Programs in the Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division take seriously the notion that education is a deeply social, cultural, political, and moral activity. While emphasizing different aspects or manifestations of education, each program provides a critical and inter-disciplinary framework for understanding educational processes and engaging in educational practice. Our faculty and students focus on these issues through multiple lenses, examining topics in the U.S., the world beyond U.S. borders, or transnational movements that cross state boundaries.


Students in the LCIE programs join a vibrant intellectual community led by a nationally recognized faculty with strong research and scholarly interests in a variety of fields and disciplines. Rooted in the humanities and social sciences, the Division is truly interdisciplinary, bringing together historians, scholars in literacy studies, educators, sociocultural anthropologists, philosophers, and experts on international education.

Programs in the Division help students appreciate the central role of education in our complex and changing world. Courses consider how local educational processes and practices are shaped by broader social and cultural, political and economic influences, as well as how moral, ethical, and political commitments lie at the heart of educational purposes. To this end, there are three distinct, but interrelated academic programs within the Division.

With a strong emphasis on social sciences and the humanities, Education, Culture and Society (ECS) focuses on the historical, political, philosophical and sociocultural foundations of education. Students learn to engage in educational research using ethnographic, historical, and philosophical modes of inquiry. With their advisor, students develop a course of study that is flexible, individualized, and often centered in an academic discipline. ECS graduates continue on to careers in academia, non-profit and community-based organizations, educational research centers, or K-12 schools and districts.

International Educational Development (IEDP) explores how education can be best deployed to promote social betterment and improve economic conditions in the developing world. IEDP provides students with a foundational knowledge of international development theory and practical approaches as well as an understanding of the interplay of local, national, and international politics, policies, and priorities. Graduates of this program continue on to careers in international development organizations, government, NGOs, or K-12 schools.

With a strong humanities orientation, Reading/Writing/Literacy (RWL) emphasizes the unique role that literature and writing plays in shaping experiences in schools and in society. Programs provide students with expertise in early literacy, literacy in families and communities, multiculturalism, children’s literature, post-secondary literacies, and teacher education/professional development/leadership. Graduates of these programs continue on to careers as literacy practitioners, researchers, and policy makers in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, as well as to positions in community-based literacy programs, educational publishing, and government programs.


Degree Programs

Education, Culture, and Society, Ph.D
More about this ProgramThe doctoral program in Education, Culture, and Society provides a rigorous and systematic theoretical and methodological framework for the study of education, and it also provides a foundation upon which new models of education can be built. Following a rich academic curriculum based in anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and history, the program invites you to interrogate and contribute to scholarship on the social and cultural contexts of learning, both in and outside of schools.

Reading/Writing/Literacy Ph.D. and Reading/Writing/Literacy Ed.D.
RWL Ph.D.RWL Ed.D.The Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs both emphasize the interrelationships and integration of theory, research, policy, and practice. The Ph.D. prepares scholar-practitioners for careers in research and teaching at colleges and universities. The Ed.D. trains practitioner-scholars for positions involving the practice of education in schools, school districts, colleges and universities, government agencies, foundations, entrepreneurial ventures, and consulting organizations.

Education, Culture, and Society, M.S.Ed
More about this Program

Under the supervision and mentorship of a faculty advisor, master’s students in the Education, Culture, and Society program undertake individualized and interdisciplinary programs of study in the social foundations of education. The program therefore provides students with a nuanced understanding of education as an historical, socio-cultural, political, and moral activity. ECS students explore the role education plays in reproducing and potentially transforming racialized, classed, and gendered relations and structures of inequality – in the U.S. or around the world. Working in small cohorts, students explore and build a unique vision for the program through collaborative dialogue, intensive writing, and critical inquiry.  

International Educational Development, M.S.Ed
More about this ProgramThe International Educational Development Program (IEDP) is designed to provide students with a set of distinctive skills, knowledge and dispositions required for working in the field of international educational development. Students draw on the program’s strong interdisciplinary foundations to examine issues such as:  early childhood education; emergency education; human rights; gender; language policy; learning and instruction; migration; non-profit management; poverty alleviation; public health; teacher professional development and curriculum design; and technology for development. Through the program’s unique immersive international internship experience, students have the opportunity to apply their academic knowledge and skills to programmatic work, policy and practice with UN and non-profit agencies around the world.

Reading/Writing/Literacy M.S.Ed.
More about this ProgramThe M.S.Ed. specialization in Reading/Writing/Literacy prepares students as practitioners, researchers, and policy makers in educational settings that include K-12 schools, colleges and universities, community-based literacy programs, and educational publishing and government programs.

Additional Offerings

International Educational Development, Doctoral Concentration
More about IEDP-DThe International Educational Development Program - Doctoral Concentration (IEDP-D) is a unique cross-programmatic and interdisciplinary concentration for both Ph.D. and Ed.D. students. It has been designed for doctoral students who wish to develop both strong skills in a disciplinary area (e.g., human development, educational linguistics, anthropology of education, and sociology of education) as well as cross-cultural and international skills based on field experience. The IEDP-D is only open to students who have been admitted to an existing doctoral program in GSE.



Standing Faculty

Sigal Ben-Porath, Ph.D.

Tel Aviv University

Gerald Campano, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania

Vivian Gadsden, Ed.D.

University of Michigan

Kathleen Hall, Ph.D.

University of Chicago

John L. Puckett, Ph.D.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Amy Stornaiuolo, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley

Krystal Strong, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Daniel A. Wagner, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Jonathan Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Johns Hopkins University



Amitanshu Das

New York University

Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, Ed.D.

Teachers College, Columbia University

Alex Posecznick, Ph.D.

Columbia University

Diane Waff, Ed.D.

University of Pennsylvania


Where are our students now?

The LCIE Division prepares researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers for careers in academic research environments, educational administration, international development, higher education, community-based organizations, social policy institutions, and non-profit organizations.

View LCIE Alumni Careers



Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division

University of Pennsylvania
Graduate School of Education

3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Education, Culture, and Society

International Educational Development

Alex Posecznick, Ph.D.
Program Manager and Associated Faculty
(215) 573-3947

Lauren Scicluna-Simon
Program Coordinator
(215) 898-5199

Paula Rogers

Program Assistant


Reading/Writing /Literacy

Tamika Easley
Program Manager
(215) 898-3245


Lorraine Hightower
Program Assistant
(215) 898-8435