Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Harrisburg


The Pennsylvania State University was founded as the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society in 1851 to provide agricultural education to the masses. The society kept adding new programs and finally renamed itself as the Pennsylvania State College in 1874.

During the Great Depression, the college opened campuses at multiple locations in the state to provide educational provisions for students who couldn’t afford to attend a residential campus. It was during this time the Harrisburg campus was also founded.

Penn State Harrisburg offers more than 30 bachelor’s programs and 24 master’s programs. There are also a host of certificate and diploma courses that students can choose from. Currently, the Penn State Harrisburg campus has five schools:

  • Behavioral Sciences and Education
  • Business Administration
  • Humanities
  • Public Affairs
  • Science, Engineering, and Technology
  • Students can take the first two years of learning at Harrisburg and then transfer to any college under the Penn State educational system or continue their program at Harrisburg. However, the college does offer master degrees and doctoral programs. Joint degree programs are available through partnership with Penn State Dickinson School of Law and Penn State College of Medicine.

    The Harrisburg campus is among the top 50 public universities according to the 2011 U.S. News and World Report. It is accredited by the Middle States Association.

    Students can also take certificate programs in business management, food safety, and presentation skills. All these are campus programs which are taught via a classroom model (evening classes and weekend programs) at the Adult Learning Center.

    A 115,000-square foot state of the art library was added to the campus in the year 2000. It boasts of an art gallery, a 24/7 cyber café, and a reading room dedicated to Holocaust studies.

    Most Popular Fields of Study


    Information Summary

    Ranks 27th in Pennsylvania and 333rd overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
    Overall Score (about) 89.5
    Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $33,396
    Admission Success rate N/A
    ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 27 / 1290
    Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 17 : 1
    Retention (full-time / part-time) 86% / 36%
    Enrollment Total (all students) 4,933


    Admissions to the spring session open in January while fall session applications open in March. More details can be found through the college’s academic calendar.

    Admission requirements at Penn State Harrisburg are the same as in other colleges of the Pennsylvania State University. Penn State Harrisburg is a selective college, just like the main university.

    Freshmen Students

    To apply as a first year student, students must provide high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and ACT writing scores. A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required. Students should also attach an essay and a personal statement highlighting extracurricular activities and additional academic qualifications.

    Transfer Students

    Penn State Harrisburg accepts transfer students from either Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities or Pennsylvania community colleges. Students are advised to use the college’s transfer credit tool to determine how credits will be transferred.

    Students who have completed more than one semester of course work are not required to submit high school transcripts or GED scores.

    International Students

    To apply at Penn State Harrisburg, international students are required to provide proof of English proficiency by taking TOEFL or IELTS. It is mandatory to attach proof of secondary and post secondary education and SAT scores.

    Please include copies of passport, visa, and I-94 form.

    Graduate Students

    Graduate program requirements vary depending on the program you are applying to. All programs require GRE scores, with the exception of Master of Education programs which may require GMAT or PRAXIS results. All applications must be accompanied with 2-3 letters of recommendation, a personal statement and work experience documents (if applicable).


    Pennsylvania State University Penn State Harrisburg_building :: Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Harrisburg building :: Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Harrisburg
    building :: Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Harrisburg

    Financial Aid

    Federal financial aid is available in the form of Pell grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity grant, Perkins loans, Diversity grant, and work study programs. To be eligible for federal financial aid, students must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at FAFSA.

    In addition to the FAFSA, another application form must be completed for Penn State scholarships and submit a personal autobiographical essay. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required to apply for institutional scholarships.

    Among the most prestigious scholarships at Penn State Harrisburg is the Board of Advisers Graduate Scholarship. Others include Graduate School Doctoral Fellowships, Bunton-Waller Graduate Scholar Awards, and Capital College Graduate Assistantships.

    Students are also encouraged to apply for scholarships like Blue Sky Award, Hershey Foods Graduate Scholarship, Kunkle Scholarship, and others.

    Student Financial Aid Details

    Ranks 1481st for the average student loan amount.
    Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Pennsylvania.


    As of 2011, approximately 400 students live on campus at Penn State Harrisburg’s Village Housing Complex. Four apartment buildings provide residence for upper class students. Upper class apartments include four single occupancy bedrooms, a common living room, a fully functional kitchen and two bathrooms. First year students are housed in a residence hall style building with study areas and lounge rooms at each floor.

    Dining areas at the campus include a food court called the Stacks Market and a bistro style café, Biscotti’s Coffee Bar. Students can purchase meal plans to eat at these places.

    At Penn State Harrisburg, students benefit from the academically challenging learning environment and the ability to participate in numerous extracurricular activities which are organized by student clubs and organizations.

    Greek fraternities on campus include Alpha Sigma Lambda, Chi Alpha, Kappa Beta Gamma, Psi Chi and several others. In addition to this, multiple clubs like the Black Student Union, Residence Life Council, Running Club, American Studies etc. also help students with peer to peer learning and networking.

    Recreational facilities are present at Capital Union Building and Aquatics Center.

    Student Enrollment Demographics

    Student Graduation Demographics


    Athletic teams at Penn State Harrisburg are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Varsity teams compete in the North Atlantic Conference and North Eastern Athletic Conference. The teams play in the official school colors of navy and white.

    Men’s sports include:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Women teams play basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball.

    Penn State Harrisburg Fitness Facility includes a state of the art gymnasium which has basketball, badminton, and volleyball courts. The weight training room is equipped with dumbbells, treadmills, and chest press machines.

    A three mile fitness trail lines the campus and is open from dawn to dusk.


  • Bernard Hershberger, owner Stoltz Manufacturing
  • Camilla Robinson, ACJS award winner
  • Bibliography

    • Penn State Harrisburg. Penn State Harrisburg. Web. June 14, 2011.
    • Pennsylvania State University. Pennsylvania State University. Web. June 14, 2011.

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