The M.Ed. Degree Program

The M.Ed. in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education at Penn State is a practitioner’s degree. It is geared toward students who intend to pursue careers in the professional practice of lifelong learning and adult education. Graduates are qualified to provide leadership in one or more of the following domains of lifelong learning adult education practice: teaching and learning, curriculum and instructional design and development, program planning and administration, curriculum and/or program evaluation, or lifelong learning and adult education in the health and medical professions.

The M.Ed. may be earned through Penn State’s World Campus, or at the Penn State Harrisburg campus. Most students earn their M.Ed. through part-time study over a period of two to three years. However, full-time students online through World Campus may complete the degree within one academic year. Online Lifelong Learning and Adult Education courses through the World Campus are taught using a blend of Web technology, print, and other media to provide an effective balance of flexibility and interaction. 

Minimum Requirements

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. The 12 core ADTED credits include the following four specified courses: ADTED 460, 505, 542, and 588. Students then choose an additional 18 credits (six courses) from the following ADTED courses in consultation with their adviser: 456, 457, 470, 480, 501, 502, 506, 507, 509, 510, 531, 532, 533, 560, 575, or 581. Other courses may be substituted for these electives with the adviser’s permission.
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.

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. 

While completing M.Ed. credits, a student may simultaneously earn a Certificate in Distance Education, Family Literacy, or Adult Basic Education through the World Campus by completing a specified set of courses, totaling 12 credits within the 30-credit requirement. Students may also simultaneously earn a Certificate in Adult Education in the Health and Medical Professions, totaling 12 credits, at Penn State-Harrisburg.

Master’s Paper

Writing a Master’s paper is the culminating experience for all M.Ed. students. In keeping with the Graduate School’s thesis requirements, the master’s paper is a sign capstone experience, of considerable proportion relative to the program as a whole. It clearly and definitively indicates the M.Ed. student's capacity to acquire, critically analyze, integrate, synthesize, and evaluate information, and draw logical conclusions; and present the experience adequately and professionally in writing. The student’s academic advisor guides her/him through the process.

Formal M.Ed. Options

M.Ed. students must select either the general M.Ed. degree or one of three formal options: (1) Adult Basic Education and Literacy; (2) Global and Online Distance Education; and (3) Medical and Health Professions. All students who choose an M.Ed. Option will complete the same four core courses listed above: ADTED 460 (Introduction to Lifelong Learning and Adult Education), ADTED 505 (Teaching of Adults), ADTED 542 (Perspectives on Adult Learning Theory), and ADTED 588 (Professional Seminar). In addition, they will take required courses and electives as specified below.

Additional information in the LLAED Handbook