Skip to Content


You have courses in your cart

Master the design and creation of education, training, and development programs for the adult learner in professional and academic environments.

Program Type


Semester Start

Fall, Spring

Study Options


Minimum Duration

2 Years

UMass Boston’s Instructional Design MEd focuses on the creation of education, training, and development programs for adults in both professional and academic environments. It’s designed for educational professionals, corporate training specialists, consultants, and other educational design mavens who want to hone their skills and add a certification to their résumé. Explore cutting-edge learning technologies and develop instructional strategies and skills to facilitate adult learning and use educational media and technology to enhance learning. Apply these skills to virtually any field —  business and industry, schools and colleges, government agencies and the military, health care organizations, religious institutions, and professional societies.

UMass Boston’s MEd Program in Instructional Design offers a practical master’s degree that is ideal for career professionals engaged in the education, training, and development of adult learners in the work place. This multi-disciplinary academic program provides students with a dynamic learning process through a comprehensive course of study that gives equal importance to both the planning and the delivery of adult instruction.

Applications of instructional design can be seen today in business and industry; in schools and colleges, government agencies, and the military; in health care organizations, religious institutions, and professional societies. Using the principles and practices of adult education, the program’s theoretical and applied courses concentrate in three areas:

  • Building a foundation and conceptual framework for the instructional design process
  • Developing instructional strategies and skills to facilitate adult learning
  • Using educational media and technology to enhance learning

Ranked as one of the Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News & World Report.

Ranked as one of the Best Online Graduate Education Programs for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report.

Ranked #11 in Best Value Schools' Best 15 Masters in Instructional Design Programs in 2021 list.


  • This program consists of twelve 3-credit courses, or 36 credits.
  • Online tuition is $575 per credit.
  • Total estimated tuition cost to complete this program is $20,700.
  • Estimate is based on completing program by minimum duration. Other fees may apply. Request Info to connect with a program representative for further details.


  • July 1 for fall, November 1 (priority deadline) and December 1 (final deadline) for spring
  • Please note: All Admissions Criteria should be completed by the stated deadlines.

Application Checklist

  • A personal interview with the program faculty (email for an appointment before applying)
  • A statement of interests and intent (see requirements in Graduate Application)
  • Two letters of recommendation from former teachers familiar with your recent academic work, or from employers familiar with your professional ability
  • An updated résumé
  • Official transcripts of all previous undergrad and graduate work

Required Courses:

  • Foundations in Instructional Design and Learning Technologies (INSDSG601)
    Get an introduction to the field of instructional design. Various instructional design models are analyzed theories are introduced, and learning technologies are explored. As a final project, students complete an instructional design plan for a learning or training event.
  • The Adult as Learner (INSDSG602)
    Research the practices and theoretical underpinnings of adult learning. An experiential process allows students to increase their understanding and ability to apply theories of adult learning, to set appropriate learning climates conducive to the characteristics of adult learners, and to become familiar with a variety of existing and emerging tools and techniques for facilitation the adult learning process.
  • Communication Theory and Practice (INSDSG604)
    Apply communications theory and strategies to organizational environments and learning contexts. The course addresses theories of media communication and the study of communication as applied to instructional design.
  • Using Primary Research for Evidence-Based Practice (INSDSG607)
    Examine how understanding data, research methodology, and research reports can contribute to informed evidence-based practice in instructional design. Become familiar with the processes and vocabulary of research designs, including the questions, methodologies and standards of validity and reliability. Learn to formulate a unique research question and look to academic sources to answer that question. Understand how to locate, critically read and evaluate research reports, and synthesize research findings to inform design practice.
  • Planning, Design and Development of eLearning (INSDSG640)
    Get an overview of the process of designing and developing eLearning. Learn how to define the characteristics of effective eLearning, and look at the implementation of sound instructional design principles in designing and developing digital learning experiences. Explore various activity types and their learning contexts. Examine the role of the instructional designer working in multidisciplinary teams involving diverse stakeholders.
  • Assessment and Evaluation in the Instructional Design Process (INSDSG642)
    Explore data collection and analysis in two key aspects of instructional design: the needs analysis phase and the evaluation phase. These two phases not only bookend the instructional design process but are also data-driven decision points by nature. Gain an understanding of methods and approaches of collecting, organizing, and analyzing data through the lens of these two instructional design junctures.
  • Design and Instruction of Online Courses (INSDSG684)
    Examine the critical success factors in designing and delivering online instruction. Through readings, discussion, and various activities, we examine the pedagogical implications of technology-mediated learning, the dynamics of the virtual classroom, the elements of effective online course design, as well as some of the tools and technologies available to create and deliver online instruction. Through group-based and individual project work, students design and create online modules.
  • Capstone Seminar (INSDSG690)
    The capstone project is the culminating activity for the Instructional Design Master's program. In completing the capstone, you’ll identify performance or educational problems and demonstrate expertise in design practice to address those problems. Under the guidance of a capstone advisor, you’ll construct a formal proposal that outlines a complete plan for your capstone work. Once approved, the you’ll design, develop, and implement the project. The outcome of this coursework will be a learning intervention.

Electives (Pick Four):

  • Information Design and Visual Literacy (INSDSG608)
    Explore principles of visual literacy and information design and apply them to instructional design and learning. Topics include the foundations of image processing and visual learning and their practical application to enhance teaching and learning experiences. The role of perception in communication and learning, visual cueing and communications, information design and presentation will be discussed.
  • Video Principles for Instructional Design (INSDSG610)
    Get a comprehensive introduction to video production theory and technique, including the study of principles for analyzing and synthesizing information, and of some basic video instructional formats. The goal is to equip those responsible for developing instructional materials with the skills they need in order to work with video professionals in creating, designing, and producing instructional video programs.
  • Project Management for Instructional Designers (INSDSG634)
    Rarely does an instructional designer work alone. Explore how to use strategic project management in instructional design, including goal setting, diffusion of innovations, the interaction of social and technical interventions, and the arc of project implementation. This course includes three required, synchronous online course meetings, typically scheduled for early Sunday evening eastern time.
  • Universal Course Design (INSDSG646)
    Investigate the principles and theories of universal course design, focusing on access tools for diverse learners with emphasis on learners with disabilities. Explore instructional design tools that can be repurposed to support universally designed learning, such as reusable learning objects, multimedia, and gamification.
  • Designing Your Professional Online Presence (INSDSG651)
    Learn the necessary web-literacy skills to create and maintain a self-hosted website on which to showcase your online digital presence. Produce items for a WordPress-based website such as digital stories describing your unique strengths and differentiators as an instructional designer and educational professional. Develop skills in blogging and publishing of thoughtful opinion; insights on how to build a professional network, how to select signature portfolio pieces to showcase on their website, as well as personal branding and design for learning considerations. Further, the course provides you with proficiencies in self-directed learning in order to support life-long knowledge enhancement.
  • Project in Multimedia (INSDSG655)
    Work with UMass Boston faculty, teachers in cooperating schools, or sponsoring corporations to make a prototype multimedia application or produce a planning document for multimedia implementation in the client organization. You may participate in projects pre-arranged by the instructional technology staff or may generate your own, working individually or in a team.
  • Independent Study (INSDSG696)
    You’ll conduct a comprehensive study of a particular topic or area in instructional design, as determined by your individual needs. Throughout the semester, you’ll work under the guidance and supervision of the instructor. Independent Study is only available with advance permission from the program director.
  • Special Topics in Instructional Design (INSDSG697)
    This advanced course offers you intensive study of selected topics in instructional design. Course content varies according to the topic and will be announced prior to registration.
  • Internship (INSDSG698)
    This internship is a culminating experience in which you assume the responsibility for an instructional design and technology project, a research project, or other work assigned by a host organization or institution. Throughout your internship, you’ll work under the guidance and supervision of both the instructor and the organization for which the project is to be done. Internships are only available with advance permission from the program director.

At the end of this two-year program, you’ll be awarded a Master of Education in Instructional Design. The degree will demonstrate your expertise in the field on your résumé, as well as in interviews and workplace evaluations. This practical master’s degree is ideal for career professionals engaged in the education, training, and development of adult learners in the work place. Upon completion of the program, you’ll be prepared for a career as an instructional designer, corporate trainer, or consultant in a variety of industries and fields.

Recent Graduates

Employers include:

Microsoft      Online Learning Consortium       Apple

Fidelity          Pearson           AETC New England AIDS Education & Training Center Program

Why UMass Boston Online?


Among the lowest online tuition rates of an accredited, public research university.


Study full-time to finish fast, or part-time to suit your schedule. Live sessions scheduled with the working professional in mind.


The same courses taught by the same academic departments as on campus. No third-party providers.

Learn More

Get the inside scoop on the program and connect with the people who run it.

Instructional Design MEd