Postsecondary Adult and Continuing Education Course of Study

Postsecondary Adult and Continuing Education

Course of Study

PACE curriculum

The PACE program requires the completion of at least 45 credits, which includes at minimum:

  • ELP professional studies core (16 credits)
  • Thematic specialization and electives (25 credits)
  • Culminating experience (4 credits)

Students have considerable flexibility in shaping their thematic specialization and elective course work in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Courses are delivered in a variety of formats including on campus, hybrid, and online. Classes on campus are held in the evenings (4-6:30pm or 6:40-9:20pm) and weekends. Summer courses are offered both during the day and in the evening. For up-to-date schedules and full course descriptions, see the most current PSU Bulletin or visit the class schedule online.

PACE program of study

ELP Professional Studies Core: (16 credits)

Students may complete the professional studies core at any point in their program. However, it is recommended that students complete ELP 520 and ELP 511 as early as possible.

  • ELP 511 Principles of Educational Research and Data Analysis I (4 credits)
  • ELP 520 Developmental Perspectives on Adult Learning (4 credits)
  • ELP 551 Social Foundations of Education (4 credits) OR ELP 554 Philosophy of Education (4 credits)
  • ELP 568 Educational Organization and Administration (4 credits)

Thematic specializations and electives (25 credits)

The Thematic Specializations are to serve as a learning guide in assisting students with focusing and developing their program. They are not intended to be prescriptive. As such, working with their advisor students may choose one theme or combine courses from a variety of themes.

Electives

Students may also be interested in courses offered by other PSU academic units including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy—conflict management and ethics, applied linguistics, and speech communication); the College of Urban Public Affairs; and the School of Business Administration. In addition, the Intercultural Communications Institute offers summer workshops and seminars: 503-297-4622.

Self-Directed Learning Credit (Independent Study)

Students may work with faculty to design a self-directed learning experience. Most students engage in independent study after they have completed at least 20 credits of course work. At this point, specific learning needs and interests may be identified. Students might engage in research, program evaluation, practicum, internship, special project, or reading and conference on selected topics. For more information, contact your faculty advisor or instructor.

  • ELP 506 Special Problem (1-3 credits)
  • ELP 509 Practicum (1-4 credits)

Culminating Experience (4 credits) 

Candidates for the Master's degree with a specialization in Postsecondary, Adult & Continuing Education must select, in consultation with their faculty advisor, one of two culminating experiences: comprehensive examination or thesis. The majority of students complete the comprehensive exam, which involves a professionally grounded theory-to-practice project formally contextualized in the research literature. The thesis requires an oral exam in addition to the written product and is likely to significantly extend a student's time to completion.

  • Comprehensive Exam (COMPS) option: The comprehensive exam is a project-based experience that requires enrollment in ELP 507: PACE Comps (4 credits), taken as Pass/No Pass and offered every term. The project entails completion of an eportfolio which includes evidence of key learning in the program and a theory-to-practice paper. Students should have completed a minimum of 35 credits, including the Professional Studies Core, before enrolling in the course. The ELP 507: PACE Comp course will meet 4 to 6 times during the term to help guide students through the completion of their eportfolio. Students will present their projects/paper orally in the final meeting(s) of the course. Further options and guidelines for completing the comprehensive examination process will be discussed in the class.
  • Thesis option: The thesis option requires enrollment in 6-9 credits of ELP 503: Thesis. The thesis is likely to require 2-4 quarters of additional work before completion of the program. This also requires the appointment of a Thesis Committee of two tenure-track faculty, one of whom must be from the ELP Department, and a faculty member appointed by the Graduate School. Visit the Graduate School for thesis guidelines.

For information about the 18-credit PACE graduate certificate programs, please visit PACE Graduate Certificates.


Adult Learning and Development Theme

This theme is designed to serve the needs of students who are primarily interested in adult learning in either educational or professional settings. Students wishing to specialize in Adult Learning and Development must complete the PACE core courses, culminating experience, and 25 additional credits. Please work with your advisor to choose your elective credits.

These courses are highly recommended for the Adult Learning and Development theme:

  • ELP 521 Adult Learning and Motivation*
  • ELP 522 Teaching Diverse Adult Learners*
  • ELP 523 Assessing Adult Learning*

These courses are complementary to the recommended courses, although you may choose electives outside of the theme, including outside of the ELP department:

  • ELP 529 Principles of Training and Development
  • ELP 536 Postsecondary Curriculum
  • ELP 538 Contemporary Issues in Postsecondary Education

* Completion of ELP 520 or ELP 521 is recommended prior to enrollment in these courses.

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Higher Education and Organizational Change Theme

Students who are interested in the organization and administration of postsecondary institutions may find that this theme addresses their professional and career goals. Students wishing to specialize in Higher Education and Organizational Change must complete the PACE core courses, culminating experience, and 25 additional credits. Please work with your advisor to choose your elective credits.

These courses are highly recommended for the Higher Education and Organizational Change theme:

  • ELP 527 Legal Issues in Higher Education 
  • ELP 528 Leadership in Postsecondary Education
  • ELP 538 Contemporary Issues in Postsecondary Education

These courses are complementary to the recommended courses, although you may choose electives outside of the theme, including outside of the ELP department:

  • ELP 533 Planning and Budgeting in Postsecondary Education
  • ELP 536 Postsecondary Curriculum
  • ELP 537 Policy and Governance in Postsecondary Education
  • ELP 541 The Community College

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Service-Learning Theme

This theme is designed for students, faculty/instructors, administrators, and community partners/organizations who are interested in designing and conducting service-learning and community-based learning experiences. Students wishing to specialize in Service-Learning must complete the PACE core courses, culminating experience, and 25 additional credits. Please work with your advisor to choose your elective credits.

These courses are highly recommended.

  • ELP 542 Introduction to Service-Learning
  • ELP 543 Service-Learning in Educational Leadership and Policy - metro

These courses are complementary to the recommended courses, although you may choose electives outside of the theme, including outside of the ELP department:

  • ELP 521 Adult Learning and Motivation
  • ELP 522 Teaching Diverse Adult Learners 
  • ELP 528 Leadership in Postsecondary Education
  • ELP 536 Postsecondary Curriculum
  • ELP 549 Service-Learning in Educational Leadership and Policy - International

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Student Services Theme

This theme is designed primarily for Student Affairs professionals or those interested in a career in student affairs work in two- and four-year colleges and universities and related organizations serving adults. Students wishing to specialize in Student Services must complete the PACE core courses, culminating experience, and 25 additional credits. Please work with your advisor to choose your elective credits.

These courses are highly recommended for the Student Services theme: 

  • ELP 525 Student Services in Higher Education
  • ELP 526 Facilitating Student Success in Postsecondary Education
  • ELP 527 Legal Issues in Higher Education

These courses are complementary to the recommended courses, although you may choose electives outside of the theme, including outside of the ELP department. 

  • ELP 521 Adult Learning and Motivation
  • ELP 522 Teaching Diverse Learners
  • ELP 523 Assessing Adult Learners
  • ELP 528 Leadership in Postsecondary Education
  • ELP 533 Planning and Budgeting in Postsecondary Education
  • ELP 536 Postsecondary Curriculum
  • ELP 538 Contemporary Issues in Postsecondary Education
  • ELP 541 Community College

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Training and Development Theme

This theme was designed by educators and Training and Development professionals using the Association for Talent Development's (ATD) Competency Model. The program is designed to meet the needs of educators who work in the business community or government agencies as trainers, training managers, training consultant, teachers, human resource and staff development personnel, and management development consultants.
Students wishing to specialize in Training and Development must complete the PACE core courses, culminating experience, and 25 additional credits (see Program of Study).
These courses are highly recommended:

  • ELP 521 Adult Learning and Motivation 
  • ELP 529 Principles of Training & Development
  • ELP 530 Course Design and Evaluation* 

These courses are complementary to the recommended courses, although you may choose electives outside of the theme, including graduate level courses from outside the ELP department:

  • ELP 532 Training Methods 
  • ELP 539 Developing Training Materials 
  • ELP 584 Strategies for eLearning

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