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 ELX has been home to powerhouse scholars like Dell Hymes, Nessa Wolfson, Teresa Pica, and Nancy Hornberger, giants who have shaped research and practice across the globe. Never resting on its impressive pedigree, the ELX division continues to promote excellence in its search for 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

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. Associate Professor; TESOL Director

Stanford University

Nelson Flores, Ph.D. Assistant 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. Senior Lecturer; 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