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Professional and Liberal Education

Many students pursue alternatives to traditional degree programs, from adult students completing their bachelor’s degree, to professionals seeking to update knowledge, and alumni who want to stay connected. Penn Arts and Sciences, through its division of Professional and Liberal Education, is well positioned to provide exceptional lifelong learning opportunities to a range of audiences through a diverse portfolio of degree, non-degree, and non-credit programs—delivered in a variety of formats.

Penn’s new Master of Chemical Sciences program is positioning its students to take advantage of career opportunities that are emerging with new discoveries in the chemical sciences. The program is distinctive for combining academic rigor with flexibility to accommodate students’ professional goals. Students take Ph.D.-level courses to ensure that they gain a strong technical background, and in addition they receive professional development and extensive mentoring.

Director Ana-Rita Mayol says that as the program grows, a great deal of attention is being paid to developing relationships with local industry and creating “pipelines for recruitment of talented students and job placement for our graduates.”

The College of Liberal and Professional Studies has long been an incubator for innovation within Penn Arts and Sciences.

As the hub for the School’s involvement in online education, LPS has helped Penn faculty explore the possibilities of teaching to classes numbering in the tens of thousands through MOOCs (Massive, Open, Online Courses). Among these faculty are Kelly Family Professor Al Filreis. His Modern Poetry MOOC, offered through Coursera, is one of Penn’s most popular courses on that platform and has offered an exciting demonstration of the format’s potential for instruction in the humanities.

Penn Arts and Sciences director of social sciences computing Chris Mustazza defines the importance of academic paths for all adults. A College of Liberal and Professional Studies master’s student, Mustazza has rediscovered and is digitizing an archive of poets, including Gertrude Stein, James Weldon Johnson, Harriet Monroe, and Vachel Lindsay reading their work, for anyone on the web to hear.

As a staff member, Mustazza had been contributing to the School’s PennSound project for over 10 years, first while earning his master’s in computer and information technology from Penn Engineering and then as a student of LPS. “I’ve always been interested in both technology and the humanities, and how the two play together,” he says.