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Instructional Design for Higher Education

The Instructional Design for Higher Education Specialization will not be offered after Summer Quarter 2020. Individuals interested in earning the specialization certificate must successfully complete all program requirements by this date. If you have any questions, please email or call (949) 824-5592.



The need for instructional designers in higher education is on the rise. Universities and colleges are challenged to find qualified job applicants who have a background specific to higher education course development.

This fully online, short-format professional development program will help you build your skills in instructional design while taking into consideration the specific nuances of working in a higher education environment.

Whether you're an educator exploring an instructional design role or a current designer looking to transition, this 100% online program – taught by industry experts – will provide you with a brand new toolkit of skills and knowledge to help prepare you for a successful career in higher education instructional design.

Who Should Attend

  • Former teachers and educators seeking to transition to an instructional design position outside of the classroom
  • Instructional designers with corporate experience who are looking to transition their skills to an educational environment
  • Staff and faculty at higher education institutions with an interest in instructional design

Career Insight

Occupational summary for instructional coordinators. Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.

Annual Job Openings
Projected Growth
Median Salary
(Highly experienced workers can earn up to $102k)

Program Benefits

  • Apply the foundational principles of learning theory to your own pedagogical approach
  • Adapt the course development process to higher education settings
  • Evaluate the need and application of educational media
  • Identify personal touch points for course facilitation and determine how you will train instructors

Course Schedule

Required Courses

Course Pedagogy & Planning (1.00 Unit)
EDUC X418.1
Course Development (1.00 Unit)
EDUC X418.1
EDUC X418.2
Educational Media (1.00 Unit)
EDUC X418.2
to be scheduled   Online  
EDUC X418.3
Course Facilitation (1.00 Unit)
EDUC X418.3
to be scheduled   Online  

Course schedules are subject to change. Individual courses may be taken without enrolling in the full certificate.

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Academic Calendar

Event Spring 2020 Summer 2020 Fall 2020 Winter 2021
Registration Begins Jan 24 Apr 24 Jul 17 Oct 23
Courses Begin* (week of) Mar 30 Jun 22 Sep 21 Jan 4
Courses End* (week of) Jun 8 Sep 7 Dec 14 Mar 15
Parking Permits Expire Jun 30 Sep 30 Dec 31 Mar 31
Administrative Holidays Mar 27, May 25 Jul 3, Sep 7 Nov 11, Nov 26-27, Dec 24-25, Dec 31 Jan 1, Jan 18, Feb 15

*Actual dates may vary by program.

Learn How To Earn Your Certificate

Specialization Requirements

A specialization certificate is awarded upon successful completion of 4 required courses totaling 4 units. Students must earn a letter grade of “C” or better in each course in order to be eligible for the specialization. To receive your digital certificate, submit a Request for Certificate with a non-refundable $35 application fee after completing all program requirements. All requirements must be completed within five (5) years after the student enrolls in his/her first course. Students not pursuing a specialization award are welcome to take as many individual courses as they wish.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does the program cost?
  • Each course costs $495. There is also a Request for Specialization fee of $35 to be paid upon completion of all required courses. Therefore the entire program costs $2,015. Note that you pay for each class as you enroll, as opposed to the entire tuition sum at once. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • How long will it take me to complete the entire program?
  • That depends on how many classes you can take at once. Given that the courses are short in length, you may take multiple courses a quarter with little to no overlap. By taking 2 courses a quarter, you can complete the program in just 2 quarters/6 months.
  • Do I have to apply and be accepted before I start?
  • No. This is an open-enrollment program, and you will not have to provide transcripts or prove prerequisites before you begin.
  • Where can I find the course schedule? Do I have to take the classes in order?
  • The course schedule can be found here. You can take the classes in any order that you like. If you are new to this field, we recommend starting with Course Pedagogy & Planning and taking the courses in the sequence as shown on the course schedule. Please click on the green “Online” buttons for course information and to enroll. The “to be scheduled” indicates when we plan to offer the course in future quarters.
  • Can I complete the entire program online?
  • Yes, this is a fully online specialization program.
  • I've never taken an online class. How does it work? Is it self-paced?
  • No, the classes are not self-paced. Our online classes take place in an asynchronous online environment, meaning there will not be a day of the week or time of day that you will need to be online. You can log in when you have time to do so. However, the courses are structured week-to-week, from Monday to Sunday, and you are expected to log in multiple times during the week to keep up with class discussions and assignments. For some courses in this program, the instructor may hold optional synchronous sessions which happen in real time. These sessions will be recorded and posted to the course page.
  • I am an international student / I am located overseas – am I able to enroll?
  • Yes. As an open-enrollment program, international students are welcome in the program. Please note that if English is not your native language, enrollment in this program assumes that you have a working proficiency in English to allow you to engage in high-level academic discourse without any additional language coaching. Since the program is fully online, you may enroll in courses via the Continuing Education website at your convenience and on a quarter by quarter basis. You are not required to have a student visa while taking online courses from your home county. We cannot issue an I-20 for fully online programs. Please visit International Programs for more information.
  • Do you offer job placement at the end of the program?
  • No. While UCI DCE does not offer placement services, our certificate certainly puts you in a good position to find employment. Additionally, the networking to be done in the class can also be invaluable.
  • Is UC Irvine Division of Continuing Education an accredited institution?
  • Yes. We are affiliated with the University of California system of schools, and are accredited through WASC. DCE programs are all approved by the respective school within UCI (ie – Human Resources Management classes are approved through UCI's Paul Merage School of Business). Please visit UCI Accreditation for more information.

Advisory Committee

  • Camille Funk, Director, DesignPlus, UCI Division of Continuing Education
  • Ann Kwinn, Instructional Design and Quality Control Specialist, UCR Extension
  • Melissa Loble, Senior Vice President of Customer Success and Partners, Instructure
  • Doron Zinger, Director of CalTeach Program, UCI School of Education

On-site Training Available

Our Corporate Training specialists can deliver this program or customize one that fits your organization’s specific needs. Visit Corporate Training or call (949) 824-1847 for information.

English Proficiency Requirement
All certificate programs at UCI Division of Continuing Education (classroom and online formats) require professional-level English language proficiency in listening and note-taking, reading comprehension and vocabulary, written expression, and oral presentation.

Course Media Development: A New Stage for the Sage
Recorded 5/22/19
View Webinar