Instructional Design, Master of Science (0428)


Program Coordinator

Xiaoxia Huang,, (270) 745-4322

Instructional design is the systematic analysis of learning and performance needs, and the development of effective strategies, processes, systems, and products to address those needs. The purpose of instructional design is to improve learning and performance for people of all ages in a variety of settings, including educational environments, work places, community settings, schools, and homes. Professionals in the field of instructional design apply systematic instructional design methodologies and a variety of instructional strategies to accomplish established goals.

The Master of Science in Instructional Design prepares practitioners to assume leadership roles in public or private organizations. Program graduates are equipped to design and develop instructional elements such as instructional videos, online instructional activities, user manuals for instructors, instruction manuals for commercial products, professional development curricula for teachers, multimedia instructional units, training packs for trainers, instructional materials for vocational/technical courses, lesson and unit plans for classroom use, and educational curricula.

Program graduates will possess the following competencies:

  • Ability to analyze a variety of instructional performance issues in business, government, education, and home settings
  • Ability to design and develop instructional solutions, including appropriate combinations of traditional/- instructor-led strategies, constructivist techniques, technology systems, and performance support systems
  • Ability to ethically and effectively manage instructional design projects, including project management/tracking and scheduling, budgeting, and client consultation skills
  • Ability to design appropriate assessment plans for instructional solutions
  • Ability to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of instructional solutions

Students who graduate with a master's degree in instructional design are equipped for employment as instructional designers and trainers in businesses, corporations, school and university settings, government agencies, and military services.  Instructional design graduates may also be employed as managers of technology-based systems and designers of technology products in settings that include corporations, universities, community colleges, medical centers, libraries, and school districts.

The curriculum for all Instructional Design courses is modularized (except for ID 560 and ID 570). A student must demonstrate proficiency in each module. All courses will be offered for 3 hours credit (except for Special Topics and Practicum).

Program Admission

Applicants to the MS in ID program must qualify for admission through one of the following three admission options.

  1. Admission based on previously completed master’s degree requires the following: Admission may be recommended for applicants who hold a master’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution and who earn an overall graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  2. Admission based on scores for the GRE or GMAT requires one of the following:
    1. Admission with GRE, minimum scores:
      1. Prior to August 2011: verbal, 380; quantitative, 540; analytical writing, 3.5.  
      2. After August 2011: verbal, 145; quantitative, 145; analytical writing, 3.5.
    2. Admission  with  GMAT, minimum scores:
      1. verbal, 21; quantitative, 32; integrated reasoning, 3; analytical writing, 3.5.
  3. Admission with a baccalaureate degree but without GRE or GMAT scores requires all of the following:
    1. Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university may apply for admission without a GRE or GMAT score if they achieved an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or least a 3.2 GPA on their last 60 hours of appropriate undergraduate credit for the degree.
    2. The following materials must be submitted as part of an admission portfolio with the application form for admission to Graduate School and the MS in Instructional Design degree program:
      1. A letter of application that provides a rationale for admission without a GRE or GMAT score.
      2. A statement explaining the applicant’s career goal(s) and purpose(s) for pursuing the master’s program in Instructional Design.
      3. A current vita.
      4. At least two letters of recommendation:
        1. One letter of reference from a college/university instructor that details the applicant's potential for successful completion of the Master of Science program in instructional design.
        2. One letter of reference from an employer or supervisor that addresses the applicant's dispositions that predict success as a member of an instructional design or training team.
      5. At least a 3-page paper that indicates the applicant's analytical writing ability.
        The admission decision by program faculty under this alternative will be based on a review of the full set of admission documents. Applicants should strive to provide evidence of potential for completion of the degree and success in the field of instructional design.

In making a decision to recommend admission, the faculty may consider factors such as the nature of the previous degree, the quality of coursework, the age of the previous graduate degree, standardized test scores, and other factors as deemed appropriate.

Please refer to the admission section of this catalog for Graduate School admission requirements.

Program Requirements (30 hours)

The program includes one 3-hour research course, 15 hours of required courses, and 12 hours of advisor- approved professional emphasis courses for a program total of 30 hours.

Required Courses
EDFN 500Research Methods 13
ID 560Instructional Design Foundations3
ID 570Systematic Instructional Design3
ID 587Trends and Issues in Instructional Design3
ID 590Practicum in Instructional Design3
ID 595Internship in Instructional Design 23
Professional Emphasis - Select 12 hours from the following: 312
Special Topics in Instructional Design
Practicum in Instructional Design
Improvement Analysis in the Workplace
Management of Instructional Systems
Training Design and Development
Multimedia Design
Distance Education Opportunities and Challenges
With advisor approval students may take up to 6 hours of adult education, educational technology, or other appropriate courses
Total Hours30

Or advisor approved equivalent.  Students may transfer in a previous graduate research course with a grade of B or higher that meets the Graduate School Currency of Courses policy.  If the course is over six years old, students may take a Research Competency Exam to satisfy this requirement and replace the 3 hours with an elective.


 The capstone course requires the development and application of an authentic and professional quality product for their approved workplace setting. A professional portfolio is compiled and submitted in the capstone course in multimedia format (CD, DVD, or web based) focused on projects and activities from across the program.


The student and ID faculty advisor will collaborate to select courses in the best interest of the student's career goals. Students must take 6-12 hours of Instructional Design courses from the professional emphasis list above. If the 12 hours are completed in Instructional Design courses, no more than 6 hours between ID 575 and ID 590 courses may be taken. However, if a student elects to take 6 hours of advisor-approved adult education courses, educational technology courses, or transfer courses, then neither ID 575 nor ID 590 may be completed as part of the professional emphasis and the student must complete two other ID professional emphasis courses listed above.