Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology

Admission Requirements

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Admission Requirements

The innovative, online Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology program is an invaluable professional growth experience for qualified applicants seeking to position themselves for expanding career opportunities in the world of education and training.

With advances in technology already creating new opportunities for easy, online access to education programs and training materials, the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the transition to online learning into overdrive.

Public and private schools, universities and all types of educational facilities are pivoting to provide online learning. Companies across countless industries are now investing in online training, too. This creates a landscape of opportunity for passionate lifelong learners who have the right experience, education and skills.

So, who are the ideal candidates for the University of San Diego’s online Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology (LDT) program?

Ideal Candidates – MS in Learning Design and Technology

While educators and professionals involved in training in any capacity will find value in this program, the LDT master’s degree is focused on candidates with at least two years of professional, post-baccalaureate experience who have a strong interest in Learning Experience Design (LXD) and the technology behind today’s cutting-edge online education.

Degree candidates may come from a variety of professional backgrounds, including:

  • Business professional or admin involved in training/onboarding
  • Individuals looking for well-paying jobs
  • Career changer
  • Postsecondary educator and designer

The MS-LDT program is designed to attract applicants from various areas of education and industry. This includes students who already work in traditional training or educator roles that now require instructional design expertise to adapt to the shifting needs of adult learners in both education and industry.

Candidates for this program are expected to have professional work experience, however, it is recognized that the majority of applicants may not be well-versed in educational theory or online pedagogy. To help ensure that the program is a good fit, each applicant is asked to submit a statement discussing their background, their goals from completing the LDT degree and their ideas about making an impact in a profession that is now more important than ever.

Your Application

Please review the standard admissions expectations below as you prepare your application for the MS in Learning Design and Technology:

If you are interested in applying, but do not meet all of the admissions requirements, please contact an enrollment advisor at (888) 832-0239 or use the chat feature on this page. Our application review process always includes a holistic look at your experience and background, and we understand that a low undergraduate GPA or lack of professional experience is not necessarily indicative of your potential success in our program.

You can find additional information and guidance on preparing your application by visiting our Starting Your Application page.

If you have questions regarding any aspect of the application process, please contact an Enrollment Advisor for assistance.

Applications for admission are accepted on a rolling basis. A decision will be recommended by the Review Committee within one week of your application being submitted.

* Special Note: please anticipate that some colleges and universities can take 2 – 3 weeks to prepare and send official  transcripts. The application packet is not complete until all official transcripts are received.

** Unavailable for international transcripts/degree evaluations and some schools don’t allow transcripts ordered by third parties.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to regulations from the Department of Education, the University of San Diego is unable to enroll students in its online degree programs who reside in Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. This restriction does not apply to applicants interested in a campus-based program.


International applicants must meet additional requirements for admission including:

Important Dates

Below is a list of significant dates regarding the registration process, payment deadlines and other important academic and program deadlines.

Application DeadlineAugust 2
Registration OpensJuly 1
Registration DeadlineAugust 16
Semester BeginsSeptember 3
First Course Start DateSeptember 3
First Course End DateOctober 21
Second Course Start DateOctober 22
Second Course End DateDecember 9
Semester EndsDecember 9
Application DeadlineDecember 2
Registration OpensNovember 1
Registration DeadlineDecember 16
Semester BeginsJanuary 7, 2025
First Course Start DateJanuary 7, 2025
First Course End DateFebruary 24, 2025
Second Course Start DateFebruary 25, 2025
Second Course End DateApril 14, 2025
Semester EndsApril 14, 2025
Application DeadlineApril 4, 2025
Registration OpensMarch 3, 2025
Registration DeadlineApril 18, 2025
Semester BeginsMay 6, 2025
First Course Start DateMay 6, 2025
First Course End DateJune 23, 2025
Second Course Start DateJune 24, 2025
Second Course End DateAugust 11, 2025
Semester EndsAugust 11, 2025

Frequently Asked Questions

Are MS-LDT classes scheduled to accommodate working professionals?

Yes. The Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology degree program is designed specifically with working professionals in mind. The online program can be completed on your own schedule (as long as deadlines are met).

What if my GPA is slightly below the minimum required for admission? Can I still be considered for acceptance?

Absolutely! We understand that you are more than your undergraduate GPA . Your undergraduate GPA may potentially be offset by work experience, an admission essay, or fulfillment of a graduate-level course to show readiness for success in your graduate degree. During your admission interview, our Academic Director will explore your career goals and identify any ways our team might be able to better support you through your graduate studies. Ultimately, our goal is your success. We want to ensure that the students who are admitted to our program have the experience, tools and resources they need to graduate from the program and pursue their career goals.

Does USD offer career development/advising support?

The University of San Diego is committed to steering you on a path toward educational and professional success. Right from the start, you’ll receive support and guidance from experienced University of San Diego advisors who are invested in helping you achieve your education goals!

What is the tuition for the MS-LDT degree program?

Tuition for the MSLDT program is $710 per unit. With a total of 30 units, the full cost of tuition for the program is $21,300.

Tuition amounts shown on this website, or in other university publications or web pages, represent tuition and fees as currently approved. However, the University of San Diego reserves the right to increase or modify tuition and fees without prior notice and to make such modifications applicable to students enrolled at USD at that time as well as to incoming students. In addition, all tuition amounts and fees are subject to change at any time for correction of errors. Please note that the displayed tuition covers only the cost of courses, and additional expenses such as books and other fees are not included.

Are there extra fees?

All students in the online MS-LDT program require current access to Articulate360 software for various assignments and projects. The University of San Diego will issue a one-time, discounted tech fee of $280 for all first-semester students to be granted access to an Articulate360 account. The account suite will grant access to the following tools:

  • Storyline 360, Rise 360, Content Library 360, Review 360, Studio 360, Presenter 360, Quizmaker 360, Engage 360, Replay 360, & Peek 360.

Students that already have access to Articulate360 and the required tools can waive this one-time fee by submitting a Waiver Request Form. (This form will be made available to enrolled students.) Please only submit a waiver if you already have access to the following required tools: Storyline 360, Rise 360, Content Library 360, & Review 360.

  • Mac users will need to (1) download a PC emulation software such as VMWare Fusion in order to access the required program software and (2) have access to Window 10 or newer.

All enrolled students will have access to Articulate360. If you file a Leave of Absence, withdraw/drop a course, or graduate from the program, access will be terminated until you enroll again in the program.

We’ve also compiled a list of free/freemium tools that students can use to complete their assignments. Students will have a Google Drive, Office 365 and YouTube account associated with her USDOne login.

What are the technical requirements for this program?

You must own or have unrestricted access to a computer for this program. Courses will utilize a variety of technologies and multimedia. To complete course activities and to access course content, please verify that you have the following technologies and plug-ins available:

  • Computer: 16 GB, 1.5 GHz Speed I7 + 500 GB external memory (preferably SSD hard disk drive) PC suggested
    • Mac users will need to (1) download a PC emulation software such as VMWare Fusion in order to access the required program software and (2) have access to Windows 10 or newer
  • Browser Plug-ins: Windows Media Player, QuickTime and Adobe Reader
  • Recommended Browsers: Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome (You will want to have 2 browsers for software testing and viewing)

Would a potential employer value a Master of Science over a Master of Education in LD/ID?

A potential employer is not likely to value one degree over the other because they are more interested in demonstrated knowledge, skills and abilities more so than whether your degree is in LD or ID. Employers requiring or preferring that applicants have a master’s degree will be explicit about the skills they are seeking and typically will not distinguish between types of degrees such as MS, MA or MEd degrees.

What makes this program one-of-a-kind and innovative?

The MS-LDT program is designed to provide working adults with a short, fast-paced, but manageable path to entry into the field of instructional/learning design. Some program aspects that may make MS-LDT the right choice for you include the various ways we attend to the needs of adult learners. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Faculty who are subject matter experts and ID practitioners. Our faculty are connected to the field in various ways across various industries.
  • Access to the MS-LDT Academic Director from pre-enrollment to post-graduation
    7-week courses that allow you to complete 6 credits per semester, but focus on one course at a time
  • Active engagement from our student success team members who provide a range of support that will keep you on track and ready to graduate in 20 months
  • Automatic enrollment in your courses each term so you have one less thing to do
  • Course design support by our in-house Learning Design Center which means standards of good online course design is consistent across all MS-LDT courses
  • A focus on preparing you as an instructional design, learning design, and eLearning design practitioner, which means assignments are thoughtfully planned with your future career in mind
  • An emphasis on supporting your effort to build an ID Portfolio that you can present to prospective employers and clients
  • A commitment to staying grounded in foundations of the field (i.e, ID as a process) and being intentional about keeping our students connected to shifts and trends in the field (i.e., embracing design thinking)

Is the main focus of the program online and tech-based learning?

The main focus of the program is on establishing a foundation and building the  knowledge, skills, and abilities that are demonstrated as the competencies expected of ID professionals. While many of the course assignments require the use of eLearning authoring software and other learning technologies, the competencies you develop are grounded in theory about how people learn and are therefore applicable to designing materials for in-person training, synchronous and asynchronous online learning, and eLearning.

How many units is my program?

The online MS-LDT program is a total of 30 units.

Students will enroll in two prescribed courses each semester for a total of six (6) semester units.

Are the University of San Diego’s online master’s degree programs considered full-time or part-time?

All of the University of San Diego’s online graduate degrees provide 6 units per term, making them part-time, or 3/4 time, programs.

Does or will the program include any live (Zoom or in-person) components?

While the program is fully asynchronous, office hours are an opportunity to have live discussions with faculty. The program will offer webinars throughout the year as an opportunity to engage with industry professionals and explore topics in the field.