Discover American Studies

Discover American Studies

The American Studies program offers the interdisciplinary study of American society and culture, coursework and hands-on experiences provide students with the knowledge and analytical skills to thrive in teaching and administrative roles in colleges, universities, and high schools; governmental and public policy agencies; museums, cultural organizations, and archives; and communications venues.

American Studies at Penn State Harrisburg

The American Studies Program at Penn State Harrisburg helps students to understand the history, culture, and society of the United States in a dynamic and inclusive fashion. Areas of focus for coursework and research include history, politics, and cultural studies; literature popular culture; folklore and ethnography; visual and material culture; regional and urban studies; and public history 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.

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Undergraduate Programs

The American Studies major prepares students for a variety of professions and to participate in the world as critical thinkers, clear communicators, and global citizens. American Studies examines the country’s history in a way that emphasizes culture – literature, art & architecture, film, folklore, music, and media. While discovering America’s past, students learn to think critically – to analyze and evaluate information; to write and speak clearly and expressively; and to conduct research.

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Graduate Study

The graduate programs in American Studies offer an interdisciplinary approach to studying American society and culture. Through coursework and hands-on experiences, students gain valuable knowledge and analytical skills that prepare them for diverse roles in education, government, museums, cultural organizations, and communications.

American Studies student working in the archives

Our Program and our People

American Studies has a rich history that reaches back to the establishment of the Harrisburg campus. The program was established in the late 1960s with the goal of providing students with a comprehensive understanding of American culture, society, and history. Our M.A. program traces its beginning to 1972. Our doctoral program was founded in 2009 and is the only American studies doctorate offered in Pennsylvania.