Educational Psychology

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Psychological foundations of education

Parent playfully tosses toddler up into the air, while playing outside.
Assistant Professor David DeLiema and colleagues were recently awarded a grant to explore parent-child discussions during outdoor play. Read more on DeLiema's research.

Note:The GRE is no longer required for admission into the psychological foundations of education program.

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. Our faculty and students do not just conduct laboratory experiments—we also put our research to work: in local schools on programs to improve students’ reading and science outcomes and with members of our diverse communities to help our neighbors succeed at school and work.


  • Faculty (PhD only)
  • Research scientists at universities and companies
  • Government agencies
  • Other educational settings (e.g., K-12 school research offices)
  • Human and social service organizations
  • Health care organization evaluator/researcher
  • Research and development centers

Latest news


Dates and deadlines



Programs and degrees


Masters and PhD students choose between two areas of emphasis:

Learning and cognition / educational technology
(MA, PhD)

  • 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
(MA, PhD)

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

Graduate minor

The Department of Educational Psychology offers a minor in educational psychology with an emphasis in psychological foundations of education.


Learning sciences post baccalaureate certificate

Shape your teaching and research through better understanding of how people learn. As a student in our new learning sciences certificate program, you’ll study learning theories, methodologies, designs, and evidence-based practices central to teaching and conducting research that supports the learning process.

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


Visit the College of Education and Human Development's Finance and Funding page for information on tuition.


Fellowships and awards

Submit your application materials by December 1, and you’ll automatically be considered for Graduate School fellowships and departmental awards based on scholastic achievement. Notification of awards will be sent in March.

Graduate assistantships

Get paid to work as a teaching assistant, graduate instructor or research assistant. Graduate assistantships are available through the department, College of Education and Human Development, and the University.

Note: Applicants who complete their applications by the March 1 deadline will be less likely to receive graduate assistantships than students who meet the December 1 deadline.

Financial aid

Visit OneStop Student Services for more information on available financial aid.


Visit the College of Education and Human Development’s Awards page for scholarship information.


The Department of Educational Psychology is deeply committed to increasing the diversity of our undergraduate and graduate programs, of our teaching and learning, of our research and clinical practice, and of our outreach and service across fields of educational psychology. Visit our diversity page to learn more about our commitment to diversity and resources for supporting diversity and inclusion.

Sarah Carlson headshot
The Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota is one of the best in the field.

Sarah Carlson, PhD '11
Assistant professor and Educational Psychology Program Director, Georgia State University
Read more about Sarah's experience
Other psychological foundations alumni profiles

Faculty and instructors

Laura Allen headshot

Laura Allen Bonnie Westby Huebner Chair in Education and Technology

  • Reading comprehension
  • Writing
  • Computational linguistics
  • Learning analytics
  • Educational technology
William M. Bart headshot

William M. BartProfessor | Lab

  • Relationships among cognition, instruction, and testing
  • Gifted and talented education
  • Chess expertise
Jeffrey Bye headshot

Jeffrey ByeLecturer, Lab Coordinator & Affiliate Faculty, Learning Informatics Lab

  • Math teaching and learning
  • Mathematical cognition
  • Causal learning
  • Reasoning
  • Open source programming
  • Computational modeling
David DeLiema headshot

David DeLiemaAssistant professor

  • Productive failure
  • Playful learning
  • Embodied cognition
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Social interaction
Panayiota Andrea Kendeou headshot

Panayiota (Pani) KendeouDistinguished McKnight University Professor, Guy Bond Chair in Reading | Lab

  • Reading comprehension
  • Cognitive processes
  • Learning at scale
  • Technology
  • Misinformation
Geoffrey Maruyama headshot

Geoffrey Maruyama Professor | 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
Caitlin Mills

Caitlin MillsAssistant professor

  • Mind wandering
  • Boredom, creativity
  • Eye-tracking
  • Learning analytics
  • Adaptive learning
Keisha Varma

Keisha VarmaProgram coordinator, associate professor, associate vice provost, Office of Equity and Diversity | Lab

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

Martin Van Boekel Teaching assistant professor | Lab

  • Cognitive biases (ie., hindsight bias)
  • Academic feedback
  • Memory strategies for improving learning in the classroom
  • Informal learning environments (ie. school-organized sports)