Doctor of Philosophy in American Studies

The Doctor of Philosophy in American Studies represents the study of the United States as an academic field with its own theories, methods, and applications. The program benefits from Penn State Harrisburg’s location in a capital region with internationally known heritage sites and American Studies resources such as the Gettysburg Battlefield, Three-Mile Island, the towns of Hershey and Steelton, the Anthracite Coal Region, and Amish Country. The program emphasizes critical cultural inquiry and the application of American Studies to public heritage, public policy, and cultural resource management — including governmental work, museums, cultural agencies, education, archives and records management, public policy, and communications. A foundation for this application is an understanding of the American experience developed within the intellectual legacy of American Studies.

Program graduates are typically oriented toward public practice as well as scholarship in American Studies — integrating perspectives on United States history, culture, and society. Students have opportunities for internships and field experiences outside the classroom. In addition to preparation for academic teaching and writing, the program is distinctively concerned among other doctoral departments of American Studies with the production of public scholars and leadership careers outside of academe. The program strives to cover America broadly in its national and international contexts, work with local resources and institutions, and to develop a focus on cultural expression and identity, including areas of material and visual culture; folk and popular culture; race, ethnicity, and gender; and literature, performance, and media.

Degree Conferred: Ph.D.