Electives and Cognates


Both the Ed.S. and Ed.D. programs require students to complete credits that count for "electives" and credits that count toward a cognate. The Ed.S. program requires 9 elective credits and 9 cognate credits, and the Ed.D. program calls for 12 elective credits and 9 cognate credits.

The purpose of the cognate courses is for students to deepen students' knowledge and skills in a particular topic area in our field. The purpose of the electives is to broaden students' knowledge and/or skills in the field of educational technology.

The Similarities & Differences

Similarities: All cognate and elective courses can be chosen from among the 500 and 600 level courses we offer through Educational Technology, though students might also take graduate classes via other degree programs offered at the university, such Organizational Performance and Workplace Technology.

Differences: Whereas the elective classes do not have to be connected to one another in terms of subject or theme, the cognate classes must have a similar thread with respect to topic area, skill set, etc. There is no specific path for the cognate - it can be comprised of any three courses we offer (or have been take elsewhere) that constitute an identifiable theme. In some cases, these themes make up a graduate certificate we offer, but a student does *not* have to be enrolled in the certificate program in order to take those classes.

Note: If you wish to earn a graduate certificate and complete the cognate currently, that is fine, but you *must* be admitted to the certificate program no later than after 1 course for it has been completed.

Cognate Examples

As noted, electives can be any combination of classes that are used from transfer hours or even taken from another department. The cognate can be completed via transfer hours IF the courses are Ed Tech (or similarly named "instructional technology / design") specific.

If one is only looking at courses offered by Ed Tech, then some examples of cognates include of:

  • Online Learning (Adult)
  • Online Learning (K12)
  • Games & Simulations
  • Instructional Design
  • Technology Integration
  • Technology Coordination
  • Multimedia Development

Can I transfer elective or cognate credits from outside Boise State?

If the graduate credit hours meet all Graduate College and departmental requirements (see Transfer Courses), then yes, it is possible. However, the courses transferred for the cognate MUST be directly related to educational technology.

Can I transfer elective or cognate credits earned in the Ed.S. to the Ed.D. should I be admitted to it?

Yes. All elective and cognate hours earned at Boise State University can be applied to our Ed.D. Only up to 33 total hours can be transferred, however, so