Workforce Education and Development

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

Program Mission

The mission of Penn State’s Workforce Education and Development (WFED) 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 the program 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.

Doctoral students may choose from three different emphases: human resource development/organization development; school-to-work; and secondary career and technical education leadership. Master's degree students have these three choices, plus an additional emphasis in teacher certification.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Refer to the College of Education's scholarships and financial aid information that is available to support the twenty-first century workforce in transforming our economy for the future of work!

Graduate Certificates and Undergraduate Degree Programs and Certificates

Penn State's OD&C Analytics Graduate Certificate:

Offered as a Residential course for University Park only, can provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to analyze data to make informed decisions in organization development and change initiatives. This critical skill set can help you stand out in a number of industries in today's highly competitive and ever-changing business climate.


In this 9-credit program by selecting any 3 course from the following: WFED 540; 543; 582;and 585. You can build a strong knowledge base in the use of analytics tools and approaches as they relate specifically to organization development and change initiatives. The curriculum will focus on approaches to evaluating organization development and consulting services; assessing and feeding data in organization development; and using labor supply models to evaluate investments. Additionally, you can apply the credits you earn for this certificate toward a Master of Professional Studies in Organization Development and Change.

WFED 540 Data Analysis in Workforce Education and Development

WFED 543 Evaluation of Investments in Workforce Education and Development

WFED 582 Assessing Data: Organizational Diagnosis

WFED 585 Appraising Organization Change and Development Consulting

Organization Development and Change: Occupational Safety and Health (GCT)

Accidents within the workforce and educational environments are metaphorically similar to a line of falling dominos. As one incident occurs, it has the ability to trigger a harmful chain reaction. Therefore this 9-credit Organization Development and Change, Occupational Safety and Health Certificate Program is designed to assist workforce development professionals in building the skills and abilities to create and support workplaces and educational environments free of occupational safety and health hazards. Emphasis is placed on leadership development to promote detection, analysis, and correction of unsafe workplace conditions and procedures


WF ED 573 Needs Assessment for Workforce Development Professionals

WF ED 411 Occupational Safety and Health for Workforce Education and Development Prof.

WF ED 806 Program and Facilities Management for Workforce Development Professionals

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 at [email protected].

Workplace Learning and Performance (WLP) Certificate Programs

Bachelors Degree 1.22.pdf

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Undergraduate Degree Programs

Penn State's Workforce Education and Development program offers certificate programs as well as undergraduate degree programs leading to a Bachelor of Science.


Students interested in these programs leading to the bachelor's degree in Workforce Education and Development should be employed, or wish to be employed, as faculty members, trainers, administrators, or researchers in settings emphasizing education for work in private sector firms, schools, occupational home economics, cooperative education, youth apprenticeship, or employment and training.

Contact Person: Dr. Mark Threeton, [email protected], phone: 814-863-5361

Graduate Degree Programs


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Master of Education (M.Ed.) - University Park

The M.Ed. candidates must complete six credits taken outside of the Workforce Education and Development program and three credits of WFED elective. A candidate for the M.Ed. must complete three credits of WFED 596, Individual Studies and a comprehensive exam. See the full list of program course requirements.


For more information on the program and faculty, please contact the WFED degree graduate staff assistant:


Susan Berzonsky (University Park)
Learning and Performance Systems department
Administrative Support Assistant
301 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-0095
[email protected]


Apply Now!

Master of Science (M.S.) - University Park

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 WFED 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 WFED 600, Thesis Research. Those choosing to complete a paper or an essay must enroll in a minimum of three credits of WFED 596, Individual Studies. Students must be enrolled during all the semesters they are working on the manuscript. See the complete list of program course requirements.


For more information on the program and faculty, please contact the WFED degree graduate staff assistant:


Susan Berzonsky (University Park)
Learning and Performance Systems department
Administrative Support Assistant
301 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-0095
[email protected]



Apply Now!

Master of Professional Studies - World Campus

The Master 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 Organization Development and Change 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. More details on classes can be found on our course list.

The M.P.S. in Organization Development and Change is a degree offering of the Workforce Education and Development 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:

Whitney DeShong (World Campus)
Learning and Performance Systems department
303 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-0473
Fax: (814) 865-0128
[email protected]

facebook PennStateODC


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Doctoral Degree Programs (Ph.D.) - University Park

The Pennsylvania State University Workforce Education and Development (WFED) program offers a graduate degree program leading to degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program and completion of the Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. programs;

 - Completion of the Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. degree.


Requirements of emphases within the Ph.D. program can be found in the WFED Handbook. To find out what WFED graduate courses are offered and when, please see our course list.


Ph.D. 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 WFED program. The regular graduate faculty for the WFED program consider applications in the light of faculty needs and availability of University funding for graduate assistantships. Applications are due on January 29 for assistantships that could be awarded for the upcoming academic year. For more information, see the Graduate Assistantship Application.


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


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


For more information on the program and faculty, please contact the WFED degree graduate staff assistant:


Susan Berzonsky (University Park)
Learning and Performance Systems department
Administrative Support Assistant
301 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-0095
[email protected]


Professional Development

Professional Personnel Development Center (PPDC)

The Center provides teacher preparation, online resources, and in-service programs that prepare Pennsylvanians to meet professional standards as career and technical educators. Through these programs, participants may earn state teacher certification and become eligible to teach technical career programs in career and technical schools in Pennsylvania.


Check out what our Professional Personnel Development Center can do to upskill and reskill you and your workforce.


For more information, please contact:


Kim Cowell
Administrative Support Assistant
409J Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-0804
[email protected]

Additional Information

The WFED/OD&C - PDN website provides a location for program students, faculty, staff, and alumni to facilitate and conduct ongoing networking and professional development activities.

Doctoral Program Admission Deadlines

Doctoral students are accepted for Fall admission. The following are the deadlines:


 - January 29th – those students who want to be considered for funding, please submit the Graduate Assistantship Application.

 - April 15th – deadline for international students. This deadline is due to the time-frame needed for Global Programs to process the International Visa Documentation. The process cannot begin until you have accepted your offer of admission/paid your acceptance fees. Therefore, international students must apply by the April 15th deadline for processing purposes.

 - June 30th – This deadline is for students who do not wish to be considered for funding.


Applicants must have successfully completed a master's degree from an accredited institution, having earned at least a 3.0 grade point average. All students are expected to exhibit:

     - Academic competency,

     - Effectiveness in interpersonal relations,

     - Written, and oral communications.



    Students should be able to document a minimum of two years full-time employment in the workplace. Relevant examples include the following:

     - career and technical education,

     - vocational guidance,

     - industrial training,

     - military technical training,

     - safety education or technical education,

     - or, related experience acceptable to the faculty.


    Step 1:  Graduate School Application

    Complete the online Penn State Graduate School application. Be sure to pay the application fee as outlined on the Graduate School application form. 


    When completing the online Graduate School application, you will be asked to answer a series of questions or provide written statements regarding the following information:

     - Resume or curriculum vitae.

     - Letters of recommendation from two people who are best qualified to evaluate your ability to succeed in graduate study. The Graduate School application will ask you to submit the names of references along with their email addresses. Your reference will receive an email directing them to the site to upload a reference letter. You will be notified via email when they have submitted their letter, however you will not be able to view the letter.

     - A statement of personal career history and objectives for the future and how the Ph.D. degree will help you accomplish your goals.

     - A written statement of your research interests including how this corresponds with WFED faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work with and why.

     - A description of your scholarly or applied research studies or reports that involved data collection and analysis.

     - A description of other activities in which you plan to be engaged during your Ph.D. study other than taking classes to accomplish your career goals.

     - A scholarly writing sample related to Workforce Education and Development, which utilizes the APA 7th Edition Publication Manual.

     - An analytical response to a case study facilitated by the program faculty.


    Step 2:  Workforce Education Development Program Material

     - As part of the online application process, applicants are required to electronically upload a copy of an official transcripts/documents from all post-secondary institutions attended. Upon online acceptance of a program recommendation for admission, applicants will be notified that official/original transcripts/documents must be sent from the originating institutions for review by the Graduate School, in order to finalize an admission decision. 


    Transcripts/documents must be in the official language of the institution(s) attended, but if that language is not English, an official English translation must also be sent. The Graduate School will review all official documents to finalize the offer of admission. An offer of admission will be revoked if official/original documents are not received by the Graduate School within specified deadlines, or if official/original documents differ from the copies uploaded by the applicant prior to the offer of admission. For applicants whose degree conferral is in progress at the time of uploading copies, the deadline specified for receipt of official/original documents will allow for the passage of the reported date of degree conferral, and that conferral must be confirmed on the official/original documents received by the Graduate School, in order for the offer of admission to be finalized.


     - International applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System),with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test.  Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, which requires an institutional test of English proficiency upon first enrollment and, if necessary, remedial course work. The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. Submit official scores using Penn State's Institution Code: 2660. To find out more about the TOEFL Exam visit the TOEFL website. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a master's degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.


    Students taking the TOEFL should use school code 2660 to send scores to Penn State. 


    History and Rankings

    The Workforce Education and Development program originated in 1920 in the School of Engineering and was called the Department of Industrial Education. On June 11, 1923, the Department of Industrial Education moved from the School of Engineering to join three other academic units - Agricultural Education, Education and Psychology, and Home Economics Education - to form the School of Education, now the College of Education.

    In 1925, new graduate programs in Vocational Industrial Education were inaugurated. The first Master's degree in Industrial Education were conferred in August, 1929. In 1939, the first doctoral degree in Industrial Education were conferred upon Edward C. Estabrooke and George H. Parks. These programs now lead to degrees of Master's of Arts, Master's of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy.

    In 1944, the Department of Industrial Education was officially designated as the agency for the State Department of Education for the administration of Occupational Competency Examinations to qualified applicants in central Pennsylvania.

    In 1963, the designation Department of Industrial Education was changed to the Department of Vocational Education. In 1977, the Department of Industrial Education changed its name to the Department of Vocational-Industrial Education.

    In 1994, Dr. Kenneth C. Gray, Professor-in-Charge of Vocational Industrial Education, conducted a contest among the graduate students resulting in a name change from Vocational Industrial Education to Workforce Education and Development. The Workforce Education and Development program at Penn State has been recognized consistently by U.S. News & World Report as being among the top three vocational education programs in the United States.

    In 2014, Dr. William J. Rothwell, SPHR, RIDC, CPLP Fellow Professor, announced a new online Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Organization Development and Change (OD&C).

    Rankings of Penn State's Workforce Education and Development program by U.S. News & World Report

    2018 - Ranked No. 2
    2017 - Ranked No. 2
    2016 - Ranked No. 1
    2015 - Ranked No. 1
    2014 - Ranked No. 1
    2013 - Ranked No. 2
    2012 - Ranked No. 1
    2009 - Ranked No. 3
    2008 - Ranked No. 2
    2007 - Ranked No. 2

    2006 - Ranked No. 1
    2005 - Ranked No. 2
    2004 - Ranked No. 3
    2003 - Ranked No. 3
    2002 - Ranked No. 2
    2001 - Ranked No. 2
    2000 - Ranked No. 2
    1999 - Ranked No. 3
    1998 - Ranked No. 3
    1997 - Ranked No. 3