Understand communication across cultures & contexts for careers in study abroad, community organizations, and global business. 

The master's in Intercultural Communication puts you on the path to a variety of careers and academic pursuits—including international student advising, study abroad programming, and refugee and immigrant support. You gain the skills and knowledge to understand linguistic and social practices between people with differing cultural and organizational backgrounds.

What Sets Us Apart

160 hours 160 hours of internship training closely tied to your career interests
 Penn GSE is a top-ranked Graduate School of Education by U.S. News & World Report
  In-service learning partnerships with Philadelphia community organizations

About the Program

As a student in the Intercultural Communication program, you’ll participate in a broad range of coursework and field experiences in the ethnographic study of communication between members of different cultural groups—including linguistic, social, racial, ethnic, national, and gender groupings—and within different organizational contexts.

Application deadline
Closed for Fall 2024. The application for Fall 2025 will be available September 1, 2024.
Entry term(s)
Course requirements
12 (8 required, 4 electives)
Typical course load
  • Fall: 3 courses 
  • Spring: 3 courses 
  • Summer: Internship
  • Fall: 3 courses 
  • Spring: 3 courses

Culminating experienceInternship: ICC Seminar (final paper or portfolio required)

Transfer courses accepted2 (as electives only)

  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time

A degree in Intercultural Communication prepares you for careers such as cultural exchange advising and administration, study-abroad programming, refugee and immigrant support, curriculum development, and consulting around organizational and cultural complexities. The program also provides a solid foundation in ethnographic and discourse analysis research methods for students considering a career in intercultural research and/or doctoral study. Although specific interests and career goals vary, all students learn to analyze the many linguistic, discursive, social, and cultural issues encountered in interaction.

The master’s degree program in Intercultural Communication offers a campus-wide interdisciplinary experience. In addition to 7 required courses, you choose 5 electives from across Penn GSE and the University of Pennsylvania. A key component of the program is the summer internship, in which you can put into practice the skills and theories you learn in the classroom.


For more information on courses and requirements, visit the Intercultural Communication M.S.Ed. program in the University Catalog.

Suggested Plan of Study

Year 1
Fall 1
  • EDUC 537
  • EDUC 676
  • EDUC 679
Spring 1
  • EDUC 546
  • EDUC 593
  • EDUC 845
Participant Observation at an Internship Site

For more information, see description below

Year 2
Fall 2
  • EDUC 655
  • Elective
  • Elective
Spring 2
  • EDUC 567
  • Elective within ELX
  • Distribution

Note: This suggested plan of study is for full-time students; students enrolled part-time will work with the program manager and faculty to determine the best plan of study for their situation.

For a full list of courses offered at GSE, visit Penn’s University Course Catalog.

Sample Elective Courses

  • Citizen Sociolinguistics
  • Globalization & the University
  • Education in Developing Countries
  • Linguistic Anthropology of Education
  • Language Teaching & Literacy Development in Multilingual Contexts
  • Classroom Discourse & Interaction
  • Approaches to Teaching English & Other Modern Languages 
  • Indigenous Education & Language Revitalization
  • Teaching Performance Arts for Cross-Cultural Education (TPACE
  • School & Society in America
  • Cross-Cultural Awareness (PACE
  • Selected Topics in Educational Linguistics
  • Intercultural Communication & Miscommunication 
  • Gender & Education
  • Cultural Perspectives on Human Development
  • Language Diversity & Education 
  • Second Language Development
  • Adult Literacy
  • Issues in Second Language Acquisition 
  • Genealogies of Race and Language in Educational Research
  • Language Policy & Planning 
  • Language in Culture & Society

Participant Observation at an Internship Site

Participant observation is an integral component of the ICC M.S.Ed program at Penn GSE. It allows students to bridge the theoretical concepts they are learning in their coursework with practical skills and experiences gained outside the classroom while promoting critical reflection.

Developing intercultural competence, therefore, happens not only in the classrooms at Penn GSE but also in experiences outside academia, especially while completing the 160-hour participant observation at an internship site over the summer between the first and second year. Fulfilling the internship requirements is not merely about logging a certain number of hours at a host site but about learning from, with, and about the people and communities with whom one interacts.

Previous internship sites include international student advising offices, elementary and secondary schools, community outreach organizations, social service agencies, educational or cultural exchange programs, and consulting firms. An Internship Proposal must be approved by the faculty prior to starting the Internship.

A screenshot of an interactive map of Philadelphia with different regions color-coded

Community Impact: Intercultural Communication in Philadelphia

Community engagement and service-learning are integral to the Intercultural Communication M.S.Ed. program. Service-learning fieldwork allows students to bridge the theoretical concepts learned in coursework with practical skills and experiences gained outside of the classroom. Our interactive map showcases student teaching and fieldwork sites in Philadelphia. To learn more about our work in the community, contact Jackie Lopez, our Fieldwork and Service-Learning Coordinator. 



Our Faculty

Penn GSE Faculty Asif Agha
Professor of Anthropology, Penn Arts & Sciences
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Penn GSE Faculty Catherine DiFelice Box
Lecturer of Educational Practice
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Penn GSE Faculty Yuko Goto Butler
Ph.D., Stanford University
Penn GSE Faculty María Cioè-Peña
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., The Graduate Center-CUNY
Penn GSE Faculty Nelson Flores
Associate Professor
Ph.D., The Graduate Center of the City of New York
Penn GSE Faculty Christina Frei
Executive Director, Language Instruction, Penn Arts & Sciences
Ph.D., University of California at Davis
Penn GSE Faculty Nancy H. Hornberger
Professor Emerita of Education
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Penn GSE Faculty Iryna Kozlova
Lecturer of Educational Practice
Ph.D., Georgia State University
Penn GSE Faculty Yumi Matsumoto
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
Penn GSE Faculty Robert Moore
Senior Lecturer
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Penn GSE Faculty Anne Pomerantz
Professor of Practice
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Betsy R. Rymes
Penn GSE Faculty Santoi Wagner
Senior Lecturer
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University

Program Staff

Hannah Brenneman
Associate Director of Fieldwork & Service-Learning
(215) 746-8237

Katherine O'Morchoe  
Program Manager  
(215) 898-5212  

Suzanne Oh
Program Assistant
(215) 898-6998

Kia Marie Lor

"I bring together students from different backgrounds and experiences to help them learn from one another and build a richer community. I would not be able to succeed without the foundation I received from Penn GSE."

Kia Marie Lor

Intercultural Communication M.S.Ed., 2016

Our Graduates

With a master’s degree in Intercultural Communication from Penn GSE, you’ll be prepared for careers in cultural exchange advising and administration, study-abroad programming, refugee and immigrant support, and curriculum development training and facilitation. A number of our graduates enroll in doctoral programs to pursue in-depth research in fields such applied linguistics and education.

Alumni Careers

  • Adult Education Coordinator, Lutheran Children & Family Services
  • Assistant Director of Language and Intercultural Learning, Wesleyan University
  • Associate Education Analyst, NYC Department of Education
  • Associate Professor, Yunnan Nationalities University
  • Deputy Head of Admissions Counseling, The Edge Learning Center
  • Media Campaign Manager, Google, Inc.
  • Doctoral Student in Multicultural Education, University of Washington
  • Education Abroad Program Coordinator, Kennesaw State University
  • English Teacher, Upper Merion High School
  • Immigration Advisor and Cultural Consultant, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Education Programs Manager, Asian Arts Initiative

Admissions & Financial Aid

Please visit our Admissions and Financial Aid pages for specific information on the application requirements, as well as information on tuition, fees, financial aid, scholarships, and fellowships.

Contact Information

Contact us if you have any questions about the program.

Office of Admissions and
Financial Aid

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania
3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-6415

Program Contact

Erica Poinsett
Program Assistant

Please view information from our Admissions and Financial Aid Office for specific information on the cost of this program.

Penn GSE is committed to making your graduate education affordable, and we offer generous scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.