The Adult Education program presumes that students have previous experience in adult education. The program requires the completion of a minimum of 60 credits beyond the master's degree, and a minimum of 24 credits must be taken in Adult Education core course work. Please note: Changes may be made at the discretion of the institution and program.

Five Milestones of the Doctoral Program

Entry status: In this phase, the student must make up any deficiencies noted in the letter of acceptance, complete between 12 and 15 hours of approved course work in Adult Education core courses with an average of 3.5, and pass the candidacy exam.

Candidacy Exam: The candidacy exam is an oral exam with two or three members of the Adult Education faculty. Candidacy serves four purposes: (a) to determine the "fit" between the student’s aspirations and what the program offers; (b) to discuss the Adult Education content of core courses the student has attended; (c) to assess the student’s abilities in areas critical to completing the dissertation process: writing, critical thinking, and research; and (d) to focus on forming a research area that subsequently will lead to a specific dissertation research topic.

Comprehensive Exam: The comprehensive examination has two parts, written and oral. Following completion of core courses in Adult Education (with the exception of advanced research), the student, in dialogue with her or his adviser, puts together a doctoral committee of four faculty, with at least two coming from the Adult Education Doctoral Program. Administered by the committee, a written comprehensive exam assesses the depth and breadth of the student’s knowledge about the field of Adult Education. The doctoral committee (in dialogue with the student) prepares four questions, and the student is given four weeks to prepare a written response. After the committee members have read the response the student meets with the doctoral committee to take the oral part of the exam.

Dissertation Proposal Defense: The dissertation proposal consists of chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the student’s actual dissertation. The student prepares these chapters prior to the proposal hearing in dialogue with the doctoral committee members. At the proposal hearing the student orally presents a plan for research and addresses questions from the doctoral committee.

Final Oral Examination (Dissertation Defense): At the completion of the student’s dissertation the final oral examination is conducted by the doctoral committee and chaired by the thesis chair.

Course Load and Sequence

Students are expected to enroll for a minimum of six credits each semester for the first three years of their program of study. In addition, core courses are to be completed in a specific sequence as outlined in the adult education student handbook.

Transfer Credits

Credits for ADTED courses may be transferred into the doctoral program only if they have been obtained at institutions that have an adult education doctoral program and with the consent of the adviser. Students may request a transfer of up to 10 credits for course work taken beyond the master’s degree from another college/university only if the course work has been completed with at least a B average within the last five years. All credits must meet Graduate School regulations.

Grade-Point Average and Time Limit

Students must maintain a 3.0 average for graduation. Time limit for completing all work and dissertation defenses is eight years from the date of admittance to candidacy.

This page is not a part of the official Penn State University Bulletin.