Relevant Course Work

Penn State's 30-credit online Master of Education in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education curriculum focuses on the knowledge and skills required to develop professionals who work with adult learners. Each course focuses on preparing you to help adult learners build on their existing knowledge and continue to learn in a purposeful way. The Graduate School policy requires that out of the 30-credit curriculum, at least 6 credits must be taken at the 500 level, and at least 18 credits must be taken at the 500 or 800 level. The Graduate School also requires all students to graduate with a 3.0 GPA or higher and within an eight-year time frame.

Collaborative Experience, Practical Applications

The adult education curriculum uses a blend of web technology, print, and other media to maximize flexibility without sacrificing professor and student interaction. Communication tools, including bulletin boards and email, are used to foster a collaborative environment, providing you with the opportunity to learn from one another about the unique industries and institutions you come from and your varied professional experiences.

The curriculum and course format will help you develop practical applications of the topics you study. Learn online when it is convenient for you, and immediately apply to your job what you've learned.

Course List - Master of Education in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education 

Required Courses

A maximum of 10 credits from graduate course work completed at an external institution may be transferred into a degree program. 

Core Courses Required for all Options — 12 credits
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Introduction to Adult Education ADTED 460 History, methods, agencies, program areas, and problems of adult education in the United States. 3 credits
The Teaching of Adults ADTED 505 Examination of direct and indirect teaching; contracts, application of current technology, andragogy, motivation, evaluation; knowledge of research.

Prerequisite: ADTED 460
3 credits
Perspectives on Adult Learning ADTED 542 Introduction to adult education learning theory, principles, and models of adult learning by adults alone, in groups, and in communities. 3 credits
Professional Seminar: Research and Adult Education ADTED 588 Review of research in adult education, current and past, with analysis of its directions, effects, methodology, quality, financing, and prospects.

This is the capstone course — all other required courses must be taken prior to ADTED 588.
3 credits

General M.Ed. (no formal option)

In addition to the 12 credits of core courses, students will choose 18 credits of electives from this list or other electives in consultation with their adviser for a total of 30 program credits.

Electives (18 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Introduction to Family Literacy ADTED 456 Introduces family literacy concepts, models, and components supporting families; adult, child, and parent education, interactive literacy activities, and case management.

Prerequisites: EDPSY 014, associate degree or 60 undergraduate credits
3 credits
Adult Literacy ADTED 457 Surveys adult basic and literacy research, theory, programming, and instruction; highlights learners' roles as parents, workers, and community members.

Prerequisites: EDPSY 014, associate degree or 60 undergraduate credits
3 credits
Introduction to Distance Education ADTED 470 An introduction to the history, philosophy, organizations, learning theories, and instructional procedures used in American and international distance education. 3 credits
Teaching Math and Numeracy to Adults ADTED 480 Examines issues of learning math as an adult and explores effective strategies for teaching math and numeracy to adults.

Associate degree or 60 undergraduate credits
3 credits
Program Planning in Adult Education ADTED 506 Intensive study of theoretical foundations, policies, evaluation models, methods, and materials in program planning in adult education.

Prerequisites: ADTED 460, ADTED 505
3 credits
Research and Evaluation in Adult Education ADTED 507 Guided discussion and reading in selected research and evaluation methods and trends as applied in adult education settings.

Prerequisite: ADTED 460
3 credits
Language, Literacy, Identity, and Culture in a Global Context ADTED 509 Examines the relationship between issues of language, identity, and culture for adult learners in an increasingly global context.

Prerequisite: ADTED 508  
3 credits
Historical and Social Issues in Adult Education ADTED 510 Social and historical foundations of adult education in the United States and selected nations.

Prerequisite: ADTED 460

Note: It is strongly recommended (required) that students have completed at least 12 credits of related course work prior to taking this course.
3 credits
Global Online and Distance Education ADTED 533 Students will explore the historical and current developments of online and distance education in different regions of the world.

Prerequisite: ADTED 460  
3 credits
Teaching Reading to College Students and Adults ADTED 560 Reading literacy for adults, including college reading, Adult Basic Education (ABE), and General Educational Development (GED) programs.  3 credits
Administration of Adult Education ADTED 575 Organization of a program of adult education; legal status, finances, selection of teachers, learning personnel, housing; other administrative problems. 3 credits
Social Theory and Lifelong Learning ADTED 581 In-depth coverage of social theory, especially as it intersects with research in adult education and lifelong learning. 3 credits

Adult Basic Education and Literacy Option

In addition to the 12 credits of core courses listed above, students will take required courses and electives as specified for a total of 18 option credits.

Required Courses (12 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Teaching Math and Numeracy to Adults ADTED 480 Examines issues of learning math as an adult and explores effective strategies for teaching math and numeracy to adults. 3 credits
Research and Evaluation in Adult Education ADTED 507 Guided discussion and reading in selected research and evaluation methods and trends as applied in adult education settings.

Prerequisite: ADTED 460
3 credits
Language, Literacy, Identity, and Culture in a Global Context ADTED 509 Examines the relationship between issues of language, identity, and culture for adult learners in an increasingly global context.

Prerequisite: ADTED 508  
3 credits
Teaching Reading to College Students and Adults ADTED 560 Reading literacy for adults, including college reading, Adult Basic Education (ABE), and General Educational Development (GED) programs.

Prerequisite: LL ED 440 or teaching experience  
3 credits

Students may choose 6 credits of electives from the list below or other electives in consultation with their adviser.

Electives (6 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Introduction to Family Literacy ADTED 456 Introduces family literacy concepts, models, and components supporting families; adult, child, and parent education, interactive literacy activities, and case management.

Prerequisites: EDPSY 014, associate degree, or 60 undergraduate credits
3 credits
Adult Literacy ADTED 457 Surveys adult basic and literacy education programs and best practices; applies recent research on adult and family literacy.

Prerequisites: EDPSY 014, associate degree, or 60 undergraduate credits
3 credits
Introduction to Distance Education ADTED 470 An introduction to the history, philosophy, organizations, learning theories, and instructional procedures used in American and international distance education. 3 credits
Program Planning in Adult Education ADTED 506 Intensive study of theoretical foundations, policies, evaluation models, methods, and materials in program planning in adult education.

Prerequisites: ADTED 460, ADTED 505  
3 credits
Historical and Social Issues in Adult Education ADTED 510 Social and historical foundations of adult education in the United States and selected nations.

Prerequisite: ADTED 460

Note: It is strongly recommended (required) that students have completed at least 12 credits of related course work prior to taking this course.
3 credits
Course Design and Development in Distance Education ADTED 531 In-depth study of the practices of designing courses taught by print, broadcast, and telecommunications media to adult distance learners.

Prerequisite: ADTED 470, INSYS 415  
3 credits
Global Online and Distance Education ADTED 533 Students will explore the historical and current developments of online and distance education in different regions of the world.

Prerequisite: ADTED 460  
3 credits
Administration of Adult Education ADTED 575 Organization of a program of adult education; legal status, finances, selection of teachers, learning personnel, housing; other administrative problems.

Prerequisite: ADTED 506 or EDLDR 480  
3 credits
Social Theory and Lifelong Learning ADTED 581 In-depth coverage of social theory, especially as it intersects with research in adult education and lifelong learning. 3 credits

Global Online and Distance Education Option

In addition to the 12 credits of core courses listed above, students will take required courses and electives as specified for a total of 18 option credits.

Required Courses (12 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Introduction to Distance Education ADTED 470 An introduction to the history, philosophy, organizations, learning theories, and instructional procedures used in American and international distance education. 3 credits
Course Design and Development in Distance Education ADTED 531 In-depth study of the practices of designing courses taught by print, broadcast, and telecommunications media to adult distance learners.

Prerequisite: ADTED 470, INSYS 415  
3 credits
Research and Evaluation in Distance Education ADTED 532 Study of previous, current, and needed research strategies, and issues concerning evaluation in distance education. 3 credits
Global Online and Distance Education ADTED 533 Students will explore the historical and current developments of online and distance education in different regions of the world.

Prerequisite: ADTED 460  
3 credits

Students may choose 6 credits of electives from the list below or other electives in consultation with their adviser.

Electives (6 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Program Planning in Adult Education ADTED 506 Intensive study of theoretical foundations, policies, evaluation models, methods, and materials in program planning in adult education.

Prerequisites: ADTED 460, ADTED 505  
3 credits
Historical and Social Issues in Adult Education ADTED 510 Social and historical foundations of adult education in the United States and selected nations.

Prerequisite: ADTED 460

Note: It is strongly recommended (required) that students have completed at least 12 credits of related course work prior to taking this course.
3 credits
Administration of Adult Education ADTED 575 Organization of a program of adult education; legal status, finances, selection of teachers, learning personnel, housing; other administrative problems.

Prerequisite: ADTED 506 or EDLDR 480  
3 credits
Social Theory and Lifelong Learning ADTED 581 In-depth coverage of social theory, especially as it intersects with research in adult education and lifelong learning. 3 credits
Emerging Web Technologies and Learning LDT 467 This course examines emerging Web technologies and explores their application to learning and education. 3 credits

Prerequisites as listed may be waived by the course instructor if you can demonstrate the required level of competency.

Elective credits can be taken at any time during your degree progression. You will need to obtain prior approval from your academic adviser before taking any 400- or 500-level graduate courses to fulfill your elective requirements. Any graduate-level course taken at Penn State may qualify for an elective requirement for this program with prior approval from your academic adviser. You may also be able to transfer credits into the program, in consultation with your academic adviser.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.