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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Agricultural and Extension Education (AEE)

Program Home Page

C. DANIEL AZZARA, Interim Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
205 Armsby Building

Degrees Conferred:

Ph.D., M.S., M.Ed.

The Graduate Faculty


Graduate programs emphasize agricultural or extension education (including preparation for employment in college or university programs), youth and family programming, state-level administration, local-level administration, private industry and international education. A minor may be taken in an area of the student's choice or in general studies. Programs may include courses needed for certification in other fields of education.

Admission Requirements

All applicants must submit a letter of application, two or three typewritten pages in length, describing their professional experience, education, career goals, and reasons for pursuing the degree. Applicants must ensure that three departmental recommendation and evaluation forms from individuals knowledgeable about the applicant are forwarded to the department. Only the most qualified applicants will be admitted to the graduate program. The graduate program may provisionally admit selected applicants pending resolution of the requirements listed here or applicants with special skills and experiences. Requirements listed here are in addition to the general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Master's Degrees

Prerequisite for admission to a master's program is a demonstrated professional interest in agricultural and extension education and/or applied youth and family education. Applicants whose junior-senior grade-point average (GPA) is under 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for their baccalaureate degree are required to submit Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores.

Master of science: This program is intended for those who are interested in defining, developing, or evaluating educational programs, both formal or nonformal, through public and private agencies and organizations serving youth, families or the agriculture community.

Master of education: Prerequisite for admission to this program is a minimum of 18 credits in professional education courses (including educational psychology and teaching and/or professional internship) or certification as a teacher of agriculture, or equivalent professional experience, including extension.

Doctoral Degree

An applicant should have a minimum average of 3.40 on a 4.00 scale on all previous graduate work or a minimum combined score of 1000 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE. Two years of appropriate professional experience is required either prior to admission or before the degree is awarded. An interview with the graduate faculty is recommended of all applicants prior to admission into a doctoral program. Applicants to the doctoral program must submit evidence of ability to write a scholarly paper or thesis and demonstrate a teaching-level competence of English.

Master's Degree Requirements

A program of study agreement between adviser and student, including planned course work (approved by the student's committee) and time frame, should be completed before beginning the second semester of study. Successful performance on a four-hour written essay exam, plus a one-hour oral exam, is required of all M.S. and M.Ed. candidates near the completion of their course work for the degree. The master's candidate is required to successfully complete an oral defense of a paper or thesis.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Two years of appropriate professional experience is required either prior to admission or before the doctoral degree is completed.

Other Relevant Information

Selection and appointment of a thesis adviser and doctoral committee follows admission to candidacy. The candidate consults the department head or graduate officer in selecting an adviser. The candidate, in cooperation with an adviser, selects the doctoral committee. The chair of the committee is not necessarily the thesis adviser, but the thesis adviser is a member of the committee.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.


Dual-Title Graduate Degree in Agricultural and Extension Education (AEE) and International Agriculture and Development (INTAD)

Graduate students with research and educational interests in international agriculture extension and education may apply to the Agricultural and Extension Education/INTAD Dual-Title Doctoral Degree Program. The goal of the dual-title degree AEE/INTAD Ph.D. program is to enable graduate students from AEE to acquire the knowledge and skills of their primary area of specialization in AEE, while at the same time gaining the perspective and methods needed to work internationally. Graduate study in this program seeks to prepare students to assume leadership roles in developing contemporary curricula and programs, conducting high quality research and development activities, and disseminating new knowledge in these areas in both national and international settings. Students are required to write research proposals and expected to write grants to support their research activities, reflecting the dual-title degree. As part of their professional development presentations, publication of research articles and active participation in professional societies is expected. Emphasis is placed upon the professional development of the student.

Admission Requirements

A student must first apply and be admitted to the AEE graduate program and the Graduate School at Penn State. For admission a student should have a strong background in agricultural and extension education, educational theory and policy, and teaching methods. Courses in research and statistics are recommended. Once accepted into the AEE program, the student can then request admission to the dual-title program by providing a statement of intent to the INTAD Academic Program Committee for the dual-title degree program. The application consists of a written personal statement indicating the career goals a student hopes to accomplish by earning a dual-title AEE/INTAD degree.

Further information about the admissions process will be posted on

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. International applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test. The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for a dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the Agricultural and Extension Education program in which they are primarily enrolled. In addition, they must satisfy the requirements described below, determined by the student, their INTAD advisor, and their AEE program advisor.

Degree Requirements for ENT/INTAD Dual-Title M.S.

The Master's in AEE/INTAD is a dual-title degree awarded to students who are admitted to both the AEE master's program and admitted to the dual-title degree in INTAD. In addition to the requirements of the AEE degree:

Course Requirements

Complete a minimum of 12 INTAD course credits (400, 500 or 800-level) as follows:

9 credits from the core curriculum:

  • Program Design and Delivery (AEE 450, 3 credits)
  • Leadership Development (CEDEV/R SOC/AEE 505, 3 credits, on-line)
  • International Agricultural Development Seminar (INTAD 820, 3 credits)

3 credits of internship or applied courses/independent studies with international development content


Students pursuing a Master of Science (M.S.) must write a master's thesis on a topic that reflects both the graduate program in agricultural and extension education and the dual-title offering in INTAD. All members of the student’s committee for the dual-title master's degree will be members of the graduate faculty. The committee must include at least one graduate faculty member from INTAD. A Degree Committee form should be filed upon selection of the committee members and should be approved by the INTAD Academic Program Committee Co-chair.

Final Examination

Candidates for the INTAD dual-title M.S. degree will also be required to pass a final oral examination covering the general field of AEE and also include elements of INTAD, with emphasis on the student's area of specialization. The oral exam is to be administered by the student's thesis committee. A favorable vote of a two-thirds majority is necessary for passing.

Some courses may satisfy both the graduate primary program requirements and those of the INTAD program. Final course selection is determined by the students in consultation with their INTAD advisors and their major program advisors. Students and advisors should maintain the INTAD Masterss Degree Plan of Study, which must be submitted to the INTAD program office two months before the student files the "Intent to Graduate" via eLion.

Degree Requirements for ENT/INTAD Dual-Title Ph.D.

The doctoral degree in Agricultural and Extension Education and INTAD is a dual-title degree awarded only to students who are admitted to the AEE doctoral program and admitted to the dual-title degree in INTAD. The minimum course requirements for the dual-title Ph.D. degree in AEE and INTAD, in addition to the AEE Department requirements, are as follows:

Course Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 18 INTAD graduate course credits with study in the following curriculum categories:

9 credits from core INTAD courses including

  • International Agricultural Development Seminar (INTAD 820, 3 credits)
  • International Rural Social Change (R SOC 517, 3 credits)
  • Human Dimensions fo Natural Resources (R SOC 555, 3 credits)
  • OR
  • Sociology of Agriculture (R SOC 508, 3 credits)

9 credits from INTAD elective curriculum/courses with international development content/internships/independent study

Graduates of the dual-title INTAD master's degree program who wish to pursue an INTAD doctoral degree must re-apply to the INTAD program for admission. INTAD master's degree credits may be carried over to the doctoral program. Six additional INTAD credits will be required. INTAD master's degree graduates who pursue an INTAD Ph.D. are required to take the INTAD 820 International Agricultural Development Seminar a second time.


Candidacy procedures will be based on the procedures of the major department and will have an international dimension. Although not encouraged, the dual-title degree student may require an additional semester or more to fulfill requirements for the dual-title degree program. Therefore, under exceptional circumstances, the candidacy exam may be delayed at the discretion of the student advisor in consultation with the INTAD program coordinators.

Committee Composition

The doctoral committee of a Ph.D. dual-title degree student must include a minimum of four faculty members, i.e., the chair and at least three additional members, all of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty; and the committee must include at least one representative from the INTAD Program faculty. The chair of the committee can be a member of both the Major Program and the INTAD Program faculty. If the chair is not an INTAD Program faculty member, the INTAD representative must be the co-chair of the committee. An official "outside member" also must be appointed to the committee.

Comprehensive Exam

At the end of the coursework, candidates for the dual-title doctoral degree in AEE and INTAD will be required to pass an oral comprehensive examination based on their thesis proposal and area of specialization in agricultural and extension education, while reflecting their dual-title degree curriculum. A separate comprehensive examination is not required by the INTAD program, but a section of the exam must be on international agriculture and the INTAD representative on the student's doctoral committee must have input into the development of and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Dissertation and Dissertation Defense

Ph.D. students enrolled in the dual-title degree program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that reflects their original research and education in both Agricultural and Extension Education and International Agriculture and Development. The dissertation should contribute to the body of knowledge in international agriculture. A public oral presentation of the dissertation is required.

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400-499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up for deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education by not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

International Agriculture and Development Course (INTAD) course list


Last Revised by the Department: Summer Session 2011

Blue Sheet Item #: 39-07-005

Review Date: 06/21/2011

Faculty linked: 5/12/14


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