Workforce Education and Development

Welcome to Workforce Education and Development at Penn State University. We appreciate your interest in our program, one of the oldest academic programs offered by Penn State.

Program Mission

The mission of Penn State’s Workforce Education and Development Program is to promote excellence, opportunity, and leadership among professionals in the field of workforce education and development, including professionals employed in secondary and postsecondary education institutions, social services, employee organizations, and private sector businesses.

Faculty in Workforce Education and Development strive to attain a cost-effective academic program that is recognized nationally as among the best of its type in scholarship, leadership, and professional preparation.

Faculty, students, and alumni are proud of the Workforce Education and Development program, which consistently ranks in the top three of its type in national assessments of program quality.

Undergraduate Programs and Certification

Workforce Education and Development offers a variety of pathways to earn an undergraduate degree with an emphasis in Career and Technical Education (CTE) or Workplace Learning and Performance (WLP). 

The CTE emphasis offers an undergraduate degree through a large off-campus degree and non-degree program leading to two types of certifications: Pennsylvania CTE Teacher Certification and Co-Op Certification.

The WLP emphasis offers flexible programs enabling working professionals to take courses and earn credits in a variety of ways including earning professional certificates, an associate degree, and a baccalaureate degree.

Any questions about Career and Technical Certification, Cooperative Education Certification and undergraduate WFED studies should be directed to Mark Threeton (814-863-5361).


Graduate Program Degrees

Master's of Education (MEd) - University Park

The M.Ed. candidates must complete six credits taken outside of the Workforce Education and Development program and three credits of WF ED elective. A candidate for the M.Ed. must complete three credits of WF ED 59, Individual Studies. and a comprehensive exam. Afull list of program course requirements can be found here.

The culminating experience for the Master of Science (MS) degree is a thesis, essay, or paper acceptable to the student's adviser and graduate program director. An MS candidate must complete the three–credit course WF ED 550, Research in Workforce Education. Candidates who choose to complete a formal thesis that will be submitted to the Graduate School must complete six credits of WF ED 600, Thesis Research. Those choosing to complete a paper or an essay must enroll in a minimum of three credits of WF ED 596, Individual Studies. Students must be enrolled during all semesters in which they are working on the manuscript. A full list of program course requirements can be found here

The Masters of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Organization Development and Change is an online degree aimed toward professionals in fields such as talent management, corporate development and performance improvement in government, nonprofit organizations and industry. The program is designed with an international focus, ensuring that students are exposed to global issues and the way change is occurring around the world and will emphasize the importance of technology when it comes to facilitating change.

Students in the OD&C program will have the opportunity to build portfolios, collections of work samples that they have accumulated throughout their programs that they can share with prospective employers.  Classes are planned to start in summer of 2014, more details can found on our course list.

The M.P.S. in Organization Development and Change is a degree offering of the Workforce Education program in the Department of Learning and Performance Systems in the Penn State College of Education. It is offered as an online degree program through the Penn State World Campus.

For more information on the program and faculty, please contact the OD&C program staff assistant: 

The Pennsylvania State University Workforce Education and Development program offers a graduate degree program leading to degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Students interested in this program should be employed in or aspire to be employed as faculty, trainers, administrators, or researchers in education-for-work settings such as business, industry, health fields, occupational home economics, cooperative education, youth apprenticeship, or employment and training.

The PhD degree requires, among other matters:

  • Maintenance of satisfactory scholarship, with a minimum grade-point average of 3.00 for work done at the University;
  • Completion of Scholarship and Research Integrity (SARI) requirements
  • Attainment of doctoral candidacy status;
  • High-level competence in the use of the English language, including reading, writing, and speaking;
  • Over some twelve-month period during the interval between admission to the PhD program and completion of the PhD program, enrollment at least two semesters (summer sessions are not included) as a registered full-time student engaged in academic work at the University Park campus;
  • Completion of research requirements, in lieu of typical communication and foreign language requirements for most PhD programs;
  • Completion of the PhD program, including acceptance of the doctoral dissertation, within eight years from the date of attainment of doctoral candidacy status; and
  • Successful completion of a comprehensive examination, acceptance of a dissertation, and completion of a final oral examination for the PhD degree.

Requirements of emphases within the PhD program can be found in the Workforce Education and Development Handbook.

To find out what Workforce Education and Development graduate courses are offered and when:
Workforce Education and Development Graduate Course Scheduling Sequence

PhD students are eligible to compete for a limited number of graduate assistantships that may become available to serve the research, teaching, and service missions of the Workforce Education and Development program. The regular graduate faculty for the Workforce Education and Development program consider applications in the light of faculty needs and availability of University funding for graduate assistantships. Applications are due on January 15 for assistantships that could be awarded for the upcoming academic year. Workforce Education and Development Graduate Assistantship Application.

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.