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Master's Programs

Learning and Teaching

In the Learning and Teaching (L&T) Program, you will join a diverse cohort of educators striving to make a greater impact in the lives of all learners as schoolwide leaders and education reformers. Together, you will explore topics as varied as school reform and design; arts and technology in the classroom; theories of teaching and learning; adult and adolescent development; race, class, and gender dynamics; as well as the history and future of education in America.

Because the L&T curriculum is both broad and flexible, you can tailor your coursework to fit a wide variety of career goals and organizational settings, both inside and outside of schools. L&T graduates are working as teachers, teaching coaches and mentors, department heads, curriculum specialists, outdoor education directors, technology specialists, professional development consultants, and much more, often pioneering new and dynamic roles within their existing institutions.

Instructional Leadership (IL)

The Instructional Leadership (IL) strand within the L&T Program is designed for K-12 public and independent schools teachers with at least three years of experience who are ready to take on new leadership roles in their schools. The IL curriculum includes courses in curriculum and instruction, school organization, and adult development, as well as one course at the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, HGSE, or another Harvard graduate school that enriches students’ content-area knowledge. In addition, each student completes a hands-on individualized internship with a school or nonprofit organization.

Faculty Director Katherine Boles on the L&T Program:

Message from the Director

Greetings to those of you who wish to learn more about the master’s program in Learning and Teaching.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest and to introduce you to some of the distinctive qualities of our program. As a long-time classroom teacher, and as an advocate for excellence in teaching, I am very excited to serve as the Faculty Director of L&T.

I think you will discover that our program provides a solid core of required courses as well as flexibility and a range of academic options to help educators address their intellectual and professional interests. We are a vital community of faculty and students engaged in multiple approaches to problem-solving and inquiry.

The L&T Master’s program strives to build on the broad experience and myriad interests of its students to create a strong group of scholars whose primary interest is teaching and learning in its many forms.  Students from around the United States and around the world join our program every year, bringing with them their unique experiences and fascinating interests. L&T is an exciting place to be.

The Instructional Leadership strand is designed for individuals who have taught at least three years, seek to increase their knowledge of instruction and curriculum in their subject area (science, mathematics or social studies) or English Language Arts (ELA) at the elementary and secondary levels, and are interested in finding ways to extend their influence beyond the classroom into areas such as coaching, curriculum development or teacher research.

As you can see, the Learning and Teaching Program is designed to meet the needs and interests of a wide range of individuals. I invite you to browse through our website, to visit the superb courses in which our faculty and students work together, and to try to picture yourself in our midst to see if the L&T master’s program might be an appropriate intellectual home for you to accomplish your educational goals.

Thank you for your interest in the Learning and Teaching Program. I invite you to pose questions and share ideas with us. Please review our website, and, if you have further questions please contact the program.

Katherine Boles
Program Co-Director, Learning and Teaching Program
Senior Lecturer on Education

Kathyn Parker Boudett
Program Co-Director, Learning and Teaching Program
Lecturer on Education

Program Highlights

L&T is a full-time, one-year graduate program that prepares teachers and educators of all stripes to have a stronger voice in the design and impact of their organizations. Here are some of the L&T program’s greatest strengths:

Flexibility – With the help of your advisor, you are free to choose eight (8) courses from across the HGSE catalog — and across Harvard University — that provide you with the theoretical grounding and best practices to be an effective teacher and leader in a wide variety of educational settings.

Field experience – All L&T students are encouraged to pursue for-credit internships with public schools and education reform initiatives across Cambridge and Boston. L&T faculty and staff will help you connect with the perfect internship opportunity through the Field Experience Program (FEP).

Cohort and community – You will gain unique insights from the diverse experiences and perspectives of your classmates. The tight-knit sense of community among L&T students extends beyond graduation, building a strong and extensive professional network.


The L&T curriculum is fully customizable to match your academic interests and professional goals. To graduate, you need to complete 32 credits through the following distribution of courses:


You will complete eight courses (32 credits) in the following categories:

  • Five courses from the list of L&T–approved courses
    • We strongly encourage that two of these courses come from the list of core/foundational courses
    • This list is meant to guide you, not limit you. If you find courses that align with your personal goals that are not included on this list, you are welcome to petition to have those courses count toward the requirements
    • One course should address the topic of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Three electives

Core/Foundational Courses

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

View all courses in the Academic Catalogue.

Choose from the following HGSE courses

View all courses in the Academic Catalogue.


You are free to cross-register for up to three (3) elective courses outside of HGSE. Learn more about course offerings at other Harvard schools, including:


A for-credit internship through the HGSE Field Experience Program (FEP) is an incredible opportunity to get hands-on experience in specific school leadership roles, including: mentoring, data analysis, curriculum development, teacher research/action research, or instructional coaching. Below is a sampling of internship sites, showing the range of opportunities available in public and private schools, non-profits, technology, and research:


The core members of the L&T faculty bring the latest research from cognitive science, the social sciences, developmental psychology, and pedagogy to bear on the study and practice of effective teaching. L&T faculty scholarship covers topics as diverse as "causal reasoning" and the brain; the study of black and Latino family engagement with schools; school reform and teacher leadership; the history of American education; using collaborative data inquiry to improve teaching and learning; and how an understanding of social psychology can improve teaching and learning in the classroom.


Students are drawn to the L&T program for its broad relevance and application in a variety of educational settings. Many of our students are classroom teachers working in traditional public schools, progressive charter schools, and independent schools. Others come from "non-traditional" learning environments like outdoor/experiential education, museum education, medical schools, and community colleges. Many L&T students are attracted to HGSE for its historic commitment to social justice and greater equity in education. All of our students are academically ambitious, intellectually curious, and driven to make a difference in the lives of learners across the lifespan.


L&T alumni are working in a wide variety of educational leadership roles. Many L&T graduates are teacher leaders in traditional public, charter, independent, and international schools. Other have taken on school-wide roles as instructional leaders, curriculum developers, content coaches, department directors, educational coordinators, ESL coordinators, guidance counselors, and heads of schools. L&T alumni also thrive in out-of-school settings as museum educators, outdoor educators, medical school instructors, and more.

Where Alumni Work


If you are passionate about making an even greater impact in your school, your organization, and the lives of all learners, we want to hear your story. Visit HGSE admissions to learn more about Ed.M. application requirements and deadlines, and to get information about financial aid. Applications are due in January of the academic year you plan to enroll. Please note that admission to the Instructional Leadership (IL) strand requires a minimum of three years of teaching experience.


If you have questions about the admissions process or want to learn more about the benefits of the L&T program, if you have questions about the admissions process or want to learn more about the benefits of the L&T program, please contact the Office of Admissions at  If you have specific questions about L&T program requirements, please contact program coordinator Rilda Kissel at or 617-495-3543.