Search

Graduate degrees in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education are among the most practical - and adaptable - in all of higher education.


The M.Ed and D. Ed. are both practitioner degrees, preparing graduates to apply their expertise effectively in a variety of specialized settings.

The Ph.D. is a research degree and prepares graduates to advance the theoretical foundations, empirical knowledge, and strategic role of adult education not only in the context of higher education but in relation to national and international goals of building civil society and realizing human potentials.

Students have the opportunity to work with faculty on organized research and outreach endeavors, which sometimes involve living outside the U.S. for several weeks at a time. Students may also co-author books, book chapters, journal articles, conference papers, and presentations with faculty.

Examples of opportunities to assist faculty with research include:

  • Initiatives of the adult and family literacy institutes at Penn State
  • Engaging in community capacity building projects in West Philadelphia and Grenada
  • Engaging in consciousness-raising projects with prisoners in central Pennsylvania
  • Planning regional and national adult education conferences
  • Assisting in teaching adult education courses online and in residence

Many graduates of our program become tenured faculty or administrators at one of the numerous universities in North America with strong departments of adult and continuing education. Many other graduates choose work as educational planners, policy-makers, and consultants in such varied contexts as a private business, government and public agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), non-profit organizations, churches and religious organizations, international organizations in many countries (South Korea, Zimbabwe, Barbados, Turkey, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, and Oman to name a few), and community-based groups or initiatives. Specialized areas of practice within the field of adult education include:

  • adult basic education
  • community education & organizing
  • adult & family literacy
  • professional and continuing education
  • distance education
  • human resource development
  • workplace learning
  • informal education
  • educational outreach
  • post-secondary education
  • religious education
  • social advocacy & action

 

Graduate Degrees

The M.Ed. Program

The Lifelong Learning and Adult Education M.Ed. Program has partnered with the World Campus for the online delivery of the program. All M.Ed. students are advised by ADTED program faculty. The M.Ed. degree is 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. At the M.Ed. program website, you will find information about courses, costs, application procedures, contact information, and more.

Apply now!

Doctoral Degree Programs

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

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.

The Ph.D. Program

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.

Apply now!