For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop


Psychological Foundations of Education

Memory in the classroom

Psychological Foundations of Education doctoral candidate, Martin Van Boekel, studies how learners adjust beliefs with new information. Read More.

Understand the way people think, learn, and teach

As a student in the program, you’ll study the psychological processes critical to education. Research in our program focuses on cognitive and social-emotional development, including high-level cognition and factors shaping and enhancing learning throughout the lifespan. You'll use this knowledge to develop better educational processes and procedures for schools and other educational agencies, businesses, human and social service organizations, health care providers, government agencies, and more.

How to apply

Programs & degrees

Graduate (M.A., Ph.D.)

Masters and Ph.D. students choose between two areas of emphasis:

Learning and cognition / educational technology (M.A., Ph.D.)

  • Study how people think and learn
  • Research how people learn with technology and design research-based technologies to improve learning

Social psychological and developmental processes (M.A., Ph.D)

  • Study how social processes contribute to the success of schools and other educational organizations

Professional (certificate)

Talent Development and Gifted Education Certificate

  • Develop, implement, and supervise programs to teach gifted and talented students in K-12 and postsecondary schools and other settings


Learning and cognition / educational technology

Headshot of William M. Bart

William M. Bart

Email | Lab

  • Relationships among cognition, instruction, and testing
  • Gifted and talented education
  • Chess expertise
Headshot of Panayiota Andrea Kendeou

Panayiota Andrea Kendeou

Email | Lab

  • Cognitive processes in reading comprehension
  • Change of pre-existing beliefs and misconceptions
  • Technology-based comprehension interventions and assessments
Headshot of Robert D. Tennyson

Robert D. Tennyson

Email | Lab

  • Cognitive processes in reading comprehension
  • Change of pre-existing beliefs and misconceptions
  • Technology-based comprehension interventions and assessments

Keisha Varma

Email | Lab

  • Cognitive processes in science learning
  • Scientific visualizations and student learning outcomes
  • Teacher knowledge development and effective teaching practice

Headshot of Sashank Varma

Sashank Varma

Email | Lab

  • Understanding of abstract mathematical concepts
  • Long-term memory and language understanding
  • Computational models of mathematical reasoning, language understanding, and spatial problem solving
Headshot of Steve Yussen

Steve Yussen

Email | Lab

  • Memory and comprehension of stories
  • Narrative exchanges between children and parents (e.g., storybook reading, reminiscence)
  • The role of culture on narrative storytelling and memory

Social psychological & developmental processes

Headshot of Geoffrey Maruyama

Geoffrey Maruyama

Email | Lab

  • Achievement processes in schools and other organizations
  • Connections between social processes and educational success
  • Research and community partnerships in challenged communities and urban settings


Headshot of Lara Westerhof

Lara Westerhof

Psychological foundations student representative


"I want to help all students feel socially and emotionally equipped to learn."

  • Interests: How social and emotional factors affect student learning and development
  • Work: Partnerships with local non-profit organizations, including a job training program for low-income adults and a network of afterschool programs for urban youth
Headshot of Martin Van Boekel

Martin Van Boekel


“The professors and everyone involved in the program are amazing. The department fosters a community of researchers where students are encouraged and supported in exploring their own interests.”

  • Interests: How people reason when confronted with information that contradicts their prior knowledge
  • Research: Hindsight bias, knowledge revision when reading refutation texts, and reasoning styles in scientific contexts
  • Work: Conducts research at the University on factors that support student academic and social success in school
Headshot of Soo-hyum Im

Soo-hyum Im


"I help build a meaningful foundation of support for educators’ instructional strategies and the development of students’ learning skills using neuroscience.”

  • Interests: Applying neuroscience findings to educational practice
  • Research: Examining young children’s cognitive process of solving arithmetic problems; studying the influence of arithmetical flexibility on future mathematics achievement and brain development
  • Work: His current research focus: Improving educators’ neuroscience literacy; developing mathematical flexibility items