The American Studies Program at Penn State Harrisburg offers B.A., M.A., and Ph.D degrees, an Integrated B.A./M.A. degree, and manages graduate certificate programs in Heritage and Museum Practice and Folklore and Ethnography. The Program integrates perspectives on United States history, culture, and society and represents a vibrant academic field with its own theories, methods, and applications. The Program emphasizes cultural and historical inquiry and the application of American Studies to public policy and heritage—including education, governmental work, museums, cultural agencies, archives, public policy, and communications. Research areas of focus are folk and popular culture; history and politics; society and ethnography; regional, urban, and environmental studies; and public heritage and museum studies.
The Program benefits from Penn State Harrisburg's location in a capital region in close proximity to internationally known heritage sites and American Studies resources such as the Gettysburg Battlefield, National Civil War Museum, and U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center; Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, State Archives, and State Museum; historic ethnic-industrial sites of Hershey, Steelton, and the Anthracite Coal Region; urban political heritage locations of Harrisburg, York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.; and Amish farmlands and Pennsylvania-German speaking communities. The Program in its public outreach and academic work strives to cover America broadly in its national and international contexts, develop local resources and institutions, and interpret cultural expression and identity, with special attention to material and visual culture; race, ethnicity, gender, and age; oral and written sources, performance, and media.