A master’s program that prepares you to work in international educational contexts and promote global equity. 

The International Educational Development master's program (IEDP) prepares students with distinctive skills for working in the field of education in developing and marginalized contexts worldwide. A key element is our international internship, where students gain on-the-ground experience in educational development.

What Sets Us Apart

Immersive international internship (minimum of 420 hours) with financial support
  Connections and placements with UNESCO, Unicef, OECD, and major NGO development agencies worldwide
35 studentsWith an average of 35 students per cohort, you will be part of a talented, global, and collaborative group.

About the Program

Working in the field of educational development in the 21st century requires an understanding of the complex interrelationships between local and global political, economic, and cultural dynamics. In the International Educational Development program, you will draw on the program’s strong interdisciplinary foundations to examine the interplay of these dynamics and their impact on education systems that serve politically and economically marginalized populations worldwide.

Application deadline
Rolling admission
Entry term(s)
Course requirements
10 courses & portfolio (5 core; 5 electives)
Typical course load

Fall: 4 courses; Spring: 4 courses; Summer: internship; Fall: 2 courses

Research apprenticeship minimum 420 hour international internship

Culminating experience Portfolio

Duration of master’s program12-20 months full-time; 2 years part-time

Dual degree options

  • Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • M.S. in Nonprofit Leadership
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)

Accelerated ProgramJuniors and seniors at Penn can apply to up to 3 IEDP courses through our Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Program

  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time

The International Educational Development Program (IEDP) provides students with unique skills, knowledge, and qualities in the field of international educational development, with a special focus on low and middle-income countries. This is a field that requires strong interdisciplinary foundations, and the program focuses not only on education, but also on the interplay of politics, economics, and culture.
Students examine issues such as:

  • early childhood education
  • human rights
  • language policy
  • learning and instruction
  • migration
  • non-profit leadership and management
  • data collection and analysis
  • public health
  • teacher professional development and curriculum design
  • technology for development

IEDP’s immersive international internship experience allows students to apply their academic knowledge to policy and practice, as they conduct hands-on, on-the-ground work with organizations such as UNESCO, UNICEF, the Aga Khan Foundation, the Research Triangle Institute, and other organizations.

If you face any barriers to applying for the program please contact Lauren Scicluna, sclauren@upenn.edu

Program Highlights

The International Educational Development program is among the best international educational development programs in the world, while Penn Graduate School of Education is a top-ranked Graduate School of Education by US News and World Report. Here are some of our program’s highlights: 


The program requires three core classes, two methods courses, two thematic, and three electives, and provides qualified students with the opportunity for an immersive 420-hour internship experience.

Ivy League Opportunity

Students find the program to be an excellent blend of theory, research, skill-building, and practice.


We encourage students to take classes not just at Penn GSE, but across the university – such as in the Wharton School, the School of Social Policy and Practice, and Penn Law.

Real-World Practice 

The IEDP international internship provides a real-world para-professional experience that blends theory with practice, with UN agencies such as UNESCO and UNICEF, and major NGOs, such as Room to Read and the Agha Khan Foundation. Unlike other international education programs, we work individually with all of our students to place them in a position and provide a $3,150 international internship grant (plus additional supplemental funds based on location.) Internships are individualized for each student and allow students to decide which region, location, duration (minimum of 420 hours), and format (in-person, hybrid, remote.) In addition, several courses employ real-world simulations.


Students move through the program as part of a talented, global, and intimate cohort of an average of 35 students. IEDP courses are commonly 16 to 20 students maximum, with the only large class being all cohort courses of EDUC6480 and EDUC6482. Our students truly get to know their peers, their faculty, and the staff.


The International Educational Development Program Speaker Series gives students direct access to leaders in international educational development and provides opportunities to learn about the cutting-edge global issues. Recent speakers have come from the World Bank, UNICEF, UNESCO, and other leading organizations.

Penn Global Connections

Our program partners with six global research centers on Penn’s campus: Perry World House, Center for Africana Studies, South Asia Center, Middle East Center, Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies, Center for East Asia, the Center for the Study of Contemporary China, and the Center of the Advancement of India (CASI), as well as over 20 international partners.

Curriculum for the Master’s Program

Our master’s degree program offers a campus-wide interdisciplinary experience. In consultation with a faculty advisor, IEDP students take three required foundational courses and two research methods courses. The remaining five courses include two thematic elective courses and another three electives that can be taken from a wide variety of courses in Penn GSE and from across the University of Pennsylvania (as in the Sample Course listing below). The program culminates in a robust international field/experience internship for eligible students, and a professional, performance-based portfolio. Internship/field experiences are unpaid, but students may be eligible for travel or living expense grants.

For information on courses and requirements, visit the International Educational Development M.S.Ed. program in the University Catalog.

Sample Courses  

Core Courses
  • Inter/National Development and Education
  • International Educational Development in Practice: Tools, Techniques and Ethics
  • Proseminar in International Education Development
Research Methods Courses

Methods courses prepare students in both the practical and theoretical implications of collecting, interpreting, analyzing, and presenting data on the human condition broadly—and education/learning in particular. Students are required to take one qualitative and one quantitative methods course. Options include (but are not limited to) courses such as:

  • Principles of Monitoring and Evaluation in International Educational Development
  • Advanced Topics in Monitoring & Evaluation in International Education Development
  • Introductory Statistics for Educational Research
  • Data Processing and Analysis
  • Regression & Analysis of Variance
  • Social and Statistical Network Analysis
  • Quasi Experimental Design
  • Qualitative Methods: Principles and Techniques
  • Ethnographic Filmmaking
  • Advanced Qualitative and Case Study Research
  • Ethnographic Research Methods
IEDP Thematic Electives Courses

IEDP thematic courses build on and extend the foundation built in core courses around particular, specialized areas. These should be IEDP courses taught by IEDP core faculty, that also prepare students for professional paths into the field. Students are required to select two thematic courses during their course of study.

  • Migration, Displacement and Education
  • Policy Planning in International Educational Development: Theory and Practice
  • Systems Thinking for International Development and Educational Change
  • Information & Communication Technologies for Education and Development in Global
  • Perspective
  • Global Governance & Cooperation: International Education Policy & Practice
  • Curriculum & Pedagogy in International Contexts
  • Anthropology and Education
  • Risk, Resilience, & Prevention Science
  • International Early Childhood Policies and Programs
  • Global Perspectives on School Climate
  • Economics of Education in Developing Countries
  • Global Citizenship

Elective Courses

In a conference with a faculty advisor, students are encouraged to identify graduate-level courses, 5000 or above, that align with their planned program of study from across the university. As such, electives may be taken in other programs in the Graduate School of Education, or from programs across the University of Pennsylvania. Students are required to select three elective courses during their course of study. 

Program of Study

Our recommended course of study is to complete the program in 1.5 years beginning in August and graduating the following December (fall, spring, summer, and fall.) This allows students to build relationships with faculty and make the most of their time at Penn. We also offer an expedited intensive program of study option  beginning in August and graduating in August of the next year (fall, spring, summer). Students hoping to pursue a two-year, 20-month, program of study can also pursue a program of study beginning in August and graduating the following May (fall, spring, summer, fall spring), but please reach out directly to the program staff for advisement on this possibility. Part-time student enrollment is also possible with varying durations of programs specific to each student’s needs. Students are expected to work closely with their advisor in planning their course of study.

Funding Opportunities

In addition to the funding opportunities available to students applying to any of our master’s degree programs, the following opportunities are available specifically for students applying to the International Educational Development program.

Penn GSE-UNESCO Fellowship

For students, including international students, who are looking for ways to support their education, learn more about scholarships and fellowships at Penn GSE Funding Opportunities and External Funding Opportunities. In addition to these options, the program has an internal fellowship program—the Penn GSE-UNESCO Fellowship for Development Country Scholars.

Overview: Penn GSE offers up to two full tuition International Fellowships under the Penn GSE–UNESCO Chair, founded in 2012. This Fellowship, under the auspices of the International Educational Development program, is designed to support promising professionals devoted to international education in the developing world.

Award: The Fellowship covers all Penn tuition (up to 10-course units) associated with the master’s degree program of study. The Fellowship does not cover other costs associated with attending graduate school, such as room and board, books, health insurance, travel, etc.

Eligibility: Priority will be given to applicants who are citizens of countries defined by the World Bank as low-income and lower-middle-income countries. Naturalized U.S. citizens and permanent residents who originate from low-income and lower-middle-income countries (i.e., were born in one of these countries and whose parents are not U.S. citizens) may also apply.

Application process:  In order to be considered for this scholarship you must submit your application to the International Educational Development, M.S.Ed. program and complete the section for the Penn GSE-UNESCO Fellowship by the priority deadline, February 1st 11:59 P.M. ET.

All applicants selected for the Fellowship program will be notified in their acceptance letter. Acceptance letters are typically sent by mid-March.

Past and Present UNESCO Fellows

Umar Danilo AlyMozambique2023-2024
Rima KamelSyria2023-2024
Farzanah DarwishAfghanistan2022-2023
Alioune FallSenegal2022-2023
Anishka ArseculeratneSri Lanka2021-2022
Carl Francis MoogPhilippines2021-2022
Aanchal GidraIndia2020-2021
Walid HedidarTunisia2020-2021
Bikalpa BaniyaNepal2019-2020
Odinaka ChukwuNigeria2019-2020
Taieb CherifTunisia2018-2019
Namreen SyedPakistan2018-2019
Radhika KapoorIndia2017-2018
Ujjwala MaharjanNepal2017-2018
Ngoc Anh (Alice) CaoVietnam2016-2017
Daniel KimonyiKenya2016-2017
Winnie ArthurGhana2015-2016
Hina BalochPakistan2014-2015
Maha LaziriMorocco2013-2014

Coverdell Fellowship

The Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship program provides a great opportunity for returned Peace Corps Volunteers to continue their service to underserved communities while also pursuing graduate studies at a reduced cost. This graduate fellowship program recognizes returning Peace Corps Volunteers and is a way to extend one’s relationship with the Peace Corps while being a student at the University of Pennsylvania.

In order to be considered for this scholarship you must submit your application to the International Educational Development, M.S.Ed. program by the priority deadline, February 1. Be sure to complete the question “Have you served in Peace Corps” in your application.

All applicants selected for the Fellowship program will be notified in their acceptance letter.

Committed to Making a Difference

Hear more from students and faculty in the International Educational Development Program. Improving lives at the bottom of the economic pyramid is hard. Every year, interns from our program work in organizations around the world to support their work educating families and transforming public health.

Our Faculty

Penn GSE Faculty Amy Jo Dowd
Ed.D., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Alec Ian Gershberg
Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Urban Studies, Penn Arts & Sciences
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher
Senior Lecturer
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Penn GSE Faculty Amrit Thapa
Senior Lecturer
Ph.D., Columbia University
Penn GSE Faculty Daniel A. Wagner
UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Penn GSE Faculty Sharon Wolf
Associate Professor
Ph.D., New York University

Our Leadership Team

Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, Ed.D.

Daniel A. Wagner, Ph.D.
Founding Director & UNESCO Chair

Lauren Scicluna
Program Manager

Affiliated Faculty

Asif Agha
Professor of Anthropology, Penn Arts & Sciences
Ph.D., University of Chicago

Sigal Ben-Porath
MRMJJ Presidential Professor
Ph.D., Tel Aviv University

Cristina Bicchieri
S. J. Patterson Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics, Department of Philosophy, Penn Arts & Sciences
Ph.D., Cambridge University

Robert F. Boruch
University Trustee Chair Professor of Education and Statistics
Ph.D., Iowa State University

William Burke-White
Richard Perry Professor and Inaugural Director, Perry World House, University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D., Cambridge University 

Yuko Goto Butler
Ph.D., Stanford University

Alison M. Buttenheim
Associate Professor of Nursing, Penn Nursing

Lee Cassanelli
Associate Professor of History, Penn Arts & Sciences
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

Xinyin Chen
Ph.D., University of Waterloo

Eileen Doherty-Sil
Faculty Director-CAP (Core & Africa general Program)
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Angela Duckworth
Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor, Penn Arts & Sciences
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Richard Estes
Professor Emeritus of Social Work and Social Policy, Penn Social Policy & Practice
D.S.W., University of California at Berkeley

Steven Feierman
Professor of History Emeritus, Penn Arts & Sciences
D.Phil., Oxford University and Ph.D., Northwestern University

Toorjo Ghose
Associate Professor, Penn Social Policy & Practice

Manuel S. González Canché
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Arizona

Guy Grossman
Associate Professor, Penn Arts & Sciences
Ph.D., Columbia University

Kathleen D. Hall
Associate Professor of Education and Anthropology
Ph.D., University of Chicago

Femida Handy
Professor of Nonprofit Studies, Penn Social Policy & Practice
Ph.D., York University, Canada

Emily Hannum
Professor of Sociology and Education, School of Arts & Sciences
Ph.D., University of Michigan 

Matthew Hartley
Professor and Board of Advisors Chair of Education
Ed.D., Harvard University

Nancy H. Hornberger
Professor Emerita of Education
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mark Alan Hughes
Professor of Practice in City and Regional Planning, PennDesign
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Michael C. Johanek
Senior Fellow
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University

Carol McLaughlin
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Infectious Disease, Perelman School of Medicine
M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Neal Nathanson
Emeritus Professor of Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine
M.D., Harvard University

Hyunjoon Park
Korea Foundation Professor of Sociology, Penn Arts & Sciences
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison

Laura W. Perna
Vice Provost for Faculty
Ph.D., University of Michigan

Jennifer A. Pinto-Martin
Viola MacInnes/Independence Professor of Nursing
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Sharon M. Ravitch
Professor of Practice
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Jennifer A. Riggan
Associate Professor, Historical and Political Studies, Arcadia University
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Alan R. Ruby
Senior Fellow
Associateship, London Institute of Education

Lawrence Shulman
Professor of Medicine, The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
M.D., Harvard Medical School

Brian Spooner
Professor of Anthropology, Penn Arts & Sciences
D.Phil., Oxford University

Mike Useem
William and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management, The Wharton School
Ph.D., Harvard University

Priyamvada Tiwari 

Before the program I had one way of looking at problems—now I have a 360 degree view.

Priyamvada Tiwari 

International Educational Development M.S.Ed., 2019

Our Graduates

Our graduates have an enhanced understanding of the interplay of local, national, and international politics, policies, and priorities in a world of rapid educational change, and are able to critically read and persuasively communicate evidence-based knowledge to a diverse set of stakeholders.

Many graduates have followed their studies with internships and employment in a variety of international settings, as well as at public and private educational institutions. Others have gone on to pursue their doctoral studies.

Alumni Careers

  • Early Childhood Development Specialist, Save the Children
  • Education Advisor, UNICEF Myanmar
  • Founder, Teach for Liberia
  • Associate Program Management, Pratham Education Foundation
  • Data Scientist, Philadelphia Mayor’s Office
  • Research Assistant, UNICEF
  • Associate Research Scientist, New York University
  • Program Associate, Institute of International Education
  • Research Assistant, Korean Education Development Institute, South Korea
  • Researcher, Harvard University
  • Sr. Resource Manager, MENA – International Rescue Committee
  • Program Officer, UNESCO, Bangkok
  • Junior Policy Analyst, OECD
  • Program Manager, Earth Institute Center of Sustainable Development

Distinctive Skills

  • Foundational knowledge of the history of international development institutions, their efforts, and their theoretical frameworks
  • Disposition and ability to understand issues of educational policy and practice from a comparative and international perspective
  • Enhanced understanding of the interplay of local, national, and international politics, policies, and priorities in the dynamics of educational change
  • Quantitative and qualitative research and evaluation skills necessary for examining educational issues in cross-national contexts
  • Preparation for reading critically and communicating evidence-based knowledge persuasively to a variety of stakeholders
  • Internship experience that will foster the application of academic knowledge to policy and practice in the applied settings

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

Lauren Scicluna
Program Manager
(215) 898-5199

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. Many students—including international students—secure fellowships to help support their education.

International Internship Program

The international internship is the heart of the International Educational Development program. The internships are possible through partnerships with international agencies, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and universities.



The Internship Experience

The internship is designed as a hands-on field experience (minimum of 420 hours) with an international organization involved in development work outside the U.S. Internships allow our students to apply what is learned in the classroom to a fieldwork experience. Internships are productive work opportunities, either in person or remotely, where our student interns come prepared with skills that match the position openings.

Our International Partners

Some of our partners include the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Action Aid, and Save the Children. Many of these organizations have a commitment to addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Penn GSE is fortunate to have a special relationship with UNESCO – the only of its kind in the U.S. – that places our students in UNESCO offices around the world.

Our students have had a wide variety of international internship placements, including in Bosnia, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Morroco, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, People's Republic of China, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Internship Opportunity

To prepare for the internship, two sequential courses must be taken. In the fall, students must enroll in EDUC6480 International Educational Development in Practice: Tools, Techniques, and Ethics and the corresponding recitation. In the spring, students must enroll in EDUC6482 Masters Proseminar in International Educational Development. Students are required to submit three sets of reports while on internship. 

Travel Support and Administrative Support

For qualified students in good academic standing hoping to be placed on an internship abroad, IEDP will offer an internship travel grant with a starting base of $3,150 per student with additional supplementary support offered based on the location of placement abroad. As Penn students international interns will also have their insurance covered via Penn’s iSOS insurance plan at no additional cost. iSOS will offer a 24/7 international support line to address medical and evacuation needs. Local agencies may provide in-kind and/or cash support (including, for example, per diem, local travel, etc.) 

Students hoping to be placed on a remote internship will be given an internship grant of $3,150 with the possibility of a small increase if local travel is required (for example, traveling to UNICEF NY offices two days a week.)

All students on internship will be enrolled in a 0 CU course, EDUC9990, to help maintain full-time student standing at the university. IEDP will offer an internal scholarship to cover this course free of charge for one semester (the normal internship placement duration). Students interested in a six-month internship placement will have their first semester of EDUC9990 covered by the IEDP with the second being a personal cost.

IEDP works closely and intentionally with all students to help oversee each individualized placement. If you are interested in learning more about the IEDP internship, please join us at one of our IEDP First Friday virtual events.