Graduate School of Education

Overview

The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education is one of the nation’s premier education schools. At Penn GSE, students and faculty enjoy an Ivy League environment that supports both practical knowledge building and high-quality research. Our alumni are recognized as some of the world’s most influential education leaders, and our distinguished professors are pioneers in their fields. 

Our Mission: Penn GSE partners with schools, universities, and communities to expand educational access – especially for those underserved by society. Through rigorous research and innovative programs, we develop new knowledge, and transformational teachers and leaders in pursuit of educational opportunity.

What began with the appointment of one professor in 1894 evolved into a top-ranked professional school of education. We have a 100-year legacy of producing education leaders through innovative ideas, passionate people, and a commitment to making a difference. With 40 standing faculty and just over 1,300 students, Penn GSE is a small school with remarkable scholarly productivity and influence. 

Penn GSE offers a vibrant array of high-quality degree programs in education research and practice. Our programs prepare students for careers as urban and international educators, school leaders, education researchers, higher education professionals, school psychologists, reading specialists, and more. In addition to degree programs, we offer professional development opportunities and certificates within the field of education. 

Renowned for our expertise in urban education, policy research, quantitative methods, practitioner inquiry, developmental psychology, and qualitative analysis, Penn GSE provides rigorous academic training and professional mentoring to help our students become effective leaders. Graduates of our innovative and interdisciplinary programs are shaping the future of education.

By the Numbers 

  • Ranked #2 graduate school of education in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report
  • 1,015+ Masters students 
  • 395+ Doctoral students (Ed.D. & Ph.D.)
  • 28% International students 
  • 46% Domestic students of color 
  • 40 Standing faculty 

For more information: https://www.gse.upenn.edu/  

Research

Penn GSE emphasizes the interplay of theory, research, and practice in everything we do, believing that education research produces knowledge to inform practice, but also that research must be informed by the issues, needs, and concerns of practitioners. We are recognized for our strengths in research on urban education, policy, teaching and learning, the cultural contexts of education, language education, qualitative analysis, practitioner inquiry, developmental psychology, and quantitative and multimethod inquiry. 

Penn GSE is home to several faculty-run centers that produce cutting-edge research on global issues in education. Additionally, the School’s many practice-driven initiatives put innovative practices, strategies, and tools directly into the hands of practitioners, both in Philadelphia and across the globe.

Diversity

Penn GSE has long been committed to preparing its students to live, work, and become leaders in a world marked by sweeping demographic change and interconnectedness. Our students, faculty, and staff come from diverse backgrounds, and the diversity of the school is intentionally fostered by Penn GSE’s policies and practices. Expanding and sustaining this diversity is crucial to our mission as a school. But there is always much more to do. 

Over the last few years, we have deepened our engagement in ongoing learning and dialogue about difference, as well as our shared interest in using education to create opportunity.

Penn GSE is proud of its diverse student population. On average, domestic students of color represent 43% of our student body. Penn GSE continues to enact a number of successful efforts to create a broader pipeline of students.

Faculty

Penn GSE’s world-class faculty and researchers—the intellectual heart of our School— have a major impact on education research and practice across the globe. This influential faculty answer vital questions and solve pressing problems in local, national, and global education. From literacy to college access to the Common Core, our researchers are leading the conversation about critical issues in education.  

Our professors possess particular strengths in teaching and learning, the cultural contexts of education, language education, qualitative research methods, and practitioner inquiry. In recent years, these strengths have deepened to include national leadership in policy research, urban education, developmental psychology, and quantitative and multimethod inquiry.

Outreach

PHILADELPHIA

Our commitment to active, on-the-ground engagement in Philadelphia is a reflection of the University-wide values expressed in the Penn Compact 2020. Penn GSE is not just located in Philadelphia—it is of Philadelphia. We partner with schools in small and large ways to work towards social justice—always endeavoring to leverage the expertise of the larger research university in service of a better education for all.

The University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education is deeply involved in Philadelphia schools. It is crucial to our mission that Penn GSE faculty and students engage in all levels of education, both formal and informal, in traditional and alternative settings, to better learn how we can solve the challenges of urban education and contribute to the growth and well-being of our citizens. More than a third of our faculty work in or with Philadelphia public schools on issues ranging from improving the quality of writing instruction to teaching coding as part of the elementary school curriculum.

In any given year, we are involved in about 500 activities in almost 250 schools across Philadelphia. Additionally, we take part in over 70 community activities in over 65 locations.

INTERNATIONAL

The University of Pennsylvania nurtures global networks and encourages innovative, cross-disciplinary research to better understand and resolve global issues. As part of this campus-wide initiative, Penn GSE students research, study, teach, and work across the globe, and over 70% of our faculty members are involved in international initiatives. Penn GSE also offers several academic programs that focus on international education or offer students the opportunity to study abroad. 

The Global Engagement Office at Penn GSE directly supports the mission of the School and the University in engaging in a sustained and meaningful way with issues of global importance. The aim is to increase GSE’s impact and widen its reach by supporting faculty, students and staff who work across borders and by encouraging partnerships with educational institutions in other nations. It also serves as an initial point of contact for scholars and agencies looking for opportunities and expertise to address strategic issues in teaching and learning.