College of Arts and Sciences

Launch Dauphin Humanities

Shippensburg University's College of Arts and Sciences has 16 departments, which span the humanities and fine arts, sciences and mathematics, social sciences and interdisciplinary programs. We offer over 100 different undergraduate majors, minors, and certificate programs, as well as graduate programs.

We prepare you for employment in business and industry, public service, teaching or further graduate study through a variety of learning experiences in and out of the classroom, including: internships, faculty/student research opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as various clubs, activities and organizations designed to complement your educational experience.

Dean's Message

The College of Arts and Sciences offers an exceptional opportunity for transforming students into valued professionals. The key to student success is combining what you learn both inside and outside the classroom. While classroom learning grounds you in academic knowledge, robust service learning and undergraduate research opportunities complement and supplement the theoretical with real world experience. What does this mean? It means Ship students become agile and adaptable, and graduate ready for the workforce, fully prepared to succeed. This is what it means to be Ship ready.

One-on-one attention meets experiential learning
You are unique. So are we. Dedicated faculty are interested in who you are, and how you learn. Graduates take on the world with a broad base of knowledge and know how to apply that in practical ways.

Focus on faculty
Teacher-scholars are a key component to student success. As students spend four years learning, faculty are also continuously engaged in activities that enhance their teaching, research and service, bringing new practices, discoveries and opportunities back to their classes. This is a core component of gaining relevant knowledge and skills that will support a student’s growth within the curriculum and the graduate’s success in their career.

Challenge yourself
Faculty and staff care about you and your success, and are dedicated to helping you grow academically, personally and professionally. When you are here, you can expect to:

  • Receive one-on-one, individualized attention within a broad range of learning opportunities and experiences.
  • Have opportunities to challenge, and be challenged, by peers as your world views broaden.
  • Actively seek learning opportunities outside of the classroom where personal and professional growth benefits you.

Most importantly, the relationships you build with classmates, community members and faculty and staff, will serve you well as you transition to the next steps of life’s journey.

Internships and networking: Ground rules
We help all students identify and develop meaningful internship opportunities, some of which are paid, others for credit as part of your academic program. Either way, internships are an excellent way to start building the networks and skills required to enter and be a successful leader in the workforce. Internship opportunities include private and public organizations as well as NGOs. The arts and sciences are very broad, which means our internship opportunities are correspondingly very broad.

Alumni: Your friends in the job market
Our alumni are everywhere: state government, local industrial facilities, hospital systems, the state park system and national businesses such as Volvo, Ford and Google. Of course, many of our students choose to stay in the region. We believe you can be successful wherever you go. Networking is critical, and internships are one way to expand your network. These mentors will know the skills you bring to the table and advocate for you during the hiring process. The wide Shippensburg University alumni base across the nation means our graduates have family in their job searches when the time comes.

Reach out to research
Undergraduate research experience is available to all students, not just science majors, as is commonly thought. Humanities and social sciences are strong contributors to research across our various programs. When you do an undergraduate research project at Ship, and then go off to do an internship, you are already geared up to face the challenges of the real world. You are ready.

Mission Statement

Our college is founded upon the principle that a high-quality, professional education within a major, when combined with a minor emphasis, and a broadly based general educational experience, provides a firm foundation upon which to build a productive and enriched life and career pathway. Due of the nature of the disciplines comprising the college, we also provide excellent development of critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills – a set of “soft skills” that, when combined with disciplinary knowledge, is highly valued by employers, graduate schools and professional schools.

Academic Departments

Art and Design Department - Whether you are in it for the love of art or the money, we provide you with a strong foundation in the visual arts. Whatever your artistic sensibilities, nurture them in studio areas such as ceramics, drawing, digital art, graphic design, painting, printmaking and sculpture. You may pursue art education certification, or take a deep dive into art history. You can choose from a wide variety of general education courses to fulfill graduation requirements. Our faculty are members of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Art Educators Association (NAEA), Pennsylvania Art Educators Association (PAEA), and the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). You can also be part of visiting artists’ programs, trips to Washington, D.C., New York City, Philadelphia and credit-bearing trips to foreign countries for holistic opportunities to view the world of art.

Biology Department - Get up close and personal with the world around you. You can explore undergraduate concentrations in biotechnology, clinical sciences, ecology and environmental biology, health professions and secondary education. Our programs combine classroom, laboratory, and field studies. Required courses help you gain a strong foundation in life sciences, elective courses help you specialize in a particular area, and general education courses allow you to broaden your education. We offer many internships and scientific research options. Our close proximity to federal and state research labs, state forests and parks and medical institutions allows for unique class visits. We have oceanographic study and research opportunities at Wallops Island, Virginia. Our many clubs provide a variety of social and educational activities for students. We also have a small, active graduate program that reflects the diversity of interests of our faculty.

Chemistry and Biochemistry Department - Our curriculum is approved by the American Chemical Society and involves core and laboratory courses in general, inorganic, organic, physical, and analytical chemistry as well as the allied fields of physics and mathematics. So, whether you are interested in pursuing a career in forensic sciences, want to attend medical, dental, or veterinary school or are planning to pursue a pharmacy degree, we have just the right programs for you.

Communication/Journalism Department - We offer one of only three programs in Pennsylvania with accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. We offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. You can prepare for a career in electronic media such as television, radio, cable, web streaming and video production. If deadlines don’t scare you and words flow off your keyboard in style, you can choose the print and online media concentration to carve a niche in the heady world of newspapers and magazines. If mediating, negotiating and pitching ideas is your forte, the public relations concentration prepares you for exciting careers in media relations, public affairs and digital strategic communications. Our graduate program helps you strengthen an existing communications career, prepare for advanced communications studies, or enter a communication industry. Helping you rewrite or chart the course of your future career are four student media organizations here: PRSSA (pre-professional organization for PR students), The Slate (Shippensburg University’s award-winning newspaper), SUTV (Shippensburg University Television is an Emmy®-winning station), and WSYC 88.7 FM (our radio station).

Economics Department - It’s not all about the money – there’s policy and productivity, globalization, technological change and environmental concerns as well as questions of fiscal and monetary policy, poverty, inflation and unemployment. Look no further than the Economics Department's undergraduate programs that lead to a Bachelor of Science degree. The economics major enables you to analyze problems relating to choice, equity and efficiency from an individual as well as social standpoint. You are prepared to be active, thinking members of society, capable of productive and constructive participation.

We sponsor an Economics Club and have a local chapter of the national economic honor society, Omicron Delta Epsilon. We have successfully competed in the Fed Challenge, a student team panel competition sponsored annually by the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank.

English Department - If you are interested in the English language, we have the right tools to guide you toward success. You can look ahead to lucrative careers in publishing, journalism, web content writing and design, public relations, teaching and marketing, among countless others. You can go on to work for small businesses, large corporations, local newspapers, and mass media outlets. With an English degree, the job possibilities are endless. We provide you with skills that consistently rank highest among attributes employers want. Majors focused on professional and creative writing can enter positions including, but not limited to, technical writers, editors, copywriters, lexicographers, librarians or social media managers.

Geography/Earth Science Department - Are you rooted in your surroundings? Care for the environment? Want to solve crises plaguing the physical world we live in? Wonder about the precision systems governing the remote sensing systems we use daily? Come to our department and partake in our excellent undergraduate and graduate programs of study in geography, earth sciences, sustainability and the mapping sciences. Our undergraduate programs are designed to give you an appreciation of the natural and human environments of the earth. You will develop skills in collecting, recording, and analyzing geoenvironmental data, get involved in laboratory work, field investigations, and environmental exercises to sharpen your critical thinking and technological skills, and arrive at solutions based on evidence and inductive reasoning. Our programs and courses focus on the importance of location, the reasons why places and regions are different physically and culturally but linked economically. The unique quality of our department is its object of analysis—the earth's surface.

Global Languages and Cultures Department - We provide comprehensive training in languages and cultures to majors, minors, certificate seekers and students in general education classes preparing to compete in the global workforce. Our programs in French, German and Spanish focus on the development of oral and written proficiency, as well as cross-cultural literacy, in accordance with the World Readiness Standards set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). You will also have the chance to join our many clubs: French Club & Honor Society, German Club, Klub Kreyol, or the Spanish Club & Honor Society. Join us to make the world a more linguistically-connected place.

History/Philosophy Department - Your interest in history can become the foundation for a lifetime of personal and professional success. Whether you want to teach social studies, work at a museum or historic site, pursue graduate school or law school, or work for a government, business, or non-profit organization, our programs can provide you with the skills and experiences you need to succeed.

Situated in the beautiful Cumberland Valley, a region rich with historic sites and resources, we're in an ideal location for studying history. We offer a diverse range of fascinating courses, allowing you to immerse yourself in the topics and time periods that you enjoy. Our department has particular strengths in United States history, European history, Asian and Middle Eastern history, world history, and public history. We provide you with a wide array of opportunities for hands-on experiential learning.

Our public history students work with historical artifacts and learn museum practices at the Shippensburg University Fashion Archives and Museum that is located on campus. You will have opportunities to volunteer and undertake service learning projects at museums, archives and historical sites in our region.

Our well-established internship program makes it possible for you to gain professional work experience, including at sites such as Gettysburg National Military Park, the United States Army Heritage and Educational Center and the Pennsylvania State Museum.

Graduate students can pursue our applied history master’s degree that provides advanced historical training and hands-on professional experiences. It is also ideal for teachers seeking professional development in history. Educators may also consider a curriculum and instruction degree with a history concentration. We also offer a M.A/M.S.L.I.S. dual degree program where you may earn a Master of Arts from Shippensburg University and a Master of Library and Information Sciences from Clarion University.

Human Communication Studies Department - In this department, your interests will be nurtured through a student-centered educational experience that helps you develop critical, creative thinking and the ability to express ideas in a succinct and articulate manner. You will acquire an understanding of communication, its theory, practice and ethical implications across varied fields. You will receive ample opportunities for participation and co-creation in the learning process. Our major and minor programs help you build skills such as effective listening, interpersonal dynamics, group dynamics, critical analysis, persuasion, conflict management and resolution and message construction and delivery, both orally and in writing. An emphasis on the ethical use of communication and the cultural dimensions, both of which are fundamental to effective human communicative strategies, are key to each course offered.

Mathematics Department - Do you dream in numbers, solve equations at the dinner table, or swear by the power of statistics? If so, take a close look at our general mathematics program or choose to specialize with a concentration in applied mathematics, secondary education or statistics. Our classrooms are equipped with a variety of technological resources, and our faculty integrate technology training throughout our curriculum. Our Bachelor of Science program gives you a unique level of exploration and guidance on careers in the mathematical sciences. We combine a solid mathematics core with additional coursework in traditional applied mathematics topics such as mathematical modeling and differential equations. We have electives available in a wide range of areas including data science, mathematical biology, numerical analysis and mathematical interest theory. Our university is a great place to become a math teacher because its secondary education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. It also has the only public elementary lab school in the state.

You can also consider a career in actuarial sciences, which is rated among the top STEM careers in terms of salary and job satisfaction. Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, data analysis, and finance to help businesses make smart decisions about financial risk and uncertainty. With this program under your belt, you are well-prepared for the insurance industry, although other industries are also increasingly seeking graduates of actuarial sciences.

Music/Theatre Arts Department - Our department strikes the right chords and offers you the best instruments to achieve success. We give you much-needed academic, artistic and social development, and help you reach out to the greater Shippensburg community and beyond with performances and ambassador opportunities. Check out the exciting opportunities in music ensemble such as brass, university-community orchestra, concert band and choir, jazz, madrigal singers and marching band. Our home within the university is the beautiful H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center. Here, you will find your classrooms, rehearsal rooms and the Grove Theatre. The theatre is equipped with state-of-the-art lighting, audio equipment and video and projection equipment. With a seating capacity of approximately 1,500 tiered seats, it is one of the largest performing arts centers in the region. Apart from your performances, we also bring nationally-known speakers, musicals, comedians, bands and more throughout the year.

Upon course completion, the world will be your stage, but during your time here, the Memorial Auditorium will also provide you with performance space. It is home to annual events such as musicals, plays and dance showcases.

Physics Department - Whether you are seeking a technical career, an engineering degree or wish to fuel your desire to teach physics, our department has it all for you. Our Bachelor of Science degree prepares you for direct entry into the job market or graduate school in physics or engineering. You can choose tracks in general physics, advanced physics or computational science.

In our highly-valued 3+2 degree program in applied physics and engineering, students attend Shippensburg for three years and then transfer to one of our partner universities (Penn State Main Campus or Harrisburg Campus). All your credits transfer and after two more years you will be awarded an engineering degree from the partner university and an applied physics degree from us.

Political Science Department - Do you aspire to be a change maker? Want to work on policies and plans that shape the way we live? Our programs offer a variety of options that will launch your career into the world of the movers and shakers of this country. With the university’s strategic location between the state capital and the nation’s capital, you will be in the ideal place to study political science, gain experience and access all levels of government. You will find strong networking opportunities through internships, hands-on experiences, groups and faculty connections. We have a large alumni network in Harrisburg and D.C. We provide internship, job shadow and career opportunities. Additionally, we have an impressive government documents collection in the campus library. We offer several undergraduate programs, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and support for pre-law students.

Our MPA program prepares you in general public management theory, techniques and skills. You may find work in policy making positions with the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the federal and state government, local government, not-for-profit agencies and the private sector.

Psychology Department - Are you curious about how our minds work? Want to dig deep into the mysteries of our behavior patterns? Then our department is the right choice for you. We offer high-quality research, internship and service-learning opportunities, with a broad selection of courses taught in small classes. We give you quality and personalized attention. You will grasp psychology's basic terminology, major theories, philosophical assumptions, classic and current research, and in-depth knowledge in your area of specialization. Apart from the general problem-solving skills common to all liberal arts, you will learn special research techniques of psychology - from experimental design to interviewing. This will provide you with insight into your own psychological development, values, potentials and career, through reflection and interaction with professors and peers.

We offer a master’s degree in applied psychology which emphasizes the application of psychological principles and methodologies to real world problems. This program is delivered 100% online in an accelerated format so you complete it in one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. We also have a behavior specialist certificate if you are working toward the Behavior Specialist License in Pennsylvania.

Sociology/Anthropology Department - Are you a people person? Interested in how society functions and the many diversities that unite humankind? Our department can help you find your niche in one of our programs - be it a major in sociology, minor in anthropology or sociology or as part of our interdisciplinary master’s program in organizational development and leadership.