty sponsor following the guidelines listed in the project description documents. After the completed report is evaluated and given a suggested grade by the faculty sponsor, it is submitted to two additional IP&T faculty members for their independent evaluation. The results of these two evaluations are submitted to the Graduate School and averaged with the sponsor's suggested grade to determine the final grade. Receiving passing marks on these evaluations indicates that the comprehensive exam requirement has been met.

Specialization Credit

There are three fields of specialization for PhD students: instructional design, instructional research and evaluation, or second language acquisition.Every student is required to take a minimum of 24 hours of graduate credit in the area of specialization.

Specialization Areas

Instructional Design

Students specializing in instructional design may select courses from any of the options listed below under specialization courses.However, it is recommended that they emphasize IP&T courses in development and production.

Research and Evaluation

Students specializing in research and evaluation may select courses from any of the options listed below under specialization courses.However, it is recommended that they emphasize IP&T courses in research, evaluation and measurement.

Second Language Acquisition

This specialization is a program offered jointly with one of the language departments in the College of Humanities.Students specializing in second language acquisition must meet the following requirements:

  1. Take 18 hours of graduate linguistics and language courses.Ling 540, Language Acquisition and Ling 660, Language Testing are required for six of these hours.It is recommended that the remaining 12 hours be selected from those listed under Second Language Acquisition below.
  2. Conduct one of the Comprehensive Projects in the area of second language acquisition.
  3. Select an advisory committee with at least one member of the committee from the Instructional Psychology & Technology Department and one from the department where the language of specialization is housed.

Specialization Courses

A. Instructional Psychology and Technology Courses

1. Development and Production Courses

  • IP&T 655 Digital Interface Design
  • IP&T 664 Advanced Instructional Design
  • IP&T 665 Instructional Visual/Video Production
  • IP&T 682 Project & Instructional Resource Management
  • IP&T 760 Advanced E-Learning Development

2.  Research Courses

  • IP&T 638 Research in Blended and Online Learning Environments
  • IP&T 653 Qualitative Research 1
  • IP&T 753R Qualitative Research 2
  • IP&T 750 Literature Synthesis and Review

3.  Evaluation and Measurement Courses

4.  Other

B. Other Departments (Undergraduate courses may apply toward prerequisite requirements, but they may not apply toward specialization credit.)
Recommended courses include, but are not limited to the following:

1.  Psychology

  • Psych 520 Advanced Developmental Psychology
  • Psych 531 Organizational Psychology
  • Psych 535 Behavior Modification Techniques
  • Psych 550 Theory and Research in Social Psychology
  • Psych 560 Learning Theory
  • Psych 565 Motivational Psychology
  • Psych 575 Cognitive Processes

2.  Second Language Acquisition

  • ELang 521 Studies in Language
  • Ling 545 Psycholinguistics
  • Ling 550 Sociolinguistics 
  • Ling 603 Linguistic Foundations
  • Ling 625 Speaking Theory and Pedagogy
  • Ling 631 Grammar Theory and Pedagogy
  • Ling 640 Language Acquisition
  • Ling 670 TESOL Teaching Skills: Reading, Writing, and Vocabulary
  • Ling 677 Curriculum Development
  • Ling 678 Advanced Materials Development
  • Language (i.e., Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish) 670R: Tutorial Internship in Language
  • Language (i.e., Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish) 680R: Special Studies in Language 
  • Language (i.e., Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish) 690R: Seminar in Language 

3.  Statistics

  • Stat 511 Statistical Methods for Research 1
  • Stat 512 Statistical Methods for Research 2
  • Stat 536 Modern Regression Analysis

  • Stat 666 Multivariate Statistical Methods

  • Psych 501 Data Analysis in Psychological Research 1

  • Psych 502 Data Analysis in Psychological Research 2

Special Seminars

Four or more students with interest in a special, narrow topic of Instructional Psychology and Technology may request that a faculty member sponsor a seminar in that special area.These seminars are associated with assigned IP&T credit.This credit may be used toward the fulfillment of the specialization requirement.

Declared Minor

Students are free to take relevant coursework in any other department on campus as approved by their advisory committee.If a student wishes to declare a minor in another discipline, that student should contact the department concerned for information on requirements for a minor.

Dissertation and Oral Examination

A minimum of 18 hours of dissertation credit, IP&T 799R, is required for graduation.A student may not enroll for dissertation credit until all Projects and Comprehensive Exams are completed.

Once a student has decided on a dissertation topic, the next step is to secure an IP&T faculty member as a committee chair. The student then gathers together an advisory committee (composed of at least two other IP&T faculty members) and prepares a dissertation prospectus.The prospectus must be approved by the student's advisory committee, the department chair, and the dean before the study may be conducted.

After the written dissertation has been approved by the student's advisory committee in a preliminary oral exam, the student should make arrangements through the department secretary (a minimum of two weeks in advance) for the final oral examination.

A document describing the dissertation requirements in more detail may be obtained from the department secretary.

Department Enrollment and Progress Policies

The Instructional Psychology & Technology PhD program is designed for full-time study. Part-time study limits students’ ability to take advantage of all available classes, participate in department seminars, interact with other students in group projects and informal study sessions, meet with faculty for one-on-one mentoring, participate in a wide variety of internship experiences, spend time in the library, etc. Part-time study also extends the period of time required to complete the degree, delays full-time employment, places increased stress on students and their family, increases the likelihood that knowledge and skills will be forgotten or become obsolete, and reduces the opportunity for other students to enter the program.

  • Doctoral students must register for at least two consecutive six-hour semesters on the BYU campus.
  • All doctoral degrees must be completed within eight years.
  • All graduate students must register for at least six semester hours each school year and receive acceptable grades (no D, E, W, UW, NS, or I grades) or they will be automatically dropped from the program.
  • Students should submit a Program of Study form by the second week of their second year. A program of study list must be submitted before students will be allowed to register for their second year in the program.
  • Departments may establish any additional progress requirements and are to review each student’s progress twice each year.

The Instructional Psychology & Technology Department has adopted the following additional recommendations and expectations:

  • Doctoral students should complete the program in three to five years.
  • Doctoral students should complete a minimum of 15 credit hours each year.
  • If extenuating circumstances limit students’ ability to complete 15 hours per year, they will need to submit an Individual Completion Plan to their committee chair. This plan will need to be approved by the committee chair and department chair.
  • Students should not register for more than 12 credit hours in a semester or six credit hours in a term.
  • Students may not register for internship, project, or dissertation credit without approval from their committee chair or sponsor.
  • Students should not register for dissertation credit until they have completed their projects.
  • Students should not register for more than four hours of dissertation credit without an approved prospectus.

Students’ continuing progress in the program will be reviewed by the faculty twice each year. Students who receive marginal or unsatisfactory ratings in two consecutive reviews will be dropped from the program.

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