Folklore and Ethnography Graduate Credit Certificate Program

Person-in-ChargeJeffrey P. Beck
Program CodeCLFKET

This 15-credit graduate certificate program offered at Penn State Harrisburg provides students with skills and practices used in projects and institutions of folklore and ethnography, which include field/folk schools and other educational settings, festivals and arts councils, historical and heritage societies, community and cultural organizations and centers, archives and record management programs, governmental agencies, cultural conservation/sustainability groups, and media production companies.

Students will leave the certificate program with a rich understanding of the way that culture informs our society, politics, individual psychology, and collective memory. But it will balance the development of specialist knowledge with the cultivation of practical skills for cultural inquiry and documentation. Students will develop their understanding of how to perform ethical and effective qualitative research with human subjects and will have many opportunities to apply these skills in field settings. They will also be offered opportunities to train in public sector work, including museum curation, historic preservation, and public programming.

Effective Semester:  Fall 2023
Expiration Semester: Fall 2028

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies. International applicants may be required to satisfy an English proficiency requirement; see GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

Applicants are expected to have 3.00 GPA or above in the last two years of undergraduate work in folklore, anthropology, sociology, American Studies, ethnic studies, history, communications, or other fields related to folklore and ethnography. Applicants should submit a 300-500 word statement of interest along with their application to the program.

A student in the certificate program may also become a student in the M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies, M.A. in Communications, or M.A. in Humanities, if the student meets criteria for admission to the Graduate School and to the graduate program; however, successful completion of the certificate neither implies nor guarantees admission to a graduate program at Penn State. Courses taken in the certificate program may be applied toward a graduate degree, subject to restrictions outlined in GCAC-309 Transfer Credit. Certificate students who wish to have certificate courses applied towards a graduate degree must apply and be admitted to that degree program.

Certificate Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in Graduate Council policy GCAC-212 Postbaccalaureate Credit Certificate Programs.

The Folklore and Ethnography certificate is awarded for successful completion of 9 credits of prescribed courses plus 6 credits of electives from an approved list of courses. Students must earn a grade of B or above in each course that counts toward the certificate program. Substitution of courses related to folklore and ethnography for elective credits is possible with approval in advance from the certificate coordinator.

Prescribed Courses
AMST 530Topics in American Folklore3
AMST 531Material Culture and Folklife 13
or AMST 541 Ethnography of Technology and Media in the United States
AMST 540Ethnography and Society3
In addition to the 9 credits of prescribed course work, students must select 6 credits from the following list of elective courses:6
American Beliefs and Myths
Folk Groups and Genres
Ethnography of the United States
Public Heritage Practices
The Folktale in American Literature
Seminar in Public Heritage
Meso-American Archaeology and Ethnography
Ethnographic Film
Anthropology of Religion
Jewish Communities: Identity, Survival, and Transformation in Unexpected Places
Ethnographic Field Methods
Educational Ethnography: History, Theory, and Methods
Contemporary Educational Ethnography
Video Ethnography in Education
Heroic Literature
The International Folktale
Myths and Folktales in Children's Literature
Total Credits15

Student must choose to complete one of either AMST 531 or AMST 541 (both are not required, though either may be taken as an elective, if not used to complete the prescribed courses requirement).


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of folklore as a field, including its history, scope, and theories, and ethnography as an important research methodology.
  2. Understand and apply methods and techniques applicable to folkloristic and ethnographic field research, such as personal or group interviewing, participant observation, field note taking, audio-video recording, ethnographic data coding, and ethnographic writing.
  3. Develop skills for working with folkloristic and ethnographic organizations, such as archival processing; records management; festival and public programming; cultural resource management; oral and written communication; grant-writing; and media design.


Campus Harrisburg
Graduate Program Head Jeffrey P Beck
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Anthony Bak Buccitelli
Program Contact

Amber Reichwein
Penn State Harrisburg
777 W Harrisburg Pike 356W Olmsted
Middletown PA 17057
(717) 948-6201

Program Website View