Adult Education

Welcome page & overview

Welcome to the Adult Education Program at Penn State: one of the leading international programs in the study and practice of adult teaching and learning! As the oldest program of study in the Department of Learning and Performance Systems, Penn State's Adult Education Program has been ranked in the top three university programs around the world for over two decades, in terms of its research productivity by faculty and students. 

Students in ClassroomMore recently, our Adult Education Program was ranked second internationally (among more than 50 programs in a dozen countries), based on the decade of scholarly publication from 1993 to 2002*. Such work is typically the fruit of extended, creative collaboration between our program faculty and our doctoral students.  The diverse backgrounds and interests of our doctoral students and faculty mentors have consistently generated articles on varying issues and topics such as adult teaching and learning, HRD and workplace learning, civic engagement and democratic participation, adult and family literacy, and distance education. Newly emerging areas of interest and publication from our program include aspects of lifelong learning within a rapidly changing, globalized world.

Students of Adult Education develop their ability to teach adults, plan adult learning experiences, guide communities in capacity-building, foster learning for advocacy and action, as well as conduct research regarding the teaching and learning of adults in these settings and beyond.We offer the following degrees:

  • Our M.Ed. via the World Campus
  • Our D.Ed doctoral degree is offered in two locations: at the University Park campus and at Penn State Harrisburg.
  • Our Ph.D doctoral degree is offered on the University Park campus only and requires full-time residency.


Related Academic Programs:


(University Park)
Adult Education
301 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-2596
Fax: (814) 865-0128


(World Campus)
Adult Education
303 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802

Phone: (814) 865-0473
Fax: (814) 865-0128


Adult Education courses are also offered in the evening at many Penn State Continuing Education locations across the state. For further information, please visit

For those students interested in pursuing a dual-title degree program, please see The College of Education's Comparative and International Dual Title Degree Program.




*Rachal, J.R. & David, W.W.V. (2005, May).  Institutional and individual publication productivity in selected adult education journals, 1993-2002.  The Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 19(1), 1-20.