About the School

About the School

A Welcome from the Director

Thank you for visiting the School of Public Affairs!

Alexander Siedschlag, Ph.D.

Serving Penn State Harrisburg and the entire Penn State University, the School of Public Affairs (SPA) builds on a broad multidisciplinary foundation and experienced faculty with excellent research and professional backgrounds. Our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. We have more than thirty full-time faculty members hailing from twelve countries. In addition, a substantial part-time faculty of accomplished practitioners and leaders in their professional fields help us give students high-level academic learning outcomes as well as employable skills and real-life experience.

Our location close to Pennsylvania’s capital as well as the national capital area is of strategic importance as it provides students unique opportunities for their intellectual and professional development.

We offer rewarding internships and assistantships that place students side by side with leading scholars and practitioners. We also are proud of the exciting international experiences we offer our students. Facilitated by our many faculty with international backgrounds, the school facilitates comparative studies, international exchanges, and study abroad trips, as well as international research opportunities.

Educational offerings include four undergraduate degrees, four graduate degrees, five graduate certificates, and a doctoral degree. Our in-residence student population totals more than 250, and our online student population totals nearly 1,200.

Programs are delivered in residence on the Penn State Harrisburg Campus, at the Penn State Eastgate Center in downtown Harrisburg, close to the Pennsylvania State Capitol, and/or online through Penn State World Campus.

Specifically, we offer undergraduate degrees in criminal justice (certified by ACJS), health policy and administration, political science, and public policy. Minors and post-baccalaureate certificates are also available in a number of areas, including homeland security. Our master’s programs include a Master in Public Administration (accredited by NASPAA), a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, and a Master of Health Administration.

The School of Public Affairs is the academic and administrative home for Penn State’s online intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security, the most comprehensive program of its kind, where we collaborate across seven colleges within the University to educate professionals and to develop leaders to advance America’s homeland and national security workforce as well as work with international partners.

We also offer a Ph.D. in public administration with several specialization areas.

The school as well offers internship programs, continuing education programs, and lecture series.

Grounded in solid academic foundations, applied research, and an interdisciplinary approach, our programs foster public service and advanced study of contemporary challenges in politics and society in a comprehensive perspective. We prepare our graduates for successful careers in the public, non-profit, and private sectors in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world by working cooperatively with other academic units and programs at Penn State to deliver scholastic competency, transferable knowledge, and employable skills, to support life-long learning, to foster active citizenship and civic engagement, and to instill appreciation for cultural diversity.

I invite you to explore our website and on behalf of SPA, we would welcome the opportunity to meet and work with you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions and come to visit us soon.

Alexander Siedschlag, Ph.D
Interim Director, School of Public Affairs