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 practice domains. The D.Ed. is a credit-driven degree: all D.Ed. students must earn at least 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree to graduate.

D.Ed. students need 60 credits beyond the master’s degree to graduate:

  • 9 credits of Adult Education core courses;
  • 12 credits of Adult Education electives,
  • 15 elective credits chosen from one or more Supporting Area(s) within Penn State,
  • 9 credits of research methods courses,
  • and a doctoral thesis/dissertation that carries 15 course credits.

A breakdown of D.Ed. course requirements follow. The LLAED Handbook provides an Appendix section with samples for the D.Ed. Plan of Studies, Course Sequence, and Checklist. 

Registration for Thesis Research:

As noted earlier, D.Ed. students must complete 15 credits of Thesis Research (ADTED 600 or ADTED 610, as appropriate). Unlike their Ph.D. counterparts, D.Ed. students are not required to continuously register for Thesis Research. However, while using the resources (including faculty advisement) of the university, they must be registered for at least one (1) thesis credit (ADTED 601/610). The number of thesis credits a D.Ed. student carries each semester (including summer) is determined by her/his thesis advisor in consultation with the student. Registration for Thesis Research continues until the D.Ed. student has completed the dissertation even if the minimum number of thesis credits is exceeded.

For additional information please see the LLAED Handbook.