Master's in Educational Psychology Courses

  • Educational Psychology
  • Learning and Behavior
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Quantitative Methods and Instruments for Assessment
  • Life Span Development

Learning about the five key courses in a Master's in Educational Psychology program is the first step to understanding the underlying importance of the profession. This is especially true as new research is showing that a passion towards studying may not be a factor towards being academically successful. Understanding the underlying themes of the field, which are listed here, will help bring the new developments into focus.

Resource: Top 30 Most Affordable Online Master's in Educational Psychology Degrees

1. Educational Psychology

Educational psychology is a key course in any master's in the educational psychology program. Often taken the first semester of the degree, it is a reintroduction and an expansion of the undergraduate course in the subject. The course introduces prominent and science-based theories of learning and how those methods have impacted human behavior in the classroom; the course also goes over teaching and assessment. Students will have the chance to critically evaluate all sides of the educational psychology debate and defend personal positions on the issue.

2. Learning and Behavior

One of the first courses students take in the Master's in Educational Psychology program is learning and behavior. This course goes over the scientific study of how learning happens, how it is maintained, and how it can be adapted towards new methods of learning. There is an emphasis on the factors that go into human learning, including cognitive, behavioral, and motivational factors. Students learn the various methods of learning, how to adapt learning methods to diverse environments; application of empirical research is also done in this course to help students think about the ethics behind learning and how utilizing just one form can be detrimental to a classroom full of students.

3. Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology is a key course for a Master's in Educational Psychology. The course overviews the major concepts in cognitive psychology, including advancements in theory and research. Topics within the course include language, memory, attention, and perception, all of which are factors that can enhance or hinder a person's ability to learn. Through the course, students will have the opportunity to interpret current empirical data and apply critical thinking in order to use research findings on a real-world problem; this, in turn, demonstrates their understanding of how cognitive psychology plays a role in education.

4. Quantitative Methods and Instruments for Assessment

A useful course for graduate educational psychology students is the quantitative methods and instruments for assessment subject. This is an overview of research designs, methods, and tools that are used in the assessment and evaluation of students at different development points in their life. It covers how procedures were created to measure cognitive and behavioral abilities as well as enlighten students on the basic skills necessary to properly analyze research that has a quantitative design. This course is often complemented with case studies and research projects that are designed to test the student's competency in this vital task of an educational psychologist.

5. Life Span Development

The course in life span development is usually required by most accredited universities for a master's degree in educational psychology; that's because human development through the life cycle is critical to understanding how cognitive behavior can change from one life stage to the next. This course's subject is demonstrated through case studies that provide students with the opportunities to understand the physical, social, and psychological changes that occur at each staging, starting from birth and infancy to death and dying. The course also covers major psychosocial issues that can arise as well as the needs that each human has at each stage of development.

When deciding on what courses to take at the graduate level for a degree in educational psychology, it can difficult to know which ones will make the most difference. These five key courses in a Master's in Educational Psychology program are usually part of the core curriculum, but students are strongly encouraged to take them even if they're optional.