M.S.Ed. in Intercultural Communication (ICC)

Part of the Educational Linguistics Division

The M.S.Ed.  in Intercultural Communication (ICC) provides a solid foundation in ethnographic approaches to the study of communication between members of different cultural groups and within different organizational contexts. 

Fast Facts

  • Entry terms: Fall
  • Priority Deadline: Feburary 1st; Rolling admission thereafter as space permits
  • Transfer Courses Accepted: up to 2 (as electives only)
  • Number of courses: 12 (8 required courses, 4 elective courses)
  • Typical course load: 
    • Fall: 3 courses 
    • Spring: 3 courses 
    • Summer: Internship
    • Fall: 3 courses 
    • Spring: 3 courses (including EDUC 567 - Internship: ICC)
  • Culminating Experience: EDUC 567: Internship: ICC (includes processing data from a 160-hour internship experience and producing a paper or portfolio) 


View Admissions Requirements


The M.S.Ed. in Intercultural Communication (ICC), housed within the Educational Linguistics Division, provides the skills and knowledge necessary to understand linguistic and social practices in a variety of environments.


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

Program of Study

Core Courses

EDUC 537 Educational Linguistics
EDUC 676 Discursive Approaches in Intercultural Communication
EDUC 679* Reading, Writing, and Critical Thinking for Applied Linguistics
EDUC 546 Sociolinguistics in Education
EDUC 593 Experiential Learning Design for Intercultural Communication
EDUC 845 Seminar in Microethnography
EDUC 655 Ethnography of Communication
EDUC 567 Internship: ICC
*May be waived with faculty approval and replaced with an elective



Suggested Plan of Study

Year 1

Fall 1

  • EDUC 537
  • EDUC 676
  • EDUC 679

Spring 1

  • EDUC 546
  • EDUC 593
  • EDUC 845



*For more information, see description below

Year 2

Fall 2

  • EDUC 655
  • Elective
  • Elective

Spring 2

  • EDUC 567
  • Elective within ELX
  • Distribution

* In the Summer, 2nd Fall, and 2nd Spring semesters, the order in which electives and the distribution course are taken is flexible.


Elective Courses

1 Distribution course (outside of the Educational Linguistics but within GSE)
3 Elective Courses:

  • One course must be in the Educational Linguistics Division
  • Two additional courses (in or outside of the Graduate School of Education)
  • Elective Examples include:
    • EDUC 502 Citizen Sociolinguistics 
    • EDUC 505 Globalization & the University (offered by HED Division)
    • EDUC 514 Education in Developing Countries (offered by ECS Division
    • EDUC 527 Approaches to Teaching English & Other Modern Languages 
    • EDUC 536 Indigenous Education & Language Revitalization
    • EDUC 539 Teaching Performance Arts for Cross-Cultural Education (TPACE
    • EDUC 544 School & Society (offered by ECS Division)
    • EDUC 547 Anthropology & Education (offered by ECS Division)
    • EDUC 566 Cross-Cultural Awareness (PACE
    • EDUC 577 Selected Topics in Educational Linguistics 
    • EDUC 590 Gender & Education (offered by TLL Division)
    • EDUC 610 Cultural Perspectives on Human Development (offered by APHD Division)
    • EDUC 661 Language Diversity & Education 
    • EDUC 670 Second Language Development (Fall/Spring)
    • EDUC 671 Adult Literacy (Fall, offered by RWL Division)
    • EDUC 911 Issues in Second Language Acquisition 
    • EDUC 927 Language Policy & Planning 
    • ANTH 603 Language in Culture & Society (offered by Anthropology Department)


All ICC students must complete a supervised internship of at least 160 hours that reflects their own interests and goals and allows them to utilize the ICC skills and theories learned in the core courses. Internships have previously been completed in a variety of settings that have included international-student advising offices, elementary and secondary schools, community outreach organizations, social-service agencies, educational or cultural exchange programs, and consulting firms. Students complete the Internship in the Summer following their first year of core coursework. An Internship Proposal must be approved by the ICC faculty prior to starting the Internship.

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

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 PracticeEducational 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

Alumni Spotlight


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. Their work impacts English language education in schools, universities, and community settings. 

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)

Alumni Spotlight

Click Read More and Alumni Careers to find out why our alumni chose Penn GSE and the different paths they have embarked on since graduation.


Read More

View 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