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Learning and Instruction Department

The Learning and Instruction Department offers exciting and unique programs at the credential/master's and doctoral levels.

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Learning and Instruction (L&I) programs emphasize the conviction that instructional decisions must be grounded in the best social evidence. The overriding goal is to prepare graduates who will contribute to, and make use of, the ever-changing knowledge base in learning and instruction.


Master of Arts in Special Education
with Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Credential

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Teach students with disabilities to be successful learners.

The Master's/Credential program is designed to prepare interns for special education careers in diverse, urban schools.

In this two-year program, candidates can earn Preliminary Teaching credentials and master's degrees while working as paid intern teachers in Bay Area schools.


"Attending USF's School of Education, Learning and Instruction program was a life changing and extremely challenging experience. As an older adult, returning to school, the faculty was extremely supportive. The connection a student makes to USF continues long after graduation, and throughout your career."
—JULIE TUCKER, Special Ed

The L&I Department offers two doctoral degree options. The beneficial aspect of having two doctoral programs housed in the same department is that students are integrated and able to collaborate with peers and faculty from related fields. Students in both doctoral programs will interact and share some courses.

Special Education Doctoral Program (Ed.D.)

Research. Evidence-based. Application. Pedagogy.

The Special Education Doctoral Program prepares students with the competencies needed to conduct research and prepare special educators to teach students with disabilities in diverse learning environments.

Our faculty have diverse expertise across a broad spectrum in special education, educational psychology, assessment, research, multimedia instruction, and evaluation.


Learning and Instruction Doctoral Program (Ed.D.)

stu_blueJacketApplying research and educational psychology to diverse learning environments.

Supportive and engaging learning environments are created by professionals with a deep understanding of educational psychology, as well as learning, teaching, and instructional design research.

The Learning and Instruction Doctoral Program not only provides this understanding, it teaches students how to apply it in diverse settings, from special education programs to private sector training programs.

"I think the first thing one notices when attending USF is a sense of community. Professors are truly interested in every student's learning, which translates into a program that includes rigor and caring.
Small class sizes—check, knowledgeable professors—check, a learning environment that
promotes global thinking—check. In my opinion, USF has it all!."

—KAREN SANFORD, Student EdD