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Master's Programs

Mind, Brain, and Education

Advances in biology and neuroscience are showing us how a child's brain and cognitive development are shaped by his or her learning experiences and environment. Instead of debating nature versus nurture, we now know that "nature" is much more fluid and complex than we ever imagined. Learning, in turn, affects the brain and its capacities. In the Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE) Program, you will learn how the latest findings in cognitive science bear on fundamental questions of education, such as how people learn and what can we do to improve learning.

MBE students learn to think in terms of systems and develop the skills needed to critically and cautiously examine trends in education that, even if well-intentioned, may be misinformed about current findings in psychology and neuroscience.

Lecturer Todd Rose, faculty director

  • World-Class Faculty – Harvard faculty are pioneers in researching the complex connections between biology, neuroscience, cognitive development, and education. Grounded in practice, effective research starts with asking the right questions. Students learn how research and innovation can be applied to address real-world education challenges.
  • Interdisciplinary by Design – The MBE Program focuses on tackling questions that exist at the intersection of multiple disciplines. The curriculum draws connections between cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, education, anthropology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, and other fields.

Curriculum Information

MBE coursework provides a broad foundation in the science of learning and development, the principles of teaching and learning, and the research methods that allow us to make strong connections between biological processes and educational outcomes. The curriculum is excellent preparation for both academic researchers and professional educators.

You will pursue a course of study that promotes development of interdisciplinary thinking and research analysis skills and allows for customization based on your individual academic and professional goals. You will complete eight courses (32 credits) in total.

View Requirements

List 1: (2 courses/8 credits)

List 2: (2 courses/8 credits)

Electives: courses either at HGSE, Harvard, or MIT through cross-registration (12+ credits)

View all courses and information on cross-registration.


Program Faculty

Harvard faculty members are some of the leading voices in the fascinating  interdisciplinary field of mind, brain, and education. Todd Rose is doing pioneering work in the science of individuality. Charles Nelson III, is studying developmental cognitive neuroscience, neurodevelopmental disorders, and early experience and brain development. Learn more about our extraordinary faculty and how they will help you reach your academic and professional goals. 

Alumni & Student Profiles

MBE graduates are thought leaders and innovators who are actively integrating the fields of cognitive science and education. Alumni teach. They work for state departments of education helping to draft policies that are supported by research in the cognitive sciences. They are doctoral students and faculty members conducting groundbreaking research at colleges and universities around the world. They work for educational software companies, universities, early childhood centers, and nonprofit research organizations. They are educational entrepreneurs. Together, they are putting a new field of inquiry into practice to improve the effectiveness of teaching and the impact of learning.

April Boin Choi

Silent Gestures

With her research, Ph.D. candidate April Boin Choi looks to identify ways to increase early detection of autism in infants.

Jenny Woo

The Power of Conversation

With her game, "52 Essential Conversations," Jenny Woo, Ed.M.'18, has created a tool for parents, caregivers, and teachers to support children's social-emotional development.

Connect with Admissions

More information about our admissions application requirements and instructions, tuition and financial aid, and answers to frequently asked questions is available on our website. If you have additional admissions-related questions, please contact Ernald Furxhi or call 617.495.3414.


Connect with Program Staff

If you have remaining program-specific questions, please contact the MBE program administrator, Mandy Farhoodi-Moberger, or call 617-496-1568.

Virtual Information Sessions

View the Mind, Brain, and Education recorded virtual information session to learn more about the program from faculty, students, and staff.