Design and Technologies for Learning Across Culture and Contexts
The Design and Technologies for Learning Across Culture and Contexts (DATL) concentration in the Master of Arts in Educational Studies program focuses on preparing professionals for designing a wide range of learning environments in formal and informal settings. Design takes many forms and can span the design of technology, curriculum, new pedagogical approaches, and even innovative spaces for learning.
Design is also concerned with who…who are we designing for? The concentration is centered on the processes of learning and how to design experiences to improve learning outcomes for all in a manner that also supports our commitments towards educational equity and justice more broadly.
DATL students integrate ideas from contemporary research in learning sciences, educational equity and justice, and other theoretical perspectives on learning. Students explore research that describes the cognitive processes and sociocultural, political and ethical practices at play as people construct, produce, use, understand, and critique information.
This concentration is ideal for prospective students with a strong interest in the learning sciences, the sociocultural aspects of learning, or learning experience design and its intersections with equity and justice. Many DATL students have intersecting interests with designing for equity, leadership, policy and educational research. There are many opportunities for students to take courses across MA concentrations in Educational Studies.
Graduates of the concentration have the expertise to examine theory, research, and design with a critical eye towards improving outcomes for learners. Our graduates have found great success as: learning experience designers; doctoral fellows; and in many educational roles working in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
Many students participate full-time and complete the Master of Arts in Educational Studies in 3 terms, over 1.5 years. To do so, students complete required coursework and an internship during their first academic year (fall and winter terms). Students typically further develop their professional skill set through a summer internship and employment opportunities (either at the University of Michigan or elsewhere), before completing a final term of courses and graduating in December.
Some full-time students may choose to complete the program at an accelerated pace of 12 months. This often involves completing more credits in the fall and winter terms, and shifting the final term of coursework to the spring term.
We also greatly value the contributions of part-time students who pursue the Master of Arts in Educational Studies while working full-time, often as K-12 educators.
Educational Studies courses take place in person, during the business day (9 am - 4 pm) and and evening (5 - 8 pm). If you are considering applying as a part-time student, it will be important to know that you have flexibility with your work schedule to take courses during these times. Part-time students complete the program at their own pace.
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Additional certificate and endorsement opportunities
Learning Experience Design Certificate
The curriculum below pertains to students entering the master’s program in Fall 2021 and later. Please refer to the intranet (https://my.soe.umich.edu/forms-guidelines/course-planning-worksheet-for-higher-ed-ma-diversity-and-social-justice) to review your degree requirements if you began prior to Fall 2021.
Students complete the following courses:
Program specialization credits
Students complete the following course:
Students complete 9 credits from the following courses:
Curriculum & Instruction
- EDUC 500 – Foundations of Literacy
- EDUC 560 – Everyday Equitable Practice
- EDUC 604 – Curriculum Evaluation and Development
- EDUC 645 – Education and Cultural Studies
Students complete a minimum of nine credits of graduate coursework from available U-M offerings. All electives must be approved by a faculty advisor. Students are encouraged to take at least one course outside of the Marsal School.
The internship offers students work, learning, and mentoring experiences related to a specific area of their professional/research interest. The internship is completed during the winter term and must be approved by a faculty advisor.
Students complete the following course:
Frequently Asked Questions
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Upcoming Information Sessions
To submit a successful application for admission, you need to provide the following:
- Academic Statement of Purpose
- Part-Time Admission: Applicants seeking admission to a master’s program may attend on a part-time basis. Please indicate this by answering the “part-time” question on page 9 of the application.
- The Academic Statement of Purpose serves to demonstrate a fit between your background/interests and the Educational Studies master’s program’s philosophy, structure, and offerings. The statement should take the form of a concise and coherent essay, approximately 2-3 pages in length, double-spaced.
- Please be sure to address the following elements in your statement with regard to the specific thread of the Master’s in Educational Studies degree to which you are applying:
- A clear statement about the opportunities, issues, and/or problems of education that motivate you to pursue your chosen thread of the Master’s in Educational Studies.
- A concise summary of relevant academic or professional experience. Please explain the connection between your academic or professional experience and the opportunities, issues and/or problems of education introduced in #1.
- An overview of your short-term and long-term career goals. Please introduce how you will go about addressing the opportunities, issues, and problems of education introduced in #1.
- A clear statement explaining how you expect that program thread will allow you to better understand the opportunities, issues, and problems of education that motivate your graduate studies and on which you will focus your career. Please make specific reference to details such as course offerings, experiential learning opportunities, campus resources, and the expertise of specific faculty members.
- Personal Statement
- 500 word limit
- How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan? For example, if you grew up in a community where educational, cultural, or other opportunities were either especially plentiful or especially lacking, you might discuss the impact this had on your development and interests. This should be a discussion of the journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree. Please do not repeat your Academic Statement of Purpose.
- Three (3) letters of recommendation
- We strongly encourage two of your letters come from individuals who are familiar with your academic performance. The third may be from a professional reference.
- Register your recommenders' names and contact information on the online application so that they will be sent instructions for submitting their letters via the application system. Let your recommenders know that they need to upload a letter and that it is required by the program.
- As soon as you click "save" on the page of the application where your recommenders' contact information is entered, they will receive an email with instructions for completing the process. Proceed to this point in the application process as soon as possible to trigger that email.
- Resume or CV
- Test Scores (See test details in Step 5 below)
- English proficiency scores (for non-native speakers of English only)
- GRE Test Scores are not required for admission
Create an account with Rackham Graduate School.
This program, like all of the Marsal Family School of Education's graduate programs, is administered through the University of Michigan's Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Rackham offers a host of resources and administrative support to help see you through from submitting your application to completion of your degree.
- After completing page 5 of the application, you will receive an e-mail with your U-M ID. A U-M ID number will be issued to you via email within 5 business days of completing pages 1-5 and advancing to page 6 of the ApplyWeb application. Having your U-M ID number to include on all your application materials ensures accurate and timely processing, so we encourage you to complete pages 1-5 early in the process.
- If you need to submit your application before you receive your U-M ID number, you may still complete the application. Include your date of birth and the program’s name on your application materials.
- Current and former U-M Ann Arbor students, alumni and employees: You do not need to obtain a new U-M ID number. Use your previously obtained U-M ID number.
- If your personal information has changed (for example, legal name, gender), make sure the personal information you submit with your application matches your previous Ann Arbor campus record. If your previous Ann Arbor campus record does not display your current personal information, contact the Registrar’s Office or the Shared Services Center to change your personal information before you apply.
Include at the top of each document:
- The type of document (Academic Statement of Purpose, Personal Statement, or Curriculum Vitae or Resume)
- Your name
- The name of the graduate program
- Your 8 digit U-M ID (if known)
Make sure margins are at least one-inch so nothing is cropped when you upload the documents to the application.
- TOEFL, MELAB, ECPE, or IELTS scores (for non-native speakers of English only; valid 2 years from test date)
- Information regarding English Proficiency tests and exemption guidelines can be found on the Rackham Graduate School website.
- GRE Test Scores
- GRE test scores are not required for admission, but scores (valid 5 years from test date) can be included with your application.
- Provide ETS with the U-M Institutional Code of 1839 and your scores will be sent directly to the university.
- Test scores must be sent directly from the testing center to the Rackham Graduate School. We recommend starting this process early as it can take up to two weeks for the scores to be received.
- Upload an electronic version of your official transcript(s) for each Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional, or Doctoral degree earned or in progress through your ApplyWeb application account (part of the Rackham application system).
- Do not upload academic records printed from your school’s website or student portal.
- You are not required to send official transcripts at the time of application. If you are recommended for admission, the Rackham Graduate School will require official transcripts. Admitted applicants will receive an email notification when the official transcripts are required.
- Students who have studied in a country outside of the U.S. should review the required credentials from non-U.S. institutions. For all degrees obtained at non-U.S. institutions—Request that degree-granting institutions submit official transcripts/records to the Rackham Graduate School at the time of application.
- Information for submitting official transcripts can be found on the Rackham Graduate School website.
Check on your application status. If you’ve been accepted, you will receive an email with information on how to send your official transcripts.
- If you have been accepted, congratulations! You may accept or decline the offer of admission in your U-M Friend Account.
- For international students that accept offer of admission, Rackham prepares immigration documents for visas.
Application fee waiver
The $75 application fee is waived for all U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents
GRE general exam scores
Undergraduate GPA guideline
Applications are evaluated using a holistic process, which means that reviewers carefully consider all materials provided and no single factor is used in either accepting or denying an applicant for admission.
Online, evening, or weekend courses
Professional trajectories of graduates include:
- Media specialists
- Curriculum designers
- Software design
- Technology startups
- Online learning/Learning experience design
- Museums/Science and Technology Centers
- Further graduate study
Career outcomes of recent graduates:
The Design and Technologies for Learning Across Culture and Contexts concentration requires an internship to be completed during the winter term accompanied by a two-credit seminar. The internship offers students work, learning, and mentoring experiences related to a specific area of their professional/research interest.
Please see Internship Resources for ES Master's Students for more information.