Penn State Abington announces new Race and Ethnic Studies degree program

Abington new major

The race and ethnic studies major at Penn State Abington prepares students for succeed in diverse workplaces in a variety of fields as well as for graduate programs. 

Credit: Penn State

ABINGTON, Pa. — Penn State Abington announced a new bachelor of arts degree in race and ethnic studies (RES), bringing the total number of undergraduate degrees that can be completed at Abington to 25. Abington is the only campus within the Penn State system to offer the program. 

Students will develop skills to advance solutions to complex societal problems while preparing them for academic and career success, according to Lisa Chewning, interim division head for Arts and Humanities. 

"Race and ethnic studies provides students with the tools to examine and analyze, to ask questions, and to seek answers to the most pressing issues of our times,” she said. 

“Studies confirm that students in race and ethnic studies majors are more academically engaged, develop a stronger sense of self-efficacy and personal empowerment, perform better academically, graduate at higher rates, and are better critical thinkers," Chewning continued. 

Located just outside Philadelphia, Abington provides a unique community for students majoring in RES. 

“We are the most diverse campus within Penn State, and we are part of a vibrant urban and suburban region that offers one-of-a-kind opportunities for internships and other out-of-class learning,” David Ruth, interim program director for RES, said

We are part of a vibrant urban and suburban region that offers one-of-a-kind opportunities for internships and other out-of-class learning.

—David Ruth , interim chair, Race and Ethnic Studies program

Students in the major will complete several courses that will provide them with a comprehensive introduction to key concepts, theories, and debates that inform the study of race and ethnicity. They will also select supporting courses that are distributed equally across two areas, a social group area and a thematic area.  

RES offers students a great deal of flexibility with only three required courses and the option of pairing it with a complementary major or minor. 

This interdisciplinary degree prepares students for employment in diverse workplaces in fields such as education, communications, government, social work, and business. It also sets students up for success in graduate programs including law, history, psychology, social work, and business. 

At Abington, RES meets a call from the campus community for a major that serves as an intellectual hub for the study of race and ethnicity and satisfy the need for dialogue and action on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Request information about the race and ethnic studies major.

About Penn State Abington 

Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With more than 3,100 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 25 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer Honors College, NCAA Division III athletics and more.