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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

Academic Year: 2018-2019

Quantitative Methods (1 course/4 credits)

  • Empirical Methods: Intro to Statistics for Educational Research (fall)
  • S040 Introductory and Intermediate Statistic for Educational Research (fall) 
  • S030 Intermediate Statistics: Applied Linear Regression (spring)

MBE Foundation Courses (4 courses in total/16 credits)

List 1: (2 courses/8 credits)

  • AH125 Science-Driven Innovation in the Early Childhood Ecosystem (fall)
  • H112 Cognitive Neuroscience and Education (fall)
  • H126 Typical and Atypical Neurodevelopment (fall)
  • H140A Empirical Research in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience (fall)
  • H206 Developmental Theories of Change (fall)
  • H250 Developmental Psychology (fall)
  • S105 Philosophy of Education (fall)
  • T560 Universal Design for Learning (fall)
  • HT108 Individuality and Personalization in Education (spring)
  • T543 Applying Cognitive Science to Learning and Teaching (spring)
  • T810A Cultivating Public Engagement with Science: Challenges and Opportunities for Educators (spring)

List 2: (2 courses/8 credits)

  • Any courses from List 1
  • A117 Implementing Inclusive Education (fall)
  • H700 From Language to Literacy (fall)
  • HT500 Growing up in a Media World (fall)
  • S121 Art and Understanding (fall)
  • T514 Multi-Modal Learning Analytics (fall)
  • T550 Designing for Learning by Creating (fall)
  • HT107 Topics in Educational Psychology (January)
  • H110G Learning in a Globalizing World: Language Acquisition, Cultural Awareness, and Cognitive Justice (January)
  • HT113 Research Practicum for Microschools (January)
  • AH103 Educational Outcomes in Cross-National and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (spring)
  • H137 Emotion in Development and Learning: Usable Knowledge, Variability, and Context (spring)
  • H208 Empowering Human Relationships Across Developmental Contexts (spring)
  • H606 Mindfulness for Educators (spring)
  • H611 Moral Adults: Moral Children (spring)
  • H614 Understanding Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: The Core of a Good Education (spring)
  • H860 Reading Difficulties (spring)
  • T139 Investigating Learning and Teaching Through Close Collaborative Examination of Student and Teacher Work (spring)
  • T519 Digital Fabrication and Making in Education (spring) 

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.

Cara Salomone

The Power of the Individual: Cara Salomone, MBE'19

The Intellectual Contribution Award recipient for Mind, Brain, and Education reflects on her time at HGSE and looks toward the future.

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.

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.

Introduce Yourself

Receive tailored admissions information about upcoming programs, events, and opportunities to connect with us.

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.