About the College
B. Stephen Carpenter II, Dean, College of Arts and Architecture
The College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State is a comprehensive arts community including academic programs in music, theatre, visual arts, art history, architecture, landscape architecture, and graphic design. The college is committed to artistic and scholarly creativity, research, and the preparation of specialized practitioners in all of the arts and design disciplines. As the administrative home of the Center for the Performing Arts, Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State Centre Stage, and Penn’s Woods Music Festival, the college serves as a premier cultural destination in central Pennsylvania, offering numerous opportunities for community engagement along with its academic programs.
Research centers at both the academic unit and college level provide opportunities for graduate students to work closely with faculty and other scholars. The College of Arts and Architecture is proud of its close-knit community where students experience the best of both worlds—small class sizes, with all the resources of a Big 10 university. It is a dynamic and vibrant place, propelled by the energy and initiative of students like you.
Mission and Goals
The College of Arts and Architecture is committed to providing the highest quality training for artists, designers, scholars, teachers, and arts professionals, and to advancing research and creative activity in our disciplines. Our goals are to create transformative experiences for students; maximize visibility of the arts and design at Penn State; engage communities through research, curricula, and arts presentation; and lead in technology in the arts and design.
Our schools and programs are accredited by the top bodies in their fields, including the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and more.
Departments and Schools
Department of Art History
The Department of Art History offers lecture/discussion courses and seminars on a broad range of topics, from ancient to contemporary art and architecture in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Courses are also offered in museum studies, historiography, iconology, criticism, connoisseurship, and research methods. The department maintains a close relationship with the Palmer Museum of Art through courses in museum studies, assistantships, and other hands-on experiences for students. Graduate degrees offered include the M.A. and Ph.D.
School of Music
With approximately 325 students enrolled, the School of Music offers degrees that help develop students as performers, teachers, and scholars. The school hosts nearly 400 public events each year, providing students with ample opportunities to perform, from small chamber groups to large ensembles. Graduate degrees offered include the M.A. (musicology, music theory, and music theory/history), M.Mus. (composition/theory, conducting, performance, and pedagogy/performance), M.F.A. (voice pedagogy for musical theatre), D.M.A. (piano performance), and M.M.E. and Ph.D. (music education).
H. Campbell and Eleanor R. Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
The Stuckeman School is home to the departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and the Graphic Design program.
Department of Architecture
The architecture department offers focused opportunities for inquiry, research, and study in key areas of culture, space, and society; design computing; material matters; and sustainability. Graduate degrees offered include the M.S. and Ph.D. in architecture, dual-title M.S. and Ph.D. in architecture and human dimensions of natural resources and the environment (HDNRE), and the professional Master of Architecture.
Department of Landscape Architecture
The landscape architecture program is consistently ranked among the best in the country. The department is guided by its bold mission: Great work grounded in commitment to environmental and social good. Degrees offered include the M.L.A. (Master of Landscape Architecture), M.S. in landscape architecture, and M.P.S. (Master of Professional Studies) and graduate certification in geodesign.
The graphic design program offers a close-knit community and individualized instruction through small class sizes. Graduates of the graphic design program hold leadership positions in design studios, advertising agencies, and corporate in-house design offices throughout the United States and abroad. The M.F.A. degree is offered for graphic design students interested in pursuing a master’s degree.
School of Theatre
The School of Theatre offers undergraduate degrees in acting, musical theatre, design and technology, stage management, and theatre studies, and graduate degrees in design and technology, directing and music directing, and voice pedagogy. Students study, perform, and produce classics, musicals, and new and devised theatre works, while developing skills that will help them sustain full lives and careers in theatre. The school offers the M.F.A. in design and technology, directing for musical theatre, music directing for musical theatre, and voice pedagogy for musical theatre.
School of Visual Arts
The School of Visual Arts (SoVA) offers degree programs in three areas of study: studio art, art education, and digital arts and design. SoVA’s visual arts and design programs offer students opportunities to respond imaginatively to social and cultural change through exploration, expression, and communication in visual art and design forms. Graduate degrees include the M.F.A., M.P.S. (Master of Professional Studies) in art education, and M.S. and Ph.D. dual degrees in art education and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.
International study goes hand-in-hand with study of the arts and design. The college is committed to providing international education opportunities. We work closely with Global Penn State to offer full semester and summer experiences all over the world.
The arts and design fields have always valued diversity and inclusion, and our college is no different. We are committed to developing and maintaining a student body, faculty, and staff that represent our diverse society. Learn more about how we create space where all individuals are valued on our college website.
University and College Awards
We want the best possible student candidates from our college to be considered for college and University-level awards. There are a number of awards in research, service, leadership, and performance—a full listing is on our college website.