Emphasizing 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.
The program covers America broadly in its national and international contexts. All graduate students take an introductory seminar on American studies theory and methods, AMST 500, and a culminating seminar, AMST 591, that prepares them to undertake their doctoral dissertation. Areas of focus for coursework and research 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.
The program benefits from Penn State Harrisburg's proximity to internationally known heritage sites such as the Gettysburg Battlefield; 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. Philadelphia, Baltimore, Lancaster, and Washington, D.C. provide further opportunities for research, internships, field trips, and other experiences.
While students must enroll full time (9 credits) for two consecutive semesters, many students complete the degree while working full or part time. Most graduate courses are offered in the evening.
Degree Conferred: Ph.D.
Online Open House