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Applying to the Secondary English PDS Program

The application review process begins October 1 for the following academic school year and candidates are accepted on an ongoing basis until all internship positions are filled. Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to submit their applications in October, and if they do so will have a decision in time to adjust their spring course schedule accordingly. 

Application Process: 

  1. Schedule a meeting with Dr. Michelle Knotts to discuss questions you have about the program and to determine how your past course work fulfills requirements for Pennsylvania certification in English, grades 7-12. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Knotts by emailing
  2. Submit a completed application package that includes the following five items:
  3. Visit the high school.  After you submit your application, you will be scheduled for a visit to the high school in order to meet current interns and mentor teachers and interview with PDS co-directors.  At the end of your visit, you will be asked to submit a reflection about your experience.

Upon completion of the application process, one of three decisions is possible: first, an invitation to join the program; second, an invitation to be on the waiting list for the program; three, an offer to complete certification in the traditional on-campus program.  

Graduate students who are selected for the PDS program need to apply to the Penn State Graduate School and the M.Ed. Program in Curriculum and Instruction. Information on that application can be found on the Penn State Graduate School website.

"I didn't know with certainty that I wanted to teach until later in my undergraduate career (I have a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Spanish). PDS made it easy for me to return to Penn State as a graduate student to pursue my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and my secondary English teacher certification. But my experience with PDS also gave me so much more than my master's degree and teacher certification. I was able to work with and learn from a veteran teacher for an entire year, and see a school year through from start to finish. I was encouraged to take risks in a supportive environment, and I gained confidence in my abilities as a teacher. I also learned who I am as a teacher and developed a commitment to teaching for social justice. PDS was challenging and rewarding, and the relationships I formed with students, colleagues, and supervisors are invaluable. If I could go back in time knowing what I do now, I would choose PDS again in a heartbeat." 
Adison Godfrey
BA, English and BA Spanish, Class of 2016, Penn State University
MEd, Curriculum and Instruction, Class of 2018