The American Studies Program at Penn State Harrisburg offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, an Integrated B.A./M.A. degree, and graduate certificate programs in Heritage and Museum Practice and Folklore and Ethnography. Coursework and hands-on experiences provide students with the knowledge and analytical skills needed for employment at educational institutions, governmental and public policy agencies, museums, cultural agencies, archives, and communications venues.
The program benefits from Penn State Harrisburg's location in a capital region in close proximity to internationally known heritage sites such as the Gettysburg Battlefield, 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; and Amish and Mennonite farmlands. Harrisburg, York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. provide further opportunities for research, internships, field trips, and other experiences.
The program covers America broadly in its national and international contexts and emphasizes interdisciplinary work. Areas of focus include history and politics; popular culture, folklore and ethnography; American art and material culture, regional, urban, and environmental studies; and public heritage and museum studies. Intersections of these areas with historic and contemporary issues of race, gender and sexuality, ethnicity, and class are key components of the program.
American studies faculty members are active researchers who present their work to a wide variety of regional, national, and international scholarly and public venues and actively encourage their students to do so as well.