Academic Programs: School of Behavioral Sciences and Education

Baccalaureate

  • The Elementary Education program at Penn State Harrisburg embodies the four tenets of our conceptual framework: constructivism, authenticity, reflectivity, and standards-based curriculum. Constructivism entails a student-centered approach in which teachers help learners build their own understandings. Authenticity refers to developing professional and pedagogical skills in authentic classroom settings; for example, in the junior and senior years prior to student teaching, the program offers extensive field experiences in a variety of settings enrolling students with diverse backgrounds and needs. Reflectivity relates to consciously analyzing course content and one's own learning for the purpose of deeper understanding and self-improvement. Standards-based curriculum means that our candidates are steeped in Pennsylvania Academic Standards as well as the standards of relevant professional organizations. Taken together, these tenets enable our candidates to become lifelong reflective professionals committed to the learning of all students.

    This program is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI).

  • Penn State Harrisburg offers the Life Span Human Service option of Human Development and Family Studies. This option focuses on the acquisition and application of scientific knowledge about development and family functioning across the life span for the purposes of enhancing personal and family development.

    Students obtain a broad background in individual and family development across the life span. Through course work and undergraduate internships or research projects, students develop skills relevant to career objectives, such as counseling, human assessment, program planning and evaluation, and research. 

  • Kinesiology offers a comprehensive program of study in the science of human movement and is designed for students who want to prepare for professions involving physical activity and for graduate study in related areas. Penn State Harrisburg offers the Exercise Science Option, and requires a culminating practicum or research experience.

  • Penn State Nursing programs, including those at Penn State Harrisburg, prepare you to graduate and immediately enter a clinical setting or continue to graduate education. If you are a veteran nurse returning for a baccalaureate degree, you will be prepared to implement your new skills and knowledge in the workplace or to continue to graduate school. Penn State Nursing offers students exceptional undergraduate and graduate level academic programs, internationally-recognized research, highly regarded faculty, an extensive outreach network, and opportunities for international experience.

    The major prepares registered nurses as professional practitioners in health promotion and maintenance, illness care, and rehabilitation, and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

  • The Psychology major emphasizes the scientific study of human behavior in areas such as cognition, development, learning, physiology, personality, and social processes. The curriculum is designed to provide students with a broad background in psychological theory and research and to develop the analytical and critical thinking skills necessary to be good consumers of scientific information.

  • Sociology is the study of people in groups. Sociologists examine how people interact, in small groups like families, medium-sized groups like sororities and fraternities, and large groups like communities, with the goal to make the world better.

    Most people engage in sociology every day without even knowing it by studying and predicting behavior. If you have ever thought: why do some people bully or why do some people commit crimes, or why do some people behave one way in front of one group of people and another way in front of others, you are asking the same questions that sociologists ask.

    The sociology major at Penn State Harrisburg provides an opportunity for students to explore social structure, interaction, and change, addressing topics such as culture, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, inequality, urban life, globalization, environmental change, and political conflict.

    Two options are available within the major:

    • General Sociology
    • Community Organization and Social Services

     

  • The Secondary Education Social Studies major prepares students to meet the requirements to be certified for the Social Studies Instructional I Certificate as established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The major prepares students to teach history, government, economics, geography, psychology, sociology, and anthropology. This program is recognized by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

    Students are challenged to prepare for teaching assignments at the middle and high school level, and in diverse settings characterized as rural, urban, and suburban. The art and science of teaching in secondary schools is undergoing significant transformation as new technologies, time allocation for instruction, and new instructional strategies are impacting the delivery of social studies instruction.

     

Graduate or Postbaccalaureate Certificate

  • The certificate Advanced Graduate Studies in Psychology: Applications in Clinical Psychology is treatment oriented and is intended to prepare mental health counselors to work in community mental health settings. The four courses will provide exposure to major subfields of applied clinical psychology, to enhance training received in a traditional master’s program. This program of study will enhance mental health professionals’ skills in providing services for individuals and families coping with several psychological issues such as relationship difficulties, depression, decision-making, trauma, anxiety, custody issues, or adjustment.

  • The certificate in advanced graduate studies in Psychology: Health Psychology is wellness-oriented and is intended to prepare counselors to work in either a mental health or medical setting. This program of study will enhance mental health professionals' skills in developing prevention programs, and in providing services for individuals and families coping with death, traumatic injuries, and chronic or terminal illnesses as well as general mental health concerns.

  • Penn State Harrisburg offers the ESL Specialist and Leadership Certificate program online to PreK-12 educators and to candidates in the Master's in Teaching and Curriculum Program, who may be interested in obtaining the ESL certificate from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). The focus of the program is on preparing educators to meet the needs of English language learners in the culturally and linguistically diverse PreK-12 classroom.

  • The Graduate Certificate in Adult Education in the Health and Medical Professions is aimed at those who teach in the Medical and Health Sciences who are preparing adult learners for professional practice in medicine, nursing, or in the allied health professions.

    Many who teach in such settings have strong content knowledge in their area of professional practice, but have little background in education on how to effectively teach adult learners.

    This 12-credit graduate certificate will assist medical and health professionals in increasing their knowledge and competence in educating adult learners in medical education/health science settings.

  • The primary goal of the Training and Development Graduate Certificate program is to prepare professionals from organizations in the for-profit, government, military, and non-profit sectors desiring a foundation in instructional design, and human resource/organizational development to enhance their organizational acumen. The 12-credit curriculum integrates core principles of training, and human resource/organizational development (HR/OD).

  • The Literacy Leadership postbaccalaureate certificate program is offered by the Teacher Education unit in the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education at Penn State Harrisburg. The primary goal of the program is to prepare K-12 educators (teachers, specialists, and/or administrators) to serve in literacy leadership roles in K-12 educational contexts.

Certification or Endorsement for Educators

  • The certification program in Elementary (PK-8) Special Education is designed for an individual who holds an Instructional I or II certificate in elementary or early childhood education (N-3, K-6, PK-4, 4-8) or Reading Specialist and wants to become certified to teach Special Education in Pennsylvania elementary schools (grades PK-8). The program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students who successfully complete the requirements will be recommended for the Elementary (PK-8) Special Education Special Education teaching certificate.

  • The certification program in Secondary (7-12) Special Education is designed for an individual who holds a grade level 7-12 Instructional I or II certificate in a content area (Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, English, General Science, Mathematics, Physics, Social Studies) or Reading Specialist and wants to become certified to teach Special Education in Pennsylvania secondary schools (grades 7-12). The program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students who successfully complete the requirements will be recommended for the Secondary (7-12) Special Education teaching certificate.

    This program is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

  • The certification program in Secondary Education English is designed for an individual who holds a baccalaureate degree and wants to become certified to teach English in Pennsylvania secondary schools (grades 7-12). If you are an undergraduate (Bachelor’s Degree) student who is interested in becoming an English teacher, you can do so by enrolling in the English major. The program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students who successfully complete all requirements will be recommended for the Secondary English Instructional I teaching certificate. Course work is required in both English and education. This program is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

  • The certification program in Secondary Education Mathematics is designed for an individual who holds a baccalaureate degree and wants to become certified to teach mathematics in Pennsylvania secondary schools (grades 7-12). Students who successfully complete the requirements will be recommended for the Secondary Mathematics Instructional I teaching certificate. Course work is required in both mathematics and education. If you are an undergraduate (Bachelor’s Degree) student who is interested in becoming an Mathematics teacher, you can do so by enrolling in the Mathematical Sciences major. 

  • The certification program in Secondary Education Social Studies is designed for an individual who holds a baccalaureate degree and wants to become certified to teach Social Studies (history, geography, government, psychology, sociology, anthropology and/or economics) in Pennsylvania secondary schools (grades 7-12). If you are an undergraduate (Bachelor’s Degree) student who is interested in becoming a Social Studies teacher, you can do so by enrolling in the Bachelor of Social Science in Secondary Education Social Studies. Students who successfully complete the requirements will be recommended for the Secondary Social Studies: Instructional I teaching certificate. Course work is required in both behavioral sciences and education. 

  • Instructional Coaching Endorsement Program is a Pennsylvania Department of Education approved program. The Program Endorsement documents knowledge in new and emerging areas where formal certification does not exist. The program is intended to improve a teacher's skill in working with other professionals (teachers) in a collegial manner to raise instructional practices to the highest possible level. An endorsement program is added to a teacher’s existing Level I or Level II Certification but is not required to perform service in this area.

    This program is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

  • The Mathematics Coach Endorsement Program is a Pennsylvania Department of Education approved program. The Program Endorsement documents knowledge in new and emerging areas where formal certification does not exist. The program is intended to improve a teacher’s mathematics content knowledge, instructional strategies, and leadership skills to support the professional growth of his or her colleagues and promote high-quality mathematics instruction leading to enhanced student learning.  An endorsement is added to a teacher’s existing Level I or Level II Certification.

    This program is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

  • The Principal Certification Program, part of Penn State's Educational Leadership Program (EDLDR), is a statewide program offered at two locations: University Park and Harrisburg. The program has been evaluated by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) and is in compliance with their current requirements as well as all requirements by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

    The program has three important features:

    1. A standardized Principal Certification Program is offered so that all students receive a consistent, high-quality, and uniform program.
    2. The specific designated courses cover all NCATE and PIL (Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership) standards. All course assignments and student results are aligned with NCATE/ELCC and PIL standards.
    3. A student management system using an electronic portfolio approach is utilized to allow all students to maintain a record of their progress through the Principal Certification program. The portfolio provides documentary evidence of student proficiency in all ELCC and PIL standard elements, an evaluation of student progress, and an evaluation of program outcomes.
    4. This may be combined with Master of Education in Teaching and Curriculum

    This program is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)

  • The Reading Specialist Certification Program at Penn State Harrisburg is designed to provide full-time and part-time graduate students with a focused program of study leading to a Pennsylvania Department of Education certificate as a reading specialist. The program is aligned with the standards of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Following successful completion of the program, students are eligible to take the Praxis examination for certification as a reading specialist (K-12).

Doctoral

  • Adults learn and are educated in diverse settings: in formal educational institutions; in the workplace; and through diverse organizations in local communities. They also learn informally through media and popular culture, life experiences, and self directed efforts both online and offline. The field of adult education focuses on how educators can facilitate teaching and learning by taking into account that adults learn in these multiple settings.

    The Doctor of Education program in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education is intended to inspire students to engage in innovative approaches to research, adult learning theory, and teaching in diverse settings that account for the multiple ways people make meaning and create new knowledge. The program is designed for working adults who can pursue doctoral study part-time. Typically, students are engaged in careers as instructors, educators, program planners, and administrators in higher education, business and industry, the military, the health and medical professions, cultural institutions, literacy and community development, religious education, human services, or distance education. Throughout the program, students are encouraged to attend and present at national and international conferences and to work on submitting papers for publication.

Undergraduate Certificate

  • The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Specialist Certificate program is designed for undergraduate education candidates seeking a better understanding of linguistically diverse PreK-12 classrooms. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)-approved certificate program is intended to equip candidates with a greater awareness of the benefits of having English language learners in the classroom, as well as to prepare them with skills and strategies to meet the needs of diverse learners in mainstream content classrooms.

Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate

Master's

  • The program prepares graduates to function in community settings as applied behavior analysts, and provides the academic training necessary for graduates to apply for national board certification in behavior analysis. The overall model emphasizes the core areas of the discipline including the scientific basis of behavior analysis, as well as how biological, social, and individual differences affect human behavior. Training will emphasize the development of both assessment and intervention skills.

  • The Master of Arts program in Applied Clinical Psychology offers the educational background to prepare students to work as mental health professionals in various settings. It is intended to provide a broad training program in empirically validated clinical psychology which, when accompanied by an additional 12 credits in advanced graduate studies in psychology and/or counseling, can provide the academic training necessary for graduates to apply for master’s level licensing as a Professional Counselor in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The M.A. program requires 48 credits of course work. Optional 12-credit certificate programs are available in the areas of clinical health psychology, and applications in clinical psychology through the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education for students seeking licensure. Additionally, successful completion of this program may be a good indicator of potential to succeed in a doctoral program, and thus may be valuable for individuals seeking to develop their research and or clinical skills to support future doctoral studies. The degree program is intended for both part-time and full-time students, with classes in late afternoon or evenings.

  • The Master of Arts in Applied Psychological Research program focuses on the development of research skills within the context of scientific training in psychology. The program requires 35 credits of course work (29 credits of core courses and 6 credits of electives). The program is intended for both part-time and full-time students. Admission is for the fall semester only. The program is designed to meet the needs of students who plan careers in research or administration within human service or similar organizations, who plan to conduct research in other settings, or who plan to pursue doctoral study. Students can select electives and research experiences, in consultation with their adviser, to reflect their individual interests.

  • Based on the intersection of psychology and sociology, the Master of Arts in Community Psychology and Social Change emphasizes leadership, community development, social activism and public advocacy. The program equips students to address multifaceted problems facing communities. Students learn to assess problems and to plan, implement and evaluate solutions at community and organizational levels. Learning takes place through coursework, fieldwork, and an individual master’s project customized to the student’s area of interest.

  • The Penn State Harrisburg Master of Education in Health Education applies education, public health, and behavioral theories to prepare health education specialists to work in any setting in which the aim is to promote health and wellness. The goal of the master’s degree in health education is to educate professionals who help individuals, families, and their communities maximize and maintain healthy lifestyles. Health education specialists teach people about behaviors that promote health and wellness and are trained to collect and analyze data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies, and environments. Health educators may serve as resource to assist individuals, other health professionals, or the community, and may administer fiscal resources for health education programs.

  • The Master of Education in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education is a practitioner’s degree that is intended to increase the knowledge and competence of those who work with adult learners in a variety of settings. Coursework, reading assignments, research projects, collaborative learning opportunities and ongoing discussions provide for in-depth and challenging learning experiences that can be applied to one’s immediate work and life context.

    The program is interdisciplinary and flexible, with emphasis on teaching in a sociocultural context in a variety of adult education venues such as in higher education, business and industry, community organizations, cultural institutions, the health and medical professions, consulting, and more.  Students can also choose a specific focus area in the Health and Medical Professions.

  • The Master of Education in Literacy Education at Penn State Harrisburg is designed to provide full-time and part-time graduate candidates with a focused program of study in the field of literacy education. This advanced degree provides candidates with a comprehensive approach to literacy research, instructional practice, assessment, and leadership to meet the varied and diverse needs of preK-12 learners. Grounded in sociocultural and critical literacy approaches, the program affords literacy professionals: (1) specialized, in-depth knowledge about the teaching of literacy; (2) diagnostic and clinical skills necessary to support and plan instruction for a diverse range of students; (3) the ability to interpret, evaluate, and use literacy research to inform practices; (4) opportunities to use both digital and traditional texts to teach literacy across the curriculum; (5) knowledge about the role of social context in supporting preK-12 learners’ acquisition of language and literacy; and (6) the literacy leadership skills necessary to support and inform professional practice in preK-12 settings. Candidates also participate in a final capstone course that provides the opportunity to work closely with preK-12 learners in a faculty-supervised, clinical setting. 

    This program is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the International Reading Association (IRA).


  • The 30-credit Master of Education degree in Teaching and Curriculum is designed to enhance the skills of teachers for public and private schools. The program focuses on three essential components – curriculum, instruction, and assessment – that contribute to the organization’s philosophy of learning. The Teaching and Curriculum Program is unified by its vision of critical thinking, democracy, diversity, life–long learning, nurturance, and scholarship. Courses are designed to reflect the standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). 

  • The Master of Education in Training and Development at Penn State Harrisburg is designed to be a blended educational experience especially geared to working adults. We aim to develop students into scholar-practitioners who are flexible and fluid in a range of professional roles. They develop skills, abilities, and habits of thinking that sustain them in the face of rapid changes in the field, as they endeavor to assess and improve learning, performance, and change at individual, group, and organizational levels. The program curriculum integrates three fundamental and overlapping areas of the field with required core courses and a range of electives. This allows students an opportunity to customize their particular focus in the program depending on their professional goals. These areas are: training, human resource development, organizational development, and training and development technology.

Minor

  • The Psychology Minor is designed to provide undergraduate students with a broad overview of topics and domains within psychology, knowledge and skills related to research methods in psychology, and deeper knowledge of research, theory, and application in one or two specific content domains.

  • The sociology minor allows students to explore the wide range of topics, social groups, and social interactions studied by sociologists. From social inequalities and social problems to the familiar institutions of family, school, religion, and government, the diversity of courses available allows sociology minors to explore courses relevant to their interests.