Lifelong Learning and Adult Education

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

The candidate must apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT), are required for admission. Either the GRE or MAT score is accepted for the D.Ed. and M.Ed. programs, but GRE scores are preferred. The Ph.D. program accepts only the GRE. At the discretion of a graduate program, a student may be admitted provisionally for graduate study in the program without these scores.

The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces that are available for new students. Applicants with a total Verbal and Quantitative score above 302 on the GRE or 398 or above on the MAT, a junior/senior grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or above (on a 4.00 scale), and a graduate GPA of 3.50 or above will be highly considered applications to the program. However, applicants with strong backgrounds and abilities in areas of particular interest or relevance to adult education practice may be admitted to either of the doctoral programs with a baccalaureate degree only (provided the junior/senior GPA is at least 3.0), or with master's-level studies in which the graduate GPA is at least 3.2 and the GRE total score is at least 297.

A sample of student writing is required for each degree. M.Ed. applicants submit a recent writing sample, such as a term paper, report, or publication of 3000 words or more. Ph.D. and D.Ed. applicants should submit either a published article, master's paper, master's thesis, or a paper from their master's studies.

Three letters of reference are required from people who are best qualified to evaluate the applicant's ability to succeed in graduate study. These letters may be from an academic adviser, instructors who are familiar with the applicant's academic record, a research project supervisor, an employment supervisor, or others who are able to provide a substantive evaluation of the applicant's work. Letters of recommendation must address the applicant's academic ability, motivation, and likelihood of success in completing the program.

A statement of purpose describing the applicant's short and long range career objectives is required. This statement includes an explanation of how the proposed study of adult education relates to the stated career objectives.

Applicants who exhibit exceptional qualities without meeting all of the stated requirements for admission may be considered for provisional admission while they remove the identified deficiencies. Deficiencies must be rectified within the first two semesters of enrollment in the degree program; courses taken to remove deficiencies are considered to be prerequisites and do not earn credit toward the degree.

Degree Requirements

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

A minimum of 30 credits is required for the M.Ed. degree. A minimum of 18 credits out of the 30 must be taken at the 500- or 800-level, with a minimum of 6 credits at the 500-level, and a minimum of 24 credits must be in ADTED prefix courses. The M.Ed. program in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education consists of a required core of 12 credits in ADTED courses and 18 credits in ADTED or other electives. 

Required Courses
ADTED 460Introduction to Lifelong Learning and Adult Education3
ADTED 505The Teaching of Adults3
ADTED 542Perspectives on Adult Learning Theory3
Electives
Select an additional 18 credits (six courses) from the following ADTED courses in consultation with your adviser: 1 18
Introduction to Family Literacy
Adult Literacy
Introduction to Distance Education
Teaching Math and Numeracy to Adults
Foundations of Medical Education
Program and Instructional Design in Medical Education
Program Planning in Adult Education
Research and Evaluation in Adult Education
Language, Literacy, Identity, and Culture in a Global Context
Historical and Social Issues in Adult Education
Course Design and Development in Distance Education
Research and Evaluation in Distance Education
Global Online and Distance Education
Teaching Reading to College Students and Adults
Administration of Adult Education
Social Theory and Lifelong Learning
Culminating Experience
ADTED 588Professional Seminar: Research and Adult Education3
Total Credits30

M.Ed. students are required to write a master's paper as part of the required 30 credits of course work. Students complete the master's paper while enrolled in ADTED 588 during their last semester. 

M.Ed. students must select either the general M.Ed. degree or one of the three formal options:

  1. Adult Basic Education and Literacy
  2. Global and Online Distance Education
  3. Medical and Heatlh Professions

M.Ed. students who select a formal option must adhere to the requirements specified below.

Adult Basic Education and Literacy Option

The M.Ed. in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education – Adult Basic Education and Literacy Option consists of a required core of 12 credits in ADTED courses, 12 credits in ADTED courses required for this option, and 6 credits of ADTED or other electives.

Required Courses
ADTED 460Introduction to Lifelong Learning and Adult Education3
ADTED 505The Teaching of Adults3
ADTED 542Perspectives on Adult Learning Theory3
Required Option Courses
ADTED 480Teaching Math and Numeracy to Adults3
ADTED 507Research and Evaluation in Adult Education3
ADTED 509Language, Literacy, Identity, and Culture in a Global Context3
ADTED 560Teaching Reading to College Students and Adults3
Electives
Select an additional 6 credits (two courses) of the following ADTED courses in consultation with your adviser: 1 6
Introduction to Family Literacy
Adult Literacy
Introduction to Distance Education
Program Planning in Adult Education
Historical and Social Issues in Adult Education
Course Design and Development in Distance Education
Global Online and Distance Education
Administration of Adult Education
Social Theory and Lifelong Learning
Culminating Experience
ADTED 588Professional Seminar: Research and Adult Education3
Total Credits30

Global Online and Distance Education Option

The M.Ed. in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education – Global Online and Distance Education Option consists of a required core of 12 credits in ADTED courses, 12 credits in ADTED courses required for this option, and 6 credits of ADTED or other electives.

Required Courses
ADTED 460Introduction to Lifelong Learning and Adult Education3
ADTED 505The Teaching of Adults3
ADTED 542Perspectives on Adult Learning Theory3
Required Option Courses
ADTED 470Introduction to Distance Education3
ADTED 531Course Design and Development in Distance Education3
ADTED 532Research and Evaluation in Distance Education3
ADTED 533Global Online and Distance Education3
Electives
Select an additional 6 credits (two courses) from the following courses in consultation with your adviser: 1 6
Program Planning in Adult Education
Historical and Social Issues in Adult Education
Administration of Adult Education
Social Theory and Lifelong Learning
Culminating Experience
ADTED 588Professional Seminar: Research and Adult Education3
Total Credits30

Medical and Health Professions Option

The M.Ed. in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education – Medical and Health Professions Option consists of a required core of 12 credits in ADTED courses, 9 credits in ADTED courses required for this option, and 9 credits of ADTED or other electives.

Required Courses
ADTED 460Introduction to Lifelong Learning and Adult Education3
ADTED 505The Teaching of Adults3
ADTED 542Perspectives on Adult Learning Theory3
Required Option Courses
ADTED 501Foundations of Medical Education3
ADTED 502Program and Instructional Design in Medical Education3
ADTED 507Research and Evaluation in Adult Education3
Electives
Select at least 3 additional credits (one course) from the following ADTED courses in consultation with your adviser: 1 3
Introduction to Distance Education
Historical and Social Issues in Adult Education
Course Design and Development in Distance Education
Global Online and Distance Education
Administration of Adult Education
Social Theory and Lifelong Learning
Select an additional 6 credits of electives in consultation with your adviser.6
Culminating Experience
ADTED 588Professional Seminar: Research and Adult Education3
Total Credits30

Doctor of Education (D.Ed.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

A minimum of 60 credits beyond the master’s degree is required for the D.Ed. degree. A minimum of 90 credits is required for the D.Ed. degree, of which at least 30 must be earned in residence at either University Park or Penn State Harrisburg. D.Ed. students who do not have previous experience in adult education are expected to acquire the equivalent of one year of experience in one or more fields of adult education practice prior to receiving their D.Ed. degree. All doctoral students must pass a qualifying examination, a comprehensive written and oral examination, and a final oral examination. To earn the D.Ed. degree, doctoral students must also write a dissertation that is accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

The qualifying examination is administered after when the student has earned a total of at least 30 credits toward the graduate degree, including the master’s program and graduate work done elsewhere. During the comprehensive examination, in addition to being examined in their area of specialization, all D.Ed. students are examined in the core adult education areas. A minimum of 21 credits in course work must be taken in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education, including:

Required Courses
ADTED 460Introduction to Lifelong Learning and Adult Education3
or ADTED 521 Doctoral Proseminar
ADTED 510Historical and Social Issues in Adult Education3
ADTED 542Perspectives on Adult Learning Theory3
Electives
12 credits of ADTED electives12
A minimum of 15 credits must be taken outside Lifelong Learning and Adult Education as a minor or General Studies option.15
A minimum of 9 credits must be taken in research methods courses, including:9
one graduate-level basic statistics course
Qualitative Research in Adult Education
one course on quantitative design/methods
Culminating Experience
ADTED 600Thesis Research15
or ADTED 610 Thesis Research Off Campus
Total Credits60

D.Ed. students conduct applied research with the goal of improving practice in the general adult education field.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

A minimum of 48 credits beyond the master’s degree is required for the Ph.D. degree. Ph.D. students are required to take:

Required Courses
ADTED 521Doctoral Proseminar3
ADTED 508Globalization and Lifelong Learning3
ADTED 510Historical and Social Issues in Adult Education3
ADTED 542Perspectives on Adult Learning Theory3
Emphasis Area
18 credits in an emphasis area, including at least 6 credits of ADTED electives and at least 9 credits chosen from one or more Supporting Area(s) outside of Lifelong Learning and Adult Education. A list of courses that will count towards the Supporting Areas requirement is maintained by the graduate program office.18
Research
18 research credits, including:18
one graduate-level basic statistics course
Qualitative Research in Adult Education
one course on quantitative design/methods
Total Credits48

In addition, Ph.D. students must fulfill the residency requirement and English competence requirements, must pass qualifying, comprehensive, and final oral examinations, and maintain continuous registration during dissertation research.

Ph.D. students are required to take 12 core credits in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education, 18 credits in an emphasis area that is composed of Lifelong Learning and Adult Education and supporting courses outside Lifelong Learning and Adult Education, and 18 research credits, in addition to the residency requirement, qualifying, comprehensive, and final oral examinations, and continuous registration during the dissertation research. To earn the Ph.D. degree, doctoral students must also write a dissertation that is accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Students in the Ph.D. program focus on research in Globalization and Lifelong Learning, selecting one emphasis area (Distance Education, Literacy for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, Comparative Lifelong Learning, or Learning in Work and Communities). Required research methods courses help students develop the background knowledge and tools to enable them to engage in original research.

Dual-Titles

Dual-Title M.Ed., D.Ed., and Ph.D. in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education and Comparative and International Education

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Comparative and International Education dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Comparative and International Education Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Comparative and International Education prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Comparative and International Education, listed on the Comparative and International Education Bulletin page.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Lifelong Learning and Adult Education and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Comparative and International Education program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both Lifelong Learning and Adult Education and Comparative and International Education. Dual- title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a Lifelong Learning and Adult Education and Comparative and International Education dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Comparative and International Education Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Comparative and International Education, the member of the committee representing Comparative and International Education must be appointed as co-chair. The Comparative and International Education representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their doctoral committee and reflects their original research and education in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education and Comparative and International Education. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Joint Degrees  

Joint M.D./M.Ed. with the college of Medicine

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-211 Joint Degree Programs.

Admission Requirements

Those who wish to apply for admission to the joint M.D./M.Ed. degree program would have to meet the admission requirements for both the M.D./M.Ed. programs. Admissions requirements and applications for admission for Penn State College of Medicine are available at the M.D. Program section of the Penn State College of Medicine website. Prospective students interested in simultaneously pursuing an M.D. and M.Ed. first must apply to the Penn State College of Medicine M.D. program using the national American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application system and indicate their intent to pursue the M.D. degree at Penn State. Applicants are encouraged to identify themselves as candidates for the joint degree program at this time. However, medical students who realize after accepting admission into Penn State’s College of Medicine that they are interested in the joint M.D./M.Ed. can apply for admission to the joint degree during their first three years in the College of Medicine. Given that students will already be enrolled in the College of Medicine it will be possible for faculty to observe their academic record and counsel them on the advisability of the joint degree.

The general admission requirements for the M.Ed. degree are listed on the Admission Requirements tab. Joint M.D./M.Ed. candidates may substitute the MCAT for GRE or MAT scores. After the student has been accepted to the College of Medicine, s/he must apply and be admitted to the Graduate School for admission to the graduate program.

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the M.D. program are listed on the M.D. Program section of the Penn State College of Medicine website. Degree requirements for the M.Ed. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In accordance with the Graduate Council policy on Joint Degree Programs, any nine credits from the M.D. program will meet the substitution requirement into the M.Ed., and any nine credits from the M.Ed. will be accepted into the M.D. program, from among the courses that reflect the interdisciplinary common ground between the two programs. It is to be noted that the course requirements for the joint degree are the same for students admitted to the M.Ed. in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education in the Medical and Health Professions option. If students accepted into the joint degree program are unable to complete the M.D. degree, they are still eligible to receive the M.Ed. degree if all the M.Ed. degree requirements have been satisfied.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

World Campus students in graduate degree programs may be eligible for financial aid. Refer to the Tuition and Financial Aid section of the World Campus website for more information.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 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.

Adult Education (ADTED) Course List

Learning Outcomes

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

  1. Produce a brief, coherent prospectus on a topic area related to lifelong learning and adult education, supported by a logical rationale and relevant bodies of literature that may be used to examine this topic.
  2. Demonstrate and articulate in-depth knowledge of the foundational issues, major theories, and methods that transect the field of lifelong learning and adult education.
  3. Execute a critical review of literature related to a research topic or issue in lifelong learning and adult education, articulate the key features of this review, provide a compelling rationale for pursuing this issue, and describe how to use it to examine the research topic or related issue.
  4. Articulate well-reasoned arguments and ideas with clarity in oral presentations and written formats and use the conventions of the discipline.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the professional and ethical standards for research and practice in the field of lifelong learning and adult education.

Doctor of Education (D.Ed.)

  1. Produce a brief, coherent prospectus on a topic area related to lifelong learning and adult education, supported by a logical rationale and relevant bodies of literature that may be used to examine this topic.
  2. Demonstrate and articulate in-depth knowledge of the foundational issues, major theories, and methods that transect the field of lifelong learning and adult education.
  3. Demonstrate and articulate in-depth knowledge of an area of specialization within, or complementary to, the field of lifelong learning and adult education.
  4. Select a methodology that is appropriate for investigating a particular research problem related to lifelong learning and adult education, articulate the key features of this methodology, provide a compelling rationale for its use, and describe how to use it to examine the research problem.
  5. Design a rigorous research study that articulates a specific research problem, is situated in academic literature relevant to this problem, and employs a methodology appropriate for examining this problem.
  6. Execute, in a rigorous, ethical fashion, an independent research project that significantly furthers knowledge and critically reflective practice in lifelong learning and adult education.
  7. Articulate well-reasoned arguments and ideas with clarity in oral presentations and written formats and use the conventions of the discipline.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of the professional and ethical standards for research and practice in the field of lifelong learning and adult education.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

  1. Produce a brief, coherent prospectus on a topic area related to lifelong learning and adult education, supported by a logical rationale and relevant bodies of literature that may be used to examine this topic.
  2. Demonstrate and articulate in-depth knowledge of the foundational issues, major theories, and methods that transect the field of lifelong learning and adult education.
  3. Demonstrate and articulate in-depth knowledge of an area of specialization within, or complementary to, the field of lifelong learning and adult education.
  4. Select a methodology that is appropriate for investigating a particular research problem related to lifelong learning and adult education, articulate the key features of this methodology, provide a compelling rationale for its use, and describe how to use it to examine the research problem.
  5. Design a rigorous research study that articulates a specific research problem, is situated in academic literature relevant to this problem, and employs a methodology appropriate for examining this problem.
  6. Execute, in a rigorous, ethical fashion, an independent research project that significantly furthers knowledge and theory in lifelong learning and adult education.
  7. Articulate well-reasoned arguments and ideas with clarity in oral presentations and written formats and use the conventions of the discipline.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of the professional and ethical standards for research and practice in the field of lifelong learning and adult education.

Contact

Campus Harrisburg
Graduate Program Head Roy Clariana
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Elizabeth Jean Tisdell
Program Contact

Deborah Louise Klugh
777 W. Harrisburg Pike Middletown
Middletown PA 17057
dlk33@psu.edu
(717) 948-6059

Program Website View
Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Roy Clariana
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Susan Mary Land
Program Contact

Kolette L Shiner
301 Keller Building
University Park PA 16802
klr28@psu.edu
(814) 865-0624

Program Website View
Campus World Campus
Graduate Program Head Roy Clariana
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Susan Mary Land
Program Contact

Whitney A DeShong
303 Keller Building
University Park PA 16802
wad5021@psu.edu
(814) 865-0473

Program Website View