technology, literature and the arts. Folklore’s reach is global, ranging from villages, towns and cities in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Australia and Europe to migrant and immigrant communities in the megalopolitan and rural regions of the world, and spanning divergent population groups as well. The field of study is vast, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary.
French Studies
The French language and French civilization have long been dominant influences on world culture, and France has played a major role in world history. French is spoken not only in Europe (France, Belgium, Switzerland) but also in North America, the Caribbean, South America, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. France exerts a strong cultural influence throughout the world and is a leading trading nation, excelling in such areas as aviation, public transportation, military hardware, food, wine and fashion, to name only the most highly visible. France is also a leader in the fields of science and medicine. A sound knowledge of the French language and of French culture is therefore of great advantage to students majoring in diverse areas (political science, international relations, literature, cinema, art history, psychology). French is, after English, the second truly global language.
Geology is a dynamic and rapidly evolving physical science. The theory of plate tectonics gives new meaning and new impetus to areas of investigation such as mineralogy, petrology, volcanology, stratigraphy, economic geology and paleontology. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, geology includes subjects as varied as environmental geology, evolutionary biology, solid-state chemistry, oceanography, mineral economics and geochronology. A student may major in geology in preparation for graduate work, for a professional career in a branch of geology, or to obtain background for further studies in medicine, environmental law, oceanography or city and regional planning. Intermediate and advanced classes are small, and students work in close contact with the faculty. Excellent library facilities, laboratories and rock and mineral collections offer students ample opportunities to pursue special interests. Field trips are required as integral parts of several courses.
Germanic Languages and Literatures
Over the centuries, German art, literature, music, philosophy, religion and research in the sciences have profoundly influenced the cultural traditions of other countries. The political events of Germany’s past frequently affected the entire world. The increasingly dominant
role in international affairs and the global economic environment played by a unified Germany will be of critical importance to all of us. The study of German culture and literature enables students to understand the spirit of Germany, to trace its roots in the past, to comprehend the cross-currents in its thinking, and to experience the contributions of German poets, novelists, film-makers and authors.
The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures offers language courses in German, Yiddish, Dutch and Swedish, and a wide array of exciting courses in German and in English that deal with German literature and culture in the European context, as well as Yiddish literature both in Yiddish and in English translation.
Health and Societies
The interdisciplinary Health and Societies Program offers a major designed to make undergraduates a part of the network of scholars and programs at Penn that share a focus on health, the social sciences and the humanities. Building upon a long tradition of research and teaching excellence in these areas, the major allows students to explore serious intellectual questions while acquiring the skills necessary to participate in 21st-century health care and public health decision-making.
The Health and Societies major is part of the University’s response to the global nature of modern health problems and to the steadily expanding reliance on a multidisciplinary approach to their solution. It is recommended to students preparing for careers in the health professions; for a health-care specialization in fields such as law, government, journalism and business; and for any student seeking a solid liberal arts perspective on disease, health and medicine in changing socio-historical contexts. By bringing together scholars from medicine, the humanities, and the social sciences, this major provides an exciting, intellectually coherent, and practical education. Course offerings are drawn from such departments and programs as Anthropology, Bioethics, Economics, Environmental Studies, History, STSC (Science, Technology and Society), Sociology, Urban Studies and Women’s Studies. Other Health and Societies courses are offered through the Wharton School and the Schools of Nursing and Medicine.
Hispanic Studies
The demographic, economic and political realities of the United States, the articulation of a mainstream English culture with an ever-increasing diversity of Hispanic and Latino cultures, and the ongoing forging of strong cultural and economic ties throughout the Americas have moved Spanish out of the bounds of the category of “foreign” language