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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.

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.

For additional information please see the LLAED Handbook.

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