Home to three of Penn GSE’s longest-standing programs, our Educational Linguistics (ELX) Division has an established national and international reputation of excellence with an interdisciplinary focus on language learning and teaching, as well as the role of language in learning and teaching.


Penn GSE’s Educational Linguistics division (ELX) is a pioneer in the field. One of the first two educational linguistics programs in the world—and one of only two in the Ivy League—Penn GSE’s Educational Linguistics division (ELX) is home to internationally known scholars including Yuko ButlerNelson FloresNancy Hornberger, and Betsy Rymes, and the ELX division continues to promote excellence as it prepares the next generation of researcher/educators. 


Home to three of Penn GSE’s longest-standing programs, the ELX Division has an established national and international reputation of excellence with its interdisciplinary focus on language learning and teaching, and the role of language in learning and teaching. The Division’s extraordinary interdisciplinary reach is enhanced by students’ access to other Schools at Penn, including the School of Arts and Sciences, the Annenberg School for Communication, the School of Social Policy and Practice, and the Law School. 

Faculty and students in the Ph.D. specialization in Educational Linguistics (EdLx) and the Master’s specializations in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Intercultural Communication (ICC) are involved as practitioners and researchers in and out of educational settings, locally and around the world, on topics such as: bilingualism, biliteracy, and bilingual education; critical language awareness; educational and social consequences of linguistic diversity and super-diversity at community and national levels; heritage and Indigenous language teaching and learning; intercultural communication; local and global perspectives on English language teaching policy and practice; mass media and schooling; and multilingual language planning and policy.

As schools, universities, and workplaces in the U.S. and around the world are increasingly populated by youth and adults with diverse linguistic backgrounds and myriad digital and script literacies, it is crucial that Penn GSE’s graduates be able to address the needs of these new educational and work environments and be adequately prepared to confront the challenges posed by the changing educational linguistic scene. Faculty and students in our three specializations engage in research, teaching and outreach at the cutting edge of their fields.

Degree Programs

Educational Linguistics (Ph.D.)
More about this ProgramThe Educational Linguistics Ph.D. specialization focuses on language learning and teaching, and the role of language in learning and teaching. Our questions and concerns are situated squarely in educational policy and practice, informing and informed by interdisciplinary theory and research in linguistics, anthropology, psychology, sociology, history, and other fields.

Educational Linguistics (Ed.D.)
More about this ProgramThe Ed.D. degree prepares graduates to engage with and direct new and ongoing initiatives related to language education. Ed.D. candidates will develop the theoretical foundation and technical expertise necessary to pursue positions as leaders of world language programs in colleges and universities.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (M.S.Ed.)
More about this ProgramThe M.S.Ed. specialization in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) focuses on practical and theoretical aspects of the field. The TESOL Master’s specialization is classroom-oriented and stresses understanding of the role and function of English language teaching as it relates to the political and social climate of today’s world. A strong interest in intercultural communication and in the interaction of social behavior and language form a dynamic backdrop to innovative and fundamental aspects of teacher preparation.

Intercultural Communication (M.S.Ed.)
More about this ProgramThe M.S.Ed. specialization in Intercultural Communication (ICC) provides a solid foundation in linguistic and discursive approaches to the exploration of issues that arise in communication between cultural groups (including linguistic, social, racial, ethnic, national, gender, and other groupings). The core courses examine linguistic and social practices (or ways of speaking) occurring in face-to-face interaction, the cultural expectations and ideologies that inform these practices, and the cultural dynamics and processes impacting communication between groups (such as power or identity).

ELX News

  • TESOL Alumna selected as teaching ambassador with the U.S. Department of state

    Hannah Brenneman (2015) was selected by the U.S. Department of State as a 2017-2018 Fellow in the prestigious English Language Fellow Program. Hannah served as an English language teaching ambassador in Mexico for 10 months. Read more about how Hannah put her TESOL degree to use, here.

  • Educational linguistics Faculty Blogs

    Nelson Flores, ELX Assistant Professor, writes about the connections between educational linguistics and education reform at The Educational Linguist. Betsy Rymes, ELX Professor, explores the way people talk about their own language use at Citizen Sociolinguistics.


    Invited by the US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, ELX Senior Lecturer, Santoi Wagner, served on a team of English language educators that developed social media-based teacher training tools. Dr. Wagner and her colleagues presented their work at the 2017 TESOL International Convention. 


    TESOL alumna Anne Pyzocha (2017) taught local immigrants and refugees English at HIAS PA, a nonprofit organization in Center City, Philadelphia during her TESOL coursework. 

  • elx partnership with moder patshala

    Dr. Anne Pomerantz's students from EDUC 545: Language Teaching and Literacy Development in Multilingual Contexts, as well as students from EDUC 676: Discursive Approaches in ICC, work with students at Moder Patshala, a local Bangladeshi-American community organization, to develop their language and creative writing skills.

  • Dr. Nelson Flores Wins AERA Award 

    ELX Assistant Professor, Nelson Flores, was awarded the 2017 AERA Early Career Award in Bilingual Education Research. 

  • icc alumna leads the penn museum's intercultural classroom

    Ms. Hitomi Yoshida, the Penn Museum's Diversity Programs Manager, was featured by the Penn GSE Magazine. Read her profile to learn about how she brings ICC values such as critical thinking and intercultural dialogue to her current work.


    ELX alumna, Dr. Katherine Mortimer, won The International Research Foundation for English Language Education's 2017 Alatis Prize for her article, “Producing Change and Stability: A Scalar Analysis of Paraguyan Bilingual Education Policy Implementation” (Linguistics and Education, Vol. 34).

  • Dr. Diane Larsen-Freeman Honored in New Textbook

    In tribute of her decades of scholarship, a new book focusing on second language development has been published: Complexity Theory and Language Development, In celebration of Diane Larsen-Freeman.

  • ELX alumna wins AERA Outstanding Dissertation Award in Bilingual Education Research

    ELX PhD alumna, Dr. Sofía Chaparro, who graduated in May 2017, was one of the first-place winners of the Outstanding Dissertation Award from American Educational Research Association(AERA) Bilingual Education Research Special Interest Group (SIG) with her excellent work, "Language and the Gentrifying City: An Ethnographic Study of a Two-way Immersion Program in an Urban Public School"Dr. Nelson Flores and Dr. Besty Rymes co-chaired her dissertation committee. 

  • Dr. Nancy hornberger awarded honorary doctorate by umeå University in sweden

    Since 2012, Dr. Hornberger has served as Visiting Professor to Umeå University's Department of Language Studies, consulting and collaborating in the development of Sámi language teaching, teacher education, and research in support of Sámi Indigenous language revitalization.  Her dedication was acknowledged with the honorary doctorate at Umeå University's 2018 Annual Celebration. 

  • Dr. nelson flores: how monolingual teachers can support bilingual students

    In an October 2018 airing of Philadelphia's WHYY Radio Times, Dr. Flores shares his expertise on bilingual education. Read more here, or listen to the full broadcast here

Community Impact

ELX in Philadelphia

Community engagement and service-learning are integral components of the ICC M.S.Ed. and TESOL M.S.Ed. specializations at Penn GSE. Service-learning allows students to bridge the theoretical concepts they are learning in their coursework with practical skills and experiences gained outside of the classroom. Our interactive map showcases the different teaching and fieldwork sites that our students engage with in Philadelphia. To learn more about our work in the community, contact Jackie Lopez, our Fieldwork and Service-Learning Coordinator, at jlope@upenn.edu.

To view a map of Penn GSE’s work in School District of Philadelphia and charter schools, visit http://www2.gse.upenn.edu/philly

View the Map


Betsy Rymes, Ph.D. Professor; Division Chair & ICC Director

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Catherine Box, Ed.D. Lecturer

Columbia University

Yuko Butler, Ph.D.  Professor; TESOL Director

Stanford University

Nelson Flores, Ph.D. Associate Professor

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Nancy H. Hornberger, Ph.D. Professor; Educational Linguistics PhD Director

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Iryna Kozlova, Ph.D. Lecturer

Georgia State University

Diane Larsen-Freeman, Ph.D. Senior Fellow

University of Michigan

Yumi Matsumoto, Ph.D. Assistant Professor

The Pennsylvania State University

Robert Moore, Ph.D. Senior Lecturer

University of Chicago

Anne Pomerantz, Ph.D. Professor of Practice; Educational Linguistics EdD Director

University of Pennsylvania

Santoi Wagner, Ed.D. Senior Lecturer; TESOL Associate Director

Columbia University


Affiliated Faculty

Asif Agha, Ph.D. Penn Arts & Sciences, Department of Anthropology

University of Chicago

Christina Frei, Ph.D. Penn Arts & Sciences, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures

University of California, Davis

“One of my favorite things about the TESOL program at Penn GSE is that it combines theory and fieldwork. A lot of programs that I looked at offered only the theoretical foundations of TESOL, without giving students a chance to put that theory to work in the classroom. My teaching experiences at Penn GSE have given me more confidence, preparing me for when I return to China to teach English. Last year I taught a class in which students spoke nine different languages—that was an amazing opportunity to hone my teaching skills.”

Lu Shu

TESOL Graduate, May 2014


Where are our students now?

  • The Education Linguistics Ph.D. program prepares students for careers in teaching and research careers in colleges and universities worldwide, as well as in government, community, and private organizations.
  • The Intercultural Communication M.S.Ed. program prepares students for careers in international student advising, educational/cultural exchange, refugee/resettlement program development and administration, and other social service fields.
  • The TESOL M.S.Ed. program prepares students for careers in teaching in a variety of local, national, and international settings.

Recent ELX Ph.D. graduates hold positions such as:

  • Assistant Professor of Comparative Humanities, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY (2012)
  • Director, English Language Institute, Arcadia University (2004)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, IL (2015)

Recent ICC M.S.Ed. graduates hold positions such as:

  • Adult Education Coordinator, Lutheran Children & Family Services, Philadelphia, PA (2010)
  • Deputy Head of Admissions Counseling, The Edge Learning Center, Hong Kong, China (2012)
  • Education Abroad Program Coordinator, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA (2015)

Recent TESOL M.S.Ed. graduates hold positions such as:

  • English Instructor, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea (2008)
  • Mandarin Teacher, Academy of Notre Dame, Villanova, PA (2015)
  • Education Consultant, ThinkTank Learning, San Mateo, CA (2014)
View the Full List of Alumni Careers


Educational Linguistics Division

University of Pennsylvania
Graduate School of Education

3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Sarah Peyton Kaufman
Program Manager
(215) 898-5212

Jackie Lopez
Fieldwork & Service-Learning Coordinator
(215) 746-8237

Suzanne Oh
Program Assistant
(215) 898-6998

Katherine O'Morchoe
Program Assistant
(215) 898-7912