Internships, Dissertation Research Funding, and Post-Doctoral/Visiting Scholar Support


Students are encouraged to take advantage of internships and volunteer opportunities that could strengthen job potential. American Studies internships provide opportunities for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to a typical workplace. Internships can be approved for a varying amount of credits based on the number and sophistication of the tasks a student will perform, the extent to which the internship will foster independent effort, and the specific outcomes of the experience. Prospective interns should consult with their adviser about internship opportunities and apply 3 to 6 months before they expect to participate. Read more about description and application for the internship program.

For more information, contact the program chair at [email protected].

Dissertation Research Funding

A generous donation to the American Studies Program has made possible an opportunity to subsidize doctoral dissertation research by individual students. The purpose of the American Studies Dissertation Research Fund is to provide modest support (typically under $500) for a limited number of doctoral students who have passed their comprehensive examination and have an approved research proposal to conduct original, primary research for their dissertations at repositories or field sites outside Central Pennsylvania. Proposals to determine whether there are adequate research resources for a dissertation topic or to do preliminary research prior to submitting a proposal to a research facility are welcome as well. Proposals should be submitted to the program chair at [email protected] before February 15 in a calendar year. The funds can be used to cover the cost of research fees, transportation and/or lodging, and must be used before February 1 of the following year. The funds are NOT intended for conference travel (see the Office of Graduate Studies site for information on applying for subsidy of conference travel).

To be considered, submit, by email, a one-page synopsis of the project to the program chair at [email protected]. Describe the project and its significance, and note how specific research materials at the repository or field site will contribute to the project. A second page should include information on when the applicant passed his or her comprehensive examination and had the research proposal approved; biographical information relating to scholarly experience. A third page must include a budget that specifies how the funds will be used.

A committee composed of two American Studies faculty members will recommend allocation of the funds to the chair. Proposals will be judged on compliance with eligibility criteria, the merit and feasibility of the research, the signficance of the research to completion of the dissertation, and the quality of the narrative.

Post-Doctoral/Visiting Scholar Support

The American Studies Program and its research centers of the Center for Pennsylvania Culture Studies and the Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies host a limited number of post-doctoral and visiting scholars from the United States and abroad who are able to provide funding for their research and living expenses. According to Penn State guidelines , the “Visiting Scholar” status is an unpaid appointment at Penn State, which allows for certain privileges at the University. These privileges are usually in the form of library and computer access, and at times, include office space. Candidates must follow the guidelines below:

  • Contact initiated with prospective hosting faculty member and program chair at least six months before the proposed appointment. Provide a project proposal within the broad area of American Studies and certificate programs (folklore and ethnography; heritage and museum practice) that shows a fit with the resources of the college and region and complements the interests/research/teaching of program faculty and students. Provide additional materials as needed, including passport copies, TOEFL scores, and CV.

  • Verify that hosting Penn State faculty and program agree to oversight responsibilities for visit.

  • The candidate must also agree to certain responsibilities, such as sufficient financial support and purchase of health insurance, which follows Penn State guidelines.

  • Comply with Penn State clearance regulations such as mandatory Clery Act training and any required background checks in accordance with state and federal laws.

  • Agreement to participate in the life of the campus, including attendance in American Studies seminars, workshops, events, and interaction with faculty, staff, and students.

  • International visitors coming to Penn State for more than a short visit obtain the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa, but some apply for the B-2 or the Visa Waiver Program. Visiting Scholars coming for a period of more than three months must come on the J-1 visa, either as a Short-Term Scholar or in the Professor/Research Scholar Category. For more information contact the program chair at [email protected].