Doctoral candidates in WPI’s Interdisciplinary Learning Sciences & Technologies program merge social science and educational psychology with computer science to forge inroads into improving educational processes and outcomes both in and out of schools. Our research propels high-quality educational research and technology forward with world-renowned faculty and well-funded and supported research opportunities that help bridge the gap between research, practice, and policy.

WPI’s program researches the intersections of psychology, educational technology, and classroom interventions from many perspectives, and you’ll be able to find your exact fit here. Your research might include testing cognitive theories of learning, assessing if children react best to video or text feedback while they’re doing homework, or exploring how teachers, schools, or communities can better impact educational outcomes.

Breakthroughs like these keep the nation’s education and technology systems globally competitive, but, more important, they improve student performance, motivation, and confidence.



Using a blend of Cognitive, Developmental, and Educational Psychology, Advanced Quantitative Methods, and Computer Science courses, you’ll develop a broad understanding of learning theories, and learn how to best determine what kinds of learning environments and curricular experiences lead to improved learning.

Students will lead original research examining theoretical and applied questions about how educational technology can make teaching and learning easier and more effective for both students and teachers. WPI’s rigorous scientific and technical backdrop means you’ll have the knowledge behind learning and the tools to interpret and use the produced data to improve how students learn with individualized methods.

In addition to course work and dissertation work that leads to an area of expertise, doctoral students must demonstrate their competency in data analysis and written communication.


Faculty Profiles

Featured Faculty Profiles

Ivon Arroyo
Assistant Professor
Social Science & Policy Studies

A true hybrid across disciplines, professor Arroyo specializes in Learning Sciences, Computer Science and Educational/Cognitive Psychology. Her expertise is in the design of novel technologies for learning and assessment for mathematics, for students throughout the

K-12 level.

James K. Doyle
Associate Professor of Psychology
Social Science & Policy Studies

I am a social psychologist trained in the interdisciplinary field of judgment and decision making. I am particularly interested in how people develop an understanding of complex environmental and societal problems and how their "mental models" of complex systems can best be studied and improved to aid both personal and public decision making. I firmly believe that environmental and social problems can't be solved without understanding how they are represented in the mind and identifying what cognitive processes people bring to bear upon them.

Kathi Fisler
Computer Science

In both teaching and research, I'm fascinated by how people understand systems and concepts. I love teaching introductory courses, with their challenge to help students gain the perspective of a new field. My research touches on various topics at the intersection of people and how they understand computational systems.

Neil Heffernan
Computer Science

Neil T. Heffernan enjoys doing educational data mining and running the ASSISTments system. ASSISTments helps schools teach better. It’s a web service hosted at WPI that allows teachers to assign nightly homework or daily class work. Students get instant feedback while teachers get live reports. Professor Heffernan enjoys supervising WPI students in creating ASSISTments content and features. He has  6 dozens paper in educational data mining, and 20+ papers in comparing different ways to optimize student learning.

Getting Involved

Getting Involved

WPI’s graduate students find an inclusive and active community. The Graduate Student Government holds events and activities for students to foster involvement and get a pulse on important issues.

Students walking around the fountain in the springtime

After Graduation