A doctoral program preparing education researchers, teacher educators, curriculum specialists, and instructional leaders.

The Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education focuses on the preparation of researchers and teacher educators in universities and colleges. Focal areas include teaching and learning, research and practice in teacher education, mathematics education, science education, and the study of urban education and urban contexts. 

What Sets Us Apart

  Penn proudly houses the IES Predoctoral Training Program, a multi-year opportunity for current Ph.D. students offering both financial and skill-building support
4 Years Full scholarship for your first four years of study
  Individualized program tailored to your interests

About the Program

The Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education focuses on the preparation of researchers in education. The program includes formal courses, mentored research, and informal seminars. The program is designed to draw together coursework, research apprenticeship, and other professional academic activities to build a complete professional program that is tailored to your interests and needs.

Application deadline
Closed for Fall 2024. The application for Fall 2025 will be available September 1, 2024.
Entry term(s)
Course requirements
12 courses, organized around 3 strands
Typical course load

Fall: 3; Spring: 3

Culminating experienceDissertation

  • Full-Time

Coursework and research experiences address a range of practice-based and theoretical problems in schools and community settings from sociopolitical, cultural, philosophical, psychological, and historical perspectives. Taking an interdisciplinary stance, faculty and students explore issues of equity, social justice, and educational change in a range of formal and informal educational settings. You will build a program of study that includes courses in teaching and learning, social foundations, and research methods. Applicants interested in the focal area of literacy are encouraged to consider the doctoral program in Literacy Studies.

Field-based research and collaborative projects with practitioners in schools or other educational settings are key components of the program. The program is designed to draw together coursework, research apprenticeship, and other professional academic activities to build a complete professional program that is tailored to your interests and needs.


As a full-time Ph.D. student, you are expected to be in residence and participate in practicum activities, courses, and other academic experiences throughout the first two years, where you will be enrolled in 3 course units per semester. Coursework and experiences are arranged around three areas or strands, including specialization courses, research methods courses, and electives/professional experiences, as well as a set of core courses. For more information about courses and requirements, visit the Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education Ph.D. program in the University Catalog.

Research Apprenticeship Course (RAC)

The RAC is part of the Professional Experiences strand and is designed to assist you in developing, conducting, and presenting your own original research. The course focuses on the research interests of the students and requires participation in the scheduling of activities, presentations, and directing part of the RAC agenda as it pertains to the collective needs of the group. Students from the different stages of the doctoral program will serve as mentors to one another, with faculty oversight. You will participate in the RAC beginning in the spring of your first year and continue participation until the completion of your dissertation.


Annual Self-Evaluation: Each year, doctoral students complete a Professional Self-Evaluation that is used as part of the ongoing evaluation and planning process. You are introduced to the evaluation form in the proseminar and will work on it in the spring Research Apprenticeship Course (RAC). The deadline for the Professional Self-evaluation falls in mid-autumn or mid-spring.

Qualifying Examination: The Qualifying Examination is taken by all doctoral students, most often at the end of the first year. Passing this exam is an important step in being admitted to program candidacy. In order to take the qualifying exam, you need to have completed the Doctoral Proseminar, Doctoral Foundations of Teaching and Learning, Education, Culture, and Society, 1 RAC, and 1 research methods course.

Program Candidacy: You are assessed for program candidacy after successfully completing the Doctoral Proseminar, Doctoral Foundations of Teaching and Learning, Education, Culture, and Society, 1 RAC, and 1 research methods course, and passing the Qualifying Examination. You must be in good academic standing to receive program candidacy.

Preliminary Examination: The Preliminary Examination is taken after you have completed all courses and before you begin work on your dissertation. Passing the Preliminary Exam allows you to be admitted to doctoral candidacy. You may submit a Preliminary Exam from the start of the fall semester through April 1. A description of the Preliminary Exam is available from the Division Coordinator. 

Dissertation: To complete the Ph.D., you must design and undertake an original research study under the direction of your dissertation committee. Students should see Penn GSE and Penn-wide policies and speak with their advisor about the requirements of the dissertation.

Our Faculty

Penn GSE Faculty Ed Brockenbrough
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Sarah Schneider Kavanagh
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Washington
Penn GSE Faculty Abby Reisman
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University
Penn GSE Faculty Janine Remillard
Ph.D., Michigan State University

Affiliated Faculty

Ryan S. Baker
Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University

Bodong Chen
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Toronto

Matthew Duvall
Ph.D., Drexel University

L. Michael Golden
Executive Director, Catalyst @ Penn GSE
Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania

Zachary Herrmann
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Ed.L.D., Harvard University

Charlotte E. Jacobs
Director, Independent School Teaching Residency
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

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

Yasmin B. Kafai
Lori and Michael Milken President’s Distinguished Professor
Ed.D., Harvard University

Andrea M. Kane
Professor of Practice, Education Leadership
Ph.D., Northcentral University

Rand Quinn
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University

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

Susan A. Yoon
Graduate School of Education Presidential Professor
Ph.D., University of Toronto

A picture of Penn GSE alum Justice Toshiba Walker, a former high school biology teacher.

"Penn taught me, Penn GSE especially, that if you have the right combination of ingredients—commitment from the structure, mentors, and colleagues—then risk-taking, innovation, and progress will for sure ignite."

Justice Toshiba Walker


Our Graduates

Our graduates are prepared for research and academic careers in education, psychology, and related human services fields.

Alumni Careers

  • Adjunct Professor, Moore College of Art and Design
  • Assistant Professor of Special Education, Villanova University
  • Assistant Professor, Montclair State University
  • Assistant Professor, Utah State University
  • Director, Out of School Time Resource Center
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Temple University

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

Noemí Fernández
Program Manager

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

All Ph.D. students are guaranteed a full scholarship for their first four years of study, as well as a stipend and student health insurance. Penn GSE is committed to making your graduate education affordable, and we offer generous scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.

TLL Students in a classroom

Our Students

Current students in the Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education program are researching a range of topics including mathematical practices, teacher education, maker-based project education, culturally responsive pedagogy, science education, and media making. 

View Doctoral Student Profiles