Doctoral Degree Programs

Information on the Ph.D. and D.Ed. program offered in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education in the Penn State College of Education.

The Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Program at Penn State offers two doctoral degrees: D.Ed. and Ph.D.  Newly applying students should visit the How To Apply page for detailed instructions.  Students who have missed a semester and are Resuming Studies or Changing Majors need to complete the resume study/change of major form.  Please click on the following link to view dissertations lead by Adult Education faculty.

The D.Ed. Program APPLY NOW!

The D.Ed. is a practitioner’s degree, geared toward students who intend to pursue careers in the professional practice of adult education. Graduates are qualified to provide leadership in one or more of the following domains of adult education practice: teaching and learning, curriculum and instructional design and development, program planning and administration, or curriculum and/or program evaluation. D.Ed. students receive greater and more extensive preparation than M.Ed. students - thereby qualifying them to assume top-level leadership positions in the practice domains listed above.

D.Ed. students need 60 credits beyond the master’s degree to graduate:

  • 9 credits of Adult Education core courses;
  • 12 credits of Adult Education electives,
  • 15 elective credits chosen from one or more Supporting Area(s) within Penn State,
  • 9 credits of research methods courses,
  • and a doctoral thesis/dissertation that carries 15 course credits.


The Ph.D. Program APPLY NOW!

The Ph.D. is a research degree. Graduates pursue careers in research and scholarly work. Ph.D. students in the adult education program at Penn State share a common focus on ways in which Globalization, and Lifelong Learning movements shape specific adult education practices - in the home, place of worship, workplace, community, and wider society.

Ph.D. students typically take 42 credits beyond the master’s degree to graduate:

  • roughly 9 credits of Adult Education core courses;
  • 6-9 credits of Adult Education electives,
  • 6-9 elective credits chosen from one or more Supporting Area(s) within Penn State,
  • about 18 credits of research methods courses; and a doctoral thesis/dissertation that carries no course credits.

Reflecting the interests and expertise of the faculty, the Ph.D. program has four emphasis areas:

  1. Adult Teaching and Learning
  2. Distance Education
  3. Learning in the Workplace and in the Community
  4. Literacy for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations

 

    Each emphasis area in the Ph.D. program has a minimum course requirement of 15 credits. Nine (9) of the 15 credits may be taken in Adult Education and six (6) from one or more Supporting Area(s) outside of the program. Alternatively, six (6) of the 15 credits may be taken in Adult Education and nine (9) from one or more Supporting Area(s) outside the program. The decision is made by the student’s academic advisor in consultation with the student and her/his doctoral committee.


    ADTED 594 is for “supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis. A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student’s transcript.

    Tell me about the similarities and differences between the Ph.D and D.Ed program and the emphasis areas in the Ph.D program.

    More information can be found about the Adult Education program and the Doctoral Degree in the ADTED Student Handbook.

    If you are ready to proceed to the application but have NOT read the Graduate School requirements, please visit this website.

    If you have read the Graduate School and program requirements and are ready to apply, you may proceed to the application.

    Those students interested in Graduate Assistantships can apply annually, applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.

    You can also check out or Doctoral FAQ section.

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