Munich Center of the Learning Sciences

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Program Curriculum

The courses within the program curriculum can be offered either by the MCLS or by the institutions affiliated to the MCLS.
A list with the institutions affiliated to the MCLS is sent every semester along with the schedule.
Students are expected to seek out individually the courses they would like to attend.

The program curriculum consists of:

  • Content related courses (introductory and advanced approaches to the learning sciences, field specific particularities – biology, languages, mathematics)
  • Research methodology courses (advanced statistical procedures, alternative software courses)
  • Key qualification courses (self-management, academic writing and presenting, ethics in research)
  • Interdisciplinary research colloquia (study-accompanying courses for individual feedback)

Additional components:

  • attendance at talks of guest scientists
  • attendance at conferences
  • reporting and coaching (i.e., the supervisory component)
  • research stays abroad
  • doctoral research (including thesis writing)
  • involvement in the realization of the doctoral program 

Content related and methodology courses

During their entire study period, students have to enrol in a minimum of two content-related courses (1a-1g) and two methodology courses (1h). The content of these courses should cover one the following topics: 

1a Course on Neuro-Cognitive Mechanisms of Adaptive Control and Plasticity
1b Course on Conceptual Development and Conceptual Change
1c Course on Emotion, Cognition and Learning
1d Course on Effective Instruction
1e Course on Organizational Learning and Learning Social Systems
1f Course on Technology-Enhanced Learning and Collaboration
1g Course on Behavioral, Affective and Cognitive Dysfunctions
1h Course on Specific Methodologies for Measuring Learning and Change

Key Qualification Courses

During their entire study period, students have to enrol in a minimum of two key qualification courses. The content of these courses should cover one of the following topics:

2a Philosophy of science and implications for scientific work
2b Scientific writing
2c Scientific presentation and discussion
2d Teaching (qualification for higher education didactics)
2e Acquisition of social competencies (including leadership skills)
2f  Ethics of Scientific Research

Interdisciplinary colloquium

The interdisciplinary colloquium is offered every semester. Every doctoral student is expected to present their work at least once a year in the colloquium.

Additional components

Talks by guest professors
Doctoral students are requested to attend at least one guest scientist’s presentation per semester. Students can take a leading role in identifying, inviting and taking care of at least one guest scientist during their participation in the doctoral program.

Participation at conferences
Students are encouraged to attend at least two conferences. It is recommended that the participation at the first international conference is closely related to the “home discipline”; the second conference should represent another discipline (e.g. the discipline of the second advisor) or it should be an interdisciplinary conference. One conference partipation may be linked to the incubator stay (see below).

Report and coaching
It is included here a goal setting and coaching session between the doctoral student and the three supervisors, completed within the first 6 months after enroling in the program, an annual report and a coaching session to evaluate and learn from the last year and to determine the goals for the next year.

Research stays
Research stays abroad for two to four weeks are recommended and should be supported by the advisors.

Doctoral research
The doctoral research typically includes one or more empirical studies with planning, conduction, and data analyses phases. The thesis writing phase should begin within the fifth semester. The thesis should be completed at the end of the sixth semester.

Involvement of young academics in the realization of the doctoral program
It is important that the doctoral students participate in the design and the implementation of the program. They will be required to take over at least one of the following tasks:

  • Teaching. If possible, doctoral students should become familiar with teaching in the university teacher’s role and should receive feedback on this from an advisor. Ideally, the students design a series of 2-3 course sessions on their own topic, discuss the plan with the advisor, revise and implement the plan within a course in the doctoral program.
  • Coordinating, organizing, and evaluating scientific work. To acquire experience in organizing scientific work and collaboration, doctoral students have opportunities to contribute to the implementation of the doctoral program by:
    - identifying, inviting and taking care of a guest scientist
    - organizing a workshop in a team of doctoral students
    - taking part in the evaluation team of the doctoral program