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Research in Workforce Education typically is offered for academic credit by the Workforce Education & Development academic program at Penn State during Spring Semester.

The version of Research in Workforce Education designed and offered by David Passmore is available to allow for alternative completion of WF ED 550 outside the standard semester schedule. A student may complete tasks for this course at any time during the year and may receive credit for course completion the next time that WF ED 550 is offered for credit by the Office of the University Registrar. No credit is given for work completed unless the student seeks and receives prior approval for alternative completion of WF ED 550.

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Research in Workforce Education

Brief Description

Penn State Course Prefix & Number

WF ED 550

Description in Penn State Graduate Programs Bulletin

WF ED 550 RESEARCH IN WORKFORCE EDUCATION (3) Research techniques in workforce education. (from Penn State University Bulletin: Graduate Degree Programs).

According to Penn State’s Graduate School,

A 500-level graduate course builds on advanced undergraduate and/or graduate courses, dealing with the frontiers of knowledge in the field. It is grounded in theories, hypotheses, and methodologies as expounded in current and/or primary literature sources. Synthesis of knowledge and independent analytical work by the student must be demonstrated. Significant and regular instructor-initiated interaction between students and the instructor(s) should occur in all 500-level courses, whether delivered in residence or at a distance, including online.

Passmore’s Description of Course

The mission of WF ED 550 — Research in Workforce Education — is to guide the preparation of a thesis/research paper proposal by a Master of Science (MS) student or a dissertation proposal by a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) student in Workforce Education and Development (WF ED) which is styled, structured, and composed rhetorically in a manner that makes the proposal sufficient for consideration by the student’s advisor and committee. The 550 Manifesto contains additional information about the mission, enrollment, and design features that Passmore has established for WF ED 550.

If you enroll in WF ED 550 with the intention of completing your master's paper or thesis during the same semester of your 550 enrollment, the content and processes developed for WF ED 550 will not meet your needs. WF ED 550 is designed to meet the needs of students writing proposals that describe the planning for their PhD dissertation or master's paper or thesis research.



At Penn State, PhD students write dissertations, and MS students write theses or research papers. Successful completion of WF ED 550 is required by all MS and PhD degree candidates in WF ED in all program degree emphases. WF ED students pursuing an MEd degree do not write theses or research papers and, therefore, are not required to complete WF ED 550.

Prerequisites: Formal & Informal

There are no official course completion prerequisites to enrollment in Research in Workforce Education.

According to Penn State’s Graduate School, any senior with a 3.50 or higher cumulative grade-point average may be admitted to 500 or 800-level courses with only the consent of the instructor. Any senior with a 3.00 to 3.49 cumulative grade-point average may be admitted to 500 or 800-level courses. Schreyer Scholars do not need not seek permission for graduate course enrollment. Any undergraduate who wishes to enroll in this course must complete a Graduate School form, Undergraduate Student to Take 500 or 800-Level Courses.

Enrollment in WF ED 550 is not limited to WF ED students, although the course is designed with the unique research planning needs of WF ED graduate students in mind.

I provide informal prerequisites for enrollment in WF ED 550 in Are You Ready to Enroll in WF ED 550, Research in Workforce Education – A Self–Assessment. Delay enrollment in this course if you are not yet prepared with the knowledge and skills necessary to produce a research proposal. Consultation of MS students with their advisors and PhD candidates with their doctoral committees is advised prior to enrollment in WF ED 550.

Listed in Are You Ready to Enroll in WF ED 550, Research in Workforce Education – A Self–Assessment are some questions you should consider as you assess how well you are prepared for enrollment in WF ED 550. Answers to these questions are yours alone to consider and are not used to screen you in or out of WF ED 550. Rather, answers to these questions offer a basis for you and, if you choose, your academic advisor to consider whether you have identified what research you contemplate, why this research is important, and how the research will be conducted, which are elements of planning information that are prerequisite to enrollment in and successful completion of WF ED 550.


I have not designed WF ED 550 specifically to fit at any particular point in the sequence of events and activities in the flow of your program of graduate study. Rather, enrollment in WF ED 550 with me is appropriate when you possess a research précis of what research you will do, why, and how, no matter whether you arrive at this précis early or late in your program of study.


Research in Workforce Education is delivered primarily through instructor–to–student one–on–one tutorials that are conducted face–to–face in the my office or through online video conferencing conducted through (the conferencing site is password-protected). The first class meeting and the last class meeting are the only group, face–to–face class meetings that occur. Asynchronous discussion is facilitated through a Piazza private group.


WF ED 550, Research in Workforce Education, typically is offered by the WF ED academic program annually during each Spring Semester (search LionPath for available course offerings), contingent on (a) staffing the course with a qualified instructor and (b) obtaining enrollment in the course by the minimum number of students specified by Penn State policy (cf. “C–3: Minimum Course Enrollment Threshold Expectations” in the Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual.

Usual Instructor of Record

I am the usual Penn State instructor of record for this course (when I am, I use as my e-mail address for queries about this course). However, administrators of Penn State’s Department of Learning and Performance Systems are responsible for assignment of faculty to teach this course and can assign anyone they believe is qualified to teach Research in Workforce Education. The web directory beginning at is course web site only if I am assigned to teach this course. Search LionPath to identify the instructor for WF ED 550 in any semester during which the course is offered.