Learning Design and Technology - Online and Distance Education

Learning Design and Technology

Master's Degrees | Learning Design and Technology

Learning Design and Technology

Entrance Exam: Not Required

The master's programs in Learning Design and Technology prepare education professionals to lead digital learning programs, design digital learning environments, and inquire into digital learning solutions to continuously refine instruction and improve student learning. Students choose one strand for emphasis during their studies (digital leadership, design, or inquiry), but take some courses from all three strands. 

Graduates commonly work as classroom teachers, K-12 school- or system-level digital learning professionals, digital leaders in higher education, or in varied positions in government or private industry (e.g., instructional designers, e-learning developers). Graduate study leads to either a 30-hour Master of Education (M.Ed.) or 36-hour Master of Science (M.S. with thesis) degree. Licensed teachers are able to add the 079 computer education and/or 077 technology specialist endorsement to their teaching license after completing either degree program.

According to 2014 AMTR data, only 17% of the 2500+ K-12 schools in North Carolina employ a full-time, certified (079/077) technology facilitator, suggesting growth opportunities for this position in the future.

Our Learning Design and Technology Program offers the following options:

  • Online Non Degree Studies (NDS): Previously licensed teachers who take six courses (18 credit hours) from the leadership and design strands of our digital learning curriculum are eligible for the 079 endorsement in computer education, which is generally sufficient to serve in technology coordination/facilitation roles in K-12 schools; other interested students who would like to take a few courses before applying to a master’s or doctoral degree program can also start out as Non Degree Studies (NDS) students and transfer up to 12 credit hours into degree programs.
  • Online master’s degree programs (30-credit hour M.Ed. and 36-credit hour M.S. with thesis): Previously licensed teachers who complete a degree program are eligible for the 077 endorsement as Instructional Technology Specialist, which is necessary to serve in Technology Director roles in K-12 schools and districts in the State of North Carolina; non-teachers interested in applying digital learning solutions in diverse settings (e.g., business & industry, non-profits, higher education) are also encouraged to apply.

This program may lead to Professional Licensure.


Applicants must submit:

  • Two official* copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, including any non-degree studies (NDS) at NC State.
  • Minimum of 3.0 GPA on all undergraduate work for unconditional admission. We may provisionally accept other applicants given professional experience or other high quality application materials.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with applicant’s work.
  • A 500-800 word professional statement describing professional goals and indicating which strand or emphasis area will be focused on.
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores for international applicants whose first language is not English.
  • Academic writing sample and statement of research interests (M.S. applicants only).

* Unofficial transcripts are accepted for application review purposes but we require official ones before an admitted student can begin graduate studies.


The Master of Education degree requires 30 credits. At 2020-21 tuition rates, the cost of the required courses is $462 per credit for North Carolina residents and $1,311 per credit for non-residents. Thus, the total estimated cost for the 30-credit program is $13,860 for North Carolina residents and $39,330 for non-residents. The Master of Science program, which requires 36 credit hours, is charged at the same rates. See Online and Distance Education Tuition and Fees for cost details.

Plan of Study

Students seeking the M.S. must take 36 hours, including six hours in methodology and independent research pertaining to the thesis study. Students must complete all requirements for the master’s degree within six calendar years, beginning with the date the student commences courses carrying graduate credit applicable to the degree program. Master’s courses incorporate the Technology Leadership (TL) Advanced Program standards as developed by ISTE and adopted by NCATE. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) provides a list of related standards on their web site. The following curriculum displays provide a summary of courses offered by category/strand: Instructional Technology Curriculum Display (for students admitted prior to 2015); and Learning Design & Technology Curriculum Display (for students admitted January 2015 and thereafter). Current students may use our Curriculum Planner to draft a plan of study/plan of work.

Career Prospects

Graduates work as classroom teachers, school or system level instructional technology specialists, curriculum developers, or in private industry. For individuals interested in receiving graduate teaching licensure as Coordinator/Director of Technology (NC 077) in K-12 settings, courses in the program incorporate the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Standards and Indicators for the Master of Instructional Technology Degree/Coordinator/Director of Technology License (077) which are aligned with the Technology Leadership (TL) Advanced Program Standards as developed by ISTE and adopted by NCATE. Graduates of the program also qualify for advanced licensure in a teaching field.