Courses & Degrees

Penn State offers a wide variety of courses that focus on, or include, folklore. Some are offered every semester, while others vary from year to year, or by instructor. These include:

Undergraduate Courses

  • AMST 50 The Literature and Lore of Mining
  • CAMS/RLST 44 Ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian Mythology
  • CAMS 45 Classical Mythology
  • AMST/ENGL 105 American Popular Culture and Folklife
  • AMST/ENGL 196 Introduction to American Folklore
  • CMLIT 108 Myths and Mythologies
  • CMLIT 109 Native American Myths, Legends, and Literatures
  • CMLIT/JST/CAMS/RLST 113 Myths and Legends of the Jews
  • GER 157 Pennsylvania Germans: The Culture of the Sectarians
  • HUM 150N World Mythologies in the Arts
  • RUS 110 Russian Folklore
  • AFAM 280 Historical Ethnography of Freedom
  • CSD 269 Deaf Culture
  • ENGL/AFAM 235 From Folk Shouts and Songs to Hip Hop Poetry
  • HIST 203 History of Monsters, Aliens & The Supernatural

Upper-Division/Master’s Level Courses

  • AMST 417 American Beliefs and Myths
  • AMST 423 Folk Groups and Genres
  • AMST 482 Public Heritage Practices
  • AMST/ENGL 493 The Folktale in American Literature
  • ANTH 422 Meso-American Archaeology and Ethnography
  • ANTH/AMST 448 Ethnography of the United States
  • ANTH 453 Anthropology of Religion
  • ANTH 458 Ethnographic Field Methods
  • ANTH 472 The Ecology of Traditional Farming
  • CMLIT 408 Heroic Literature
  • CMLIT 480 The International Folktale
  • ENGL 461 The Vernacular Roots of African American Literature

Master’s/Doctoral Level Courses

  • AMST 530 Topics in American Folklore
  • AMST 531 Material Culture and Folklife
  • AMST 540 Ethnography and Society
  • AMST 541 Ethnography of Technology and Media in the United States
  • CI/CIED 511 Educational Ethnography: History, Theory, and Methods
  • CI 512 Contemporary Educational Ethnography
  • CI/CIED 513 Video Ethnography in Education
  • FR 574  French Folklore and Popular Culture
  • LLED 563 Myths and Folktales in Children’s Literature

Penn State also offers a Graduate Certificate in Folklore and Ethnography through the American Studies program in the School of Humanities at Penn State Harrisburg. This certificate is the premier form of credentialing for those with interests in academic or public sector folklore, anthropology, or qualitative sociology work within American Studies.  It provides students with knowledge and skills that can be put to use in 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.

The certificate can be completed independently or concurrently with an MA/PhD degree.

More information about the certificate is available here.

Students with interests in folklore studies or ethnography are encouraged to join the Folklore Students Working Group. This group organizes a series of seminars and events on campus each academic year. For more information about this group, including upcoming events, please contact the group’s chairs, Cory Thomas Hutcheson ( and Raven Haymond (

Graduates of Penn State’s American Studies Program have developed careers at a wide range of local, regional, national, and international institutions. This page highlights alumni at institutions outside Penn State who are active in folklore research and teaching. We are always gathering information, so if you’d like to offer placement news or updates, please contact

Trevor J. Blank (PhD ’11) – Associate Professor of Communication and Interdisciplinary Studies at the State University of New York, Potsdam.

Amy K. Milligan (PhD ’12) – Batten Endowed Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Women’s Studies and director of the Institute of Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding at Old Dominion University.

Jennifer R. Dutch (PhD ’13)- Assistant Professor of English at York College.

David J. Puglia (PhD ’15) – Assistant Professor of English at the City University of New York, Bronx Community College.

Cory Thomas Hutcheson (PhD ’18)- Assistant Professor of Composition at Kutztown University.