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Psychological Foundations of Education

Doctoral student receives National Science Foundation research grant

Christina Zdawczyk

Educational Psychology student, Christina Zdawczyk, is the recipient of a prestigious research fellowship through the National Science Foundation Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP). This grant supports graduate students studying STEM subjects and education. 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

Faculty

Learning and cognition / educational technology


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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
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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

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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

Students

Headshot of Soo-hyum Im

Soo-hyun Im

Email

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

  • Area of emphasis: Psychological foundations of education
  • Interests: Applying neuroscience findings to educational practice
  • Work: His current research focus: Improving educators’ neuroscience literacy; developing mathematical flexibility items
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Chelsea Rowles

Email

“I wanted to study learning and especially creativity in learning. The study of learning is not widely available at most schools and the U of MN had a program I wanted, a good reputation, and was close to home.”

  • Area of emphasis: Psychological foundations of education
  • Interests: Creativity and art in learning
  • Work: Chelsea would like to do research into the importance of creativity. She is interested in the idea of mini-c, creativity for oneself and the importance and validity of self-creativity. Chelsea believes that this is where we need to start in helping ourselves and others to grow in their creative abilities. She is interested in the evaluation of creative programming and how we can better measure and understand what students are learning in the areas of creativity.
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Anthony Schulzetenberg

Email

“I decided to join the Educational Psychology department because it offered an applied study of psychology along with a focus on real-world issues. In this program, I can see a direct connection between academic work and helping populations who are in the most need. The faculty are leaders in their fields and use their knowledge of psychology and education to provide an exceptional learning environment both in the classroom and in the research labs.”

  • Area of emphasis: Psychological foundations of education
  • Interests: Focuses on personal qualities and stereotype threats that may inhibit success in adults. Investigates how social psychological interventions can promote healthy self-concepts and interrupt damaging recursive cycles that perpetuate negative stereotypes and suppress an individual’s potential
  • Work: Anthony was a small business owner for 10 years working individually with a wide array of professionals in a health setting. national grant that is looking into better understanding internal struggles in learning and comprehension, particularly within underrepresented college students. Through psychology and research, he is working to contribute to narrowing the achievement gap in colleges across the country.
Headshot of Lara Westerhof

Lara Westerhof

Psychological foundations student representative

Email

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

  • Area of emphasis: Psychological foundations of education
  • 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