Prospective Students

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The Penn State College of the Liberal Arts seeks to offer students a transformative educational experience that combines core liberal arts values—communication, analytic thinking, ethical decision-making, and appreciation for other cultures and other times—with internships, research opportunities, and global experiences that allow students to apply their skills in real-world contexts and grow personally and professionally. That educational experience also includes providing students opportunities to learn from, and work with, the leading liberal arts scholars within their respective disciplines; and connecting students with the vast network of college and University alumni who can serve as mentors and otherwise assist students as they begin building their professional networks.

Get Started

We are offering on-campus visits on Mondays and Fridays. Please note, these visits do not include a campus tour. For those who are not able to visit Penn State University Park in person, please register for a virtual meeting, which will be offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Our on-campus and virtual appointments give students and families a better understanding of our programs and the resources and opportunities available to Liberal Arts students. Use the buttons below to schedule an appointment.

If you have any questions, please contact Recruitment Manager Chantel Harley at 814-865-7141 or .

Schedule an On-Campus Meeting

Schedule a Virtual One-on-One Meeting

Attend a Virtual Alumni Panel

Attend an On-Campus Accepted Student Program

Attend a Virtual Accepted Student Program

Apply Now

History

Explore African American Studies, our featured major of the month  

African American Studies Major and Minor

African American Studies Major and Minor

Program Spotlight

The African American Studies major and minor focus on history of people of African descent from the colonial period through the present, which includes studying racial inequality and social movements and exposing students to the ideas, institutions, and practices that African American peoples have used to survive and shape the modern world.

Internships

Internships

Program Spotlight

Students in this major have interned with companies such as:

Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern School of Law
U.S. Department of Justice
Penn State's Division of Development and Alumni Relations

Education Abroad

Education Abroad

Program Spotlight

Popular destinations for students in this major:

Chile
Curaçao
Ghana
Spain

Post-Graduation Opportunities

Post-Graduation Opportunities

Program Spotlight

Continuing Education

Law school
Graduate school to study public policy

Alumni Industries

Consulting
Education (K–12)
Service management
Community development

Ray Block

Ray Block

Faculty Spotlight

Ray Block is the Brown-McCourtney Career Development Professor in the McCourtney Institute and associate professor of political science and African American studies. Ray is a senior analyst for the African American Research Collaborative, a group of community-engaged pollsters, scholars, researchers, and commentators committed to bringing an accurate understanding of African American civic engagement to the public discourse.

Christina Haynes

Christina Haynes

Faculty Spotlight

Christina Haynes is an assistant professor of African American Studies. Her research and upcoming book are on narratives of academically successful African American women who attend Predominantly White Institutions (PWI) and media depictions of Michelle Obama.

Nyla Holland

Nyla Holland

Alumni Spotlight

Nyla graduated from Penn State in 2021 with degrees in African American Studies and Political Science. As a fully engaged student, dedicated leader within the campus community, and president of the Penn State Student Black Caucus, Nyla consistently advocated for change and for amplifying the voices of students of color at the University. She received the Rock Ethics Institute's Stand Up Award, which is given to students who demonstrate ethical leadership by standing up for a cause, idea, or belief.

Adriana Lacy

Adriana Lacy

Alumni Spotlight

With a goal of fostering the next generation of journalists, Adriana Lacy, a 2018 African American Studies and Journalism alumna, was featured in this year's Forbes 30 Under 30! Adriana co-founded Journalism Mentors, which connects aspiring journalists with internships, job opportunities, and mentoring in the media industry.

Brian Davis

Brian Davis

Alumni Spotlight

Brian Davis, a 2018 African American Studies alumnus, was known on campus for his involvement and activism in social justice and continuous work for the betterment of others. He was president of the Social Justice Coalition, a coalition of State College and Penn State social justice organizations dedicated to ending racism and marginalization at Penn State. He also served as a director for the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration on campus.

Randy Houston

Randy Houston

Alumni Spotlight

Randy Houston, a 1991 College of the Liberal Arts alumnus, is the past president of the Penn State Alumni Association. He is an intellectual property and entertainment lawyer, as well as a musician and composer, playwright, and actor. Houston began a second career as a composer/librettist and music educator. He developed an original musical and co-founded a performing arts school and professional non-union theater.

Liberal Arts by the numbers
  • Number 5 in Developmental Psychology
  • Number 5 in Criminology
  • Number 11 in International Economics
  • Number 17 in Sociology
  • Number 18 nationally among "Top Public Schools" by U.S. News
  • 5 out of 5 stars for overall campus climate in the 2019 Campus Pride LGBTQ-Friendly Campus Climate Index

 

Majors and Minors

Full List of Majors and Minors

Social Sciences

The social sciences examine the relationships between individuals and societies, as well as the development and operation of societies. The critical thinking, research, and analytical skills gained in a social science major help prepare graduates for diverse job titles, including economist, psychologist, political scientist, and historian, postsecondary teachers, museum curators, and social workers.

Languages

Intercultural communication, critical thinking and reasoning, cultural adaptability, information and trend analysis, and the other skills that drive the global economy, are in high demand today. Language graduates find jobs in tourism, international development, marketing, policy making, journalism, government, and more.

Humanities

Students in the humanities study how people process and document the human experience. Most majors in the humanities build widely transferable skills that employers appreciate and go on to be writers, counselors, event organizers, social media managers, fundraisers, travel bloggers, and more.

Interested in business?

Consider Communication Arts and Sciences, Economics, Global and International Studies, International Politics, Political Science, Psychology (Business Option), or any of the languages above.

Interested in computers or cyber security?

Consider Social Data Analytics.

Interested in health and medicine?

Consider Anthropological Sciences (Biological Anthropology Option), Communication Arts and Sciences, Psychology (Life Sciences Option or Neuroscience Option), Women's Studies, or even English! Being a liberal arts major helped recent graduate John Miller develop a greater worldly perspective, improve his communication skills, and see how people experience life in different ways—traits that have benefitted the Paterno Fellow on his unique path to medical school. Read his story.

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