Doctoral Program in Learning Sciences

Joint EPFL-ETHZ Doctoral Program in Learning Sciences

Call for PhD applications

This is a pre-announcement for the future doctoral program, allowing you to express your interest while waiting for official confirmation

Learning Sciences is an emerging, interdisciplinary research area that focuses on developing a multi-faceted understanding of learning as it happens in the real world, as well as designing, implementing and improving learning environments. Recently several new media have become available for learning (such as AR, VR, tangible interfaces), along with new modes for delivery of content (such as MOOCs), and new methods (such as learning analytics) and instruments (such as eye trackers) to measure learning. Together this information revolution presents new challenges, opportunities and risks to the field of learning sciences. With the backdrop of this dynamic, vibrant research area, we are happy to pre-announce the launch of a new joint EPFL-ETHZ doctoral program in learning sciences (to be confirmed in the coming weeks). After successful defense of their theses, candidates will obtain something unique – a double degree from two premier universities, EPFL and ETHZ, both ranked in the top-15 universities in the world. 


EPFL and ETHZ have been at the forefront of learning and education, including digital learning, for the past two decades and have strong ecologies for research in the learning sciences. The doctoral program will include research and course work. Research will focus on creating novel learning experiences and new approaches to understanding learning processes, using appropriate tools, theories, design and data sciences. PhD students will work at the intersection of these exciting research fields and participate in field research projects, often in collaboration with practitioners in schools and higher education institutes. A typical PhD addresses research questions related to learning and teaching by producing hypotheses, developing methods and tools that operationalize these hypotheses and conducting empirical studies to test their hypotheses. Courses will cover topics in learning theories, research methods, design and learning analytics, along with summer and winter schools to hone students’ knowledge and skills in the learning sciences. Upon graduation, students will go on to become researchers and professors in learning sciences or do instructional design in teaching-learning centers, corporate training departments and informal settings such as museums. They can also be involved in learning and technology policy making at various levels or start-up in the vibrant field of Educational Technology. 

We welcome applications for the first cohort (starting February 2022) of the joint doctoral program in learning sciences between EPFL and ETHZ. Candidates must have a Masters degree in any science or engineering discipline (see admission requirements here) with a strong motivation to work in and change the way learning currently happens. Candidates will be pre-selected by the learning sciences programme committee and then hired by a lab. PhD students have a salary (about 60K) as well as course requirements and TA duties. 

If you are interested in applying to this doctoral programme, or have any additional questions, please contact Aditi Kothiyal <[email protected]> or Sara May <[email protected]>. You may ask to be notified when the official website will be ready. Note that the expected submission date is October 1, 2021.