Academic Advising supports student success through a combination of in-person and virtual advising meetings. Students are encouraged to meet with their adviser at least once a semester to discuss courses, degree progress, education abroad, and more. Students can also meet with a peer adviser or the academic recovery specialist.
Academic scholarships are a key piece to college affordability. Thanks to the generosity of our Liberal Arts alumni and donors, the College of the Liberal Arts offers need-based scholarships for students with at least one Liberal Arts undergraduate major enrolled at Penn State University Park.
The African Feminist Initiative is a global and transnational platform where feminist scholars and activists engage in interdisciplinary collaborative knowledge production about Africa and its diaspora.
The African Studies Global Virtual Forum seeks to decenter hegemonic epistemologies and decolonize the Western canon to facilitate other ways/waves of knowing. Through a series of online conversations, participants in the forum challenge the notion of the “universal truth” and discuss how the only universal truth is the truth of complexity. To decolonize knowledge, epistemic perspectives need to be pluralistic in ontologies, cosmologies, and insights, and the emergence of Epistemologies of the South is one such response to the decolonial turn. Joining us from around the world, our speakers discuss the multiple approaches taken in the humanities and social science scholarship to decolonize knowledge by paying attention to complexities and heterogeneities in disciplinary formations.
The African Studies program teaches and researches about Africa, in all its immensity and diversity from the ancient past to the present. As an interdisciplinary program, we cover topic areas in history, culture, geography, economics, politics, and literature, with specific focus in areas such as feminism, development, linguistics, extractive economies, and post-colonial studies in the shaping of modern-day Africa.
The Africana Research Center stimulates and sustains the development of relevant and appropriate initiatives at Penn State that foster diversity and an increased understanding and appreciation of the history, life, and culture of African diasporic peoples.
Drawing on a diverse array of Penn State faculty with a wide range of experiences and expertise, the Bioethics program offers a pioneering, cross-disciplinary curriculum that includes an undergraduate minor in Bioethics and Medical Humanities, a graduate minor in Bioethics at both the master’s and doctoral levels, and the first graduate degree of its kind in the United States—a dual-title doctoral program in Bioethics.
The Career Enrichment Network empowers Liberal Arts students to explore, engage, and define their career journey through diverse career development opportunities. Students can meet with a career coach to explore careers, internships, education abroad, research, the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, and more. Through donor support, the Career Enrichment Network is able to provide Liberal Arts students with funding to participate in many of these experiences.
The Center for American Literary Studies advances the study, teaching, and reading of American literature, making Penn State an internationally recognized source of pioneering work in American literary and cultural studies.
The Center for Black Digital Research, also known as #DigBlk, engages public and scholarly audiences in collaborative initiatives that bring the buried histories of early Black organizing to digital life. #DigBlk is committed to building future generations of Black scholars.
The Center for Democratic Deliberation (CDD) is a nonpartisan interdisciplinary center that promotes research and programming focused on rhetorical aspects of democratic deliberation. The center studies how people use language and communication, speaking and writing, argument and persuasion, or dialogue and debate to impact the quality of civic discourse. The CDD thus advocates a variety of humanistic resources that encourage constructive norms of agreement and disagreement, of consensus and dissent, of civic engagement and decision-making.
The Center for Global Studies is a cross-disciplinary center for the creative and innovative study of the complex facets of globalization. The center facilitates faculty and student research, promotes globally relevant education, and introduces new outreach programs.
The Center for Human Evolution and Diversity (CHED) promotes the transdisciplinary study of the human condition. CHED supports and promotes team-based, explicitly interdisciplinary basic research on the evolution of humans and human diversity, and educational research and outreach related to this research.
The Center for Humanities and Information supports research on the role information plays in the production of social meaning and value across the human sciences, from the orality-literacy transition to the new digital media. The center builds an intellectual community of Fellows.
The Center for Language Acquisition is a research unit that focuses on conducting and supporting applied linguistics research on the teaching, learning, and assessment of foreign and second languages.
The Center for Language Science is an interdisciplinary group of linguists, psycholinguists, applied linguists, speech-language pathologists, speech scientists, and cognitive neuroscientists who share an interest in language acquisition and bilingualism.
The Center for Social Data Analytics (C-SoDA) integrates social, scientific, computational, informational, statistical, and visual analytic approaches to analyze large or complex data that arise from human interaction. C-SoDA also supports research and education campus-wide in social data analytics.
The Chaiken Center for Student Success connects and guides students to the right resources and support they need—when they need it—in their academic journey. The Chaiken Center is a built-in community designed specifically for Liberal Arts students to connect to peers, support staff, and others providing resource information and friendly networking opportunities crucial to their college success.
The Child Study Center supports six interdisciplinary research initiatives, fifty-seven major externally-funded research projects, two graduate training programs, and a professional training institute, creating a unique and vibrant interdisciplinary community committed to improving children’s lives.
The college’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Transformation (CODIT) advises the dean on policies, initiatives, and procedures to encourage inclusion and diverse representation among Liberal Arts faculty, staff, and students.
The Communication, Science, and Society Initiative is a research partnership between the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences that focuses on addressing significant social problems at the intersection of human communication and the life sciences.
The Consortium on Moral Decision-Making is a collaborative hub dedicated to unraveling the intricate threads of ethical choices. As a multidisciplinary alliance of scholars, thinkers, and practitioners, we delve into the complexities of moral dilemmas, seeking a deeper understanding of how individuals and societies navigate the delicate balance between right and wrong.
The Criminal Justice Research Center bridges the gap between research and criminal justice practice by fostering a rigorous research agenda and transferring knowledge directly to criminal justice practitioners and policymakers.
The Department of African American Studies is a meeting ground for scholars, students and thinkers committed to the study of African American and African-descended peoples in the Americas. With faculty trained in anthropology, English, history, philosophy, and other disciplines, our collective work fosters critical understanding of the diaspora’s many cultures and expressions. As we foster meaningful engagement with the economic, social and political conditions of black life on campus and beyond, we seek to build a vibrant community of inquiry and innovation at Penn State.
As one of the nation’s most innovative programs, the Department of Anthropology's mission is to understand the origins and implications of human diversity—our diverse ways of being, behaving, and interacting with our environments. Our program is committed to integrating approaches from across the social and natural sciences, with a mandate to develop transdisciplinary solutions to ever-pressing social, biological, and environmental problems.
In teaching, research, and service, the Department of Applied Linguistics' mission is to advance understandings of language use and language learning from a range of anthropological, sociological, and psychological perspectives.
The study of Asia is broad-spanning millennia of culture, art, history, literature, language, and more. The Department of Asian Studies opens doors to students seeking to study the richness and diversity of the region. With four majors, four minors, and two emerging programs, students can pick the path that best suits their unique interests and goals.
Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS) is the study of cultures that arose and flourished around the Mediterranean basin (including Egypt, Greece, Rome, Anatolia, Israel, Mesopotamia, and North Africa) from ancient Mesopotamia (ca. 4000 BCE) to the end of Greco-Roman antiquity (ca. 600 CE). CAMS investigates the whole scope of the ancient Mediterranean world and trains students to interpret the linguistic, historical, and archaeological evidence of its cultures.
The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences is committed to the study, teaching, and practice of human communication for the betterment of Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world.
The Department of Comparative Literature crosses the boundaries of geography, time, nationalities, languages, and cultures—designed for students who want to study literature with an interdisciplinary and global perspective. The world of literature taught draws upon readings from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and from many historical periods. The range includes recognized great books along with less-known works, timeless myths and up-to-date graphic novels and video games, gender studies, colonial and postcolonial literatures, indigenous literatures, testimonies, legends, banned books, literatures of the occult, detective fictions, virtual worlds, and cultural theory, and more. Students engage with different languages and cultures, develop the critical skills for literary and cultural analysis, and relate literature to other media, including film and digital media.
The Department of Economics is dedicated to excellence in research and teaching—conducting cutting-edge research in economics and teaching students at the undergraduate and graduate level the methodology and ideas of modern economics—with the goal of training the next generation of professional economists, for academia, the government, and the private sector.
The Department of English fosters critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills. In our classrooms and in our scholarship, we explore writers, thinkers, and ideas from diverse cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds and traditions, as well as across a broad historical range.
The Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in German and Russian. Other Slavic languages offered include Ukrainian.
The Department of History boasts a distinguished faculty, known for their influential research and global contributions. The comprehensive curriculum covers diverse historical periods and methodologies, fostering critical thinking and analytical skills. Students, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, benefit from a supportive and inclusive academic environment with opportunities for tailored education and original research. The department actively cultivates a sense of community through events, lectures, and interdisciplinary collaborations.
The Department of Philosophy has been a bedrock of the Penn State community since its creation on in 1923. For 100 years, students have looked to us to study philosophical theory, explore its historical and cultural significance, and examine the role that philosophy continues to play in addressing the most pertinent social issues facing us today. We also play a significant role in preparing and diversifying future generations of philosophy scholars, thereby cementing our longstanding legacy as a vital contributor to the discipline.
Whether studying election campaigns, government processes, or court decisions, political science is a constantly changing, always exciting discipline. The Department of Political Science is a key player in those discussions because of its commitment to teaching, research, and service. Our faculty members are leading scholars in American politics, international politics, comparative politics, and methodology who frequently collaborate with peers from other disciplines throughout the University. We strive to provide an array of experiences for our undergraduate and graduate students—and help them find jobs once they graduate.
The Department of Psychology prioritizes research, teaching, and service in our pursuit of advancing our understanding of human behavior, thoughts, and emotions. Our research efforts are geared towards discovering new knowledge and innovative ways to apply this knowledge to improve the lives of individuals and communities. In our teaching, we aim to provide students with a comprehensive and engaging education in psychology that prepares them for successful careers and meaningful contributions to society. Finally, we are committed to providing service to our community and to society as a whole by using our expertise to help individuals and organizations address psychological issues and improve mental health.
The Department of Sociology and Criminology has widely recognized strengths in the areas of criminology, demography, gender, family, health, inequality, institutions and culture, and communities and environments. Faculty and students study topics ranging from racial and ethnic health disparities, to the causes of juvenile delinquency and drug use, to family relationships and gender inequality.
The Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese is at the forefront of literary, linguistic, and cultural studies in the United States. The department provides training that not only meets the highest standards of professional research but also prepares students for civic engagement and intellectual autonomy. To fulfill this mission, its goal is to be recognized as a leading department for the scientific study of language and for the integrative study of literature in the broad context of cultural productions.
The Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies welcomes all people, regardless of gender, race, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation. Our department is committed to creating an inclusive campus community that acknowledges the inherent dignity in every person. Our faculty engages in research, pedagogy, and service with an attention to social justice to contexualize and challenge sexism, transphobia, ableism, classism, and racial oppression. Through our work, we aim to move the discourse away from mere tolerance, celebration, or appreciation of difference to a deeper understanding and critique of discrimination, intolerance, and inequality in the historical and contemporary global society.
The Empathy and Moral Psychology Lab studies the affective and motivational mechanisms involved in empathy and moral decision-making. The lab utilizes insights and methodologies from affective science, social cognition, and moral philosophy, in order to understand how people think about and respond to pressing social and ethical situations.
The English for Professional Purposes Intercultural Center (EPPIC) is a research and academic support center that focuses on advanced English for academic and professional purposes. It provides instruction on spoken and written English to multilingual students and scholars via workshops, consultations, and customized programming.
The Department of French and Francophone Studies offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in French language, linguistics, French and Francophone literature, culture, and history. We are committed to engaging in innovative scholarship, fostering an intellectual climate that encourages research connections between disciplines, and creating excellence in instruction at all levels. Learn more about the opportunities and events in our community of dedicated scholars, devoted teachers, and promising students.
The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center advances research on the history of slavery, race, and democracy in the United States. It hosts the premiere journal in Civil War Era studies, organizes events, and provides support for faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and postdoctoral Fellows.
The Graduate Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion (GADI) is a graduate student-led organization devoted to the principles of diversity and inclusion among graduate students in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State. GADI is a space for building community, sharing knowledge, and advocating for policies that promote diversity and inclusion for underrepresented students.
The Humanities Institute is dedicated to supporting the generation and promotion of ideas in all aspects of the humanities and related disciplines. It engages Penn State faculty, other academics, and the public in ongoing discussion of the most pressing questions of our time.
The Jewish Studies program is an interdisciplinary program where students learn about the history, cultures, literatures, and languages of the Jewish people. In one of our four programs, your studies may range from the Israelite origins of the Jewish people to the experiences of postmodern Jews in the twenty-first century. You will be introduced to the methodologies of both the humanities and the social sciences—including historical inquiry, ethnography, literary criticism, and more.
The Latin American Studies program is a dynamic community of faculty and students built around degree programs, a running lectures series, and other related events. Our program offers three degrees—an undergraduate major, an undergraduate minor, and a graduate minor. The courses for these degrees are drawn from curricula across the College of the Liberal Arts and other colleges, helping the Latin American Studies program to act as a bridge connecting multiple departments, programs, centers, and faculty across the University.
The Latina/o Studies program promotes a critical understanding of the historical and contemporary position of Latinas, Latinos, and Latinxs in the United States. The program offers undergraduate and graduate courses that foster an understanding of Latinas/os in the United States political system, economy, and culture. Research and scholarship by faculty and students contributes to our knowledge about the historical and contemporary experiences of Latinas/os. Public programming and community outreach raises awareness of issues that Latinas/os face and contributions they make in different arenas.
Students in the College of the Liberal Arts can be found in leadership positions of student organizations across campus, including academic, international, multicultural, philanthropic, and political organizations, as well as student government, honor societies, and Greek life.
The study of language as a structural, cognitive, historical, and cultural phenomenon is a pursuit that cuts across many different academic disciplines. The Linguistics program offers majors and minors at the doctoral and undergraduate levels designed for students in any major field.
The Middle Eastern Studies program provides a major and minor for students pursuing degrees in any major who are interested in courses having to do with the Middle East from ancient to modern times. Courses are taught by faculty with expertise in disciplines such as history, political science, religion, language, literature, art history, communication arts and sciences, gender studies, religious studies, Jewish studies, and more. Our program offers a way to investigate a region of the world from multiple perspectives engaging a variety of methods of study.
The Office of Alumni Relations and Development is dedicated to fostering relationships that engage alumni, students, and faculty with the college and each other by providing opportunities to celebrate the community, to learn and grow together, and to promote the mission of the University.
The Office of Digital Pedagogies and Initiatives partners with Liberal Arts residential faculty and staff to transform courses and projects with digital methods. They provide workshops, trainings, and other professional development opportunities.
The Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity supports the success of the traditionally underrepresented students in higher education. The office serves as a collaborative link with other University partners to support student success. The office helps students get involved through student organizations, research opportunities, education abroad experiences, and more.
The Office of Research and Graduate Studies assists faculty in submitting grant proposals and managing grant and contract funding. They are especially committed to showing faculty new to the grant writing process how easy and rewarding it can be.
The Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies oversees curriculum building and assessment for undergraduate courses. They also house the Office of Academic Integrity, which provides support and resources for Liberal Arts faculty.
The Office of the Dean organizes events for Liberal Arts faculty and staff.
The Paterno Fellows Program is an innovative program offered jointly by the College of the Liberal Arts and Schreyer Honors College that encourages students to challenge themselves academically and distinguish themselves in areas traditionally associated with the liberal arts—ethics, service, and leadership; excellence in communication; and intercultural awareness.
The Religious Studies minor prepares students to be global citizens by understanding, appreciating, and engaging a rich variety of religious traditions in different cultural contexts and historical periods. The study of religion is inherently interdisciplinary and comparative, and it draws on historical, sociological, literary, and philosophical approaches, among others. It offers a dynamic vantage point to appreciate human diversity, including political and ethical beliefs.
The Rock Ethics Institute promotes engaged ethics research and leadership by supporting interdisciplinary collaborations, promoting ethical literacy and leadership at Penn State, and engaging community partners and the public in collaborative ways.
The School of Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures is an administrative structure that includes the Department of Asian Studies, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Department of French and Francophone Studies, the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, and the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. The school also includes the Center for Global Studies, the Summer Language Institute, and the Less Commonly Taught Languages Initiative. The school’s purpose is to promote the study and knowledge of languages, literatures, and cultures worldwide. Its member departments offer graduate and undergraduate degrees, education abroad programs, student research opportunities, internships, and more.
People are the greatest asset to any organization—whether it’s a small business or a multinational corporation, or anything in between. The School of Labor and Employment Relations studies the myriad aspects of the employer/employee relationship, including human resources, labor management, and employee relations. These are complex issues with many stakeholders. We are committed to understanding national and global issues and engaging multiple points of view from employers, employees, unions, and government.
From climate change to health care, there are some big questions to answer and some significant challenges to address. The School of Public Policy tackles them, creating professionals who have the skills to identify, analyze, and solve our major policy issues. The school was established in 2018 to serve as a hub for policy research and curriculum. The Master of Public Policy program is ranked in the top third of all programs in the country and attracts students from across the United States and from around the globe.
Since its founding in 1992, the Social Thought program has served as a network of interdisciplinary research and communication for scholars from various disciplines, all with shared interests in broadly defined social, cultural, and political theories. Recognizing the world’s growing connectivity and complexity, informed scholars and citizens now realize that expertise in a single discipline will no longer suffice when interpreting pressing issues facing the global polity. With multifaceted cultural products and political events evolving ever more rapidly, enveloping social institutions within and among nations more swiftly than in the past, new ways of understanding these phenomena must be created. It is in the hope of helping to nurture scholars who can deal in these matters that the Social Thought Program owes its existence.
The Society for the Study of Religion is an informal, unofficial gathering of faculty, students, and community members from across the University who are interested in promoting the academic study of religion.
The Staff Advisory Committee seeks to enhance the work environment, improve processes, develop best practices, better utilize resources, promote professional development and growth, and encourage interunit communications within the College of the Liberal Arts.
The Liberal Arts Sustainability Council seeks to advance the understanding and resolution of sustainability challenges on campus, in our communities, and around the world. It does so by integrating sustainability into the college’s educational, research, and service pursuits—integrations which facilitate stronger training for undergraduate and graduate students, develop participation and leadership in sustainability scholarship at Penn State and the larger academic community, and support University efforts to achieve sustainable practices.
The McCourtney Institute for Democracy is an interdisciplinary research center that seeks to understand, preserve, and defend democracy. The institute strives to help people in the Penn State community and beyond become better democratic citizens through research, education, and outreach.
Spearheading the Ukrainian Studies program is Woskob Family Professor of Ukrainian Michael M. Naydan, who has been teaching at the University since 1988. Dr. Naydan is the author-translator of over 40 books and nearly 100 other publications in scholarly and literary journals. The latest addition to the department is Assistant Professor Yuliya V. Ladygina, who also is an expert in Ukrainian studies with a forthcoming book on eminent Ukrainian writer Olha Kobylianska with the University of Toronto Press.