Folklore & Folklife
Fiji House
Center for Folklore and Ethnography
Graduate Program
Undergraduate Minor
Folklore Home
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For more information about Folklore and Folklife,at UPenn, contact Professor Dan Ben-Amos at

For assistance with the Folklore and Folklife website, contact Linda Lee at

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The Curriculum

The program is interdisciplinary in nature, building on four required core courses.

  • The Proseminar familiarizes students with the major genres and topics of the field and surveys the theoretical paradigms that have been applied to folklore materials.
  • The seminar History of Folklore Studies deepens this survey and gives students the opportunity to explore the history of the field in their particular area of interest.
  • The fieldwork seminar juxtaposes on-the-ground exercises in ethnographic work with the rising critical insight and ethical concerns about ethnographic practice.
  • A final, fourth core course grapples with the most current theoretical issues in the field.

Students may put together their further courses (to a total of twenty required for the Ph.D. degree, a total of eight for the M.A.) according to their areas of interest, drawing from the broad spectrum of courses offered through the core faculty and the graduate group in folklore and folklife.

By the end of their course work, students have achieved both a solid foundation in folklore studies and worked toward a specialization in topical, theoretical and geographic areas. The program encourages students to acquire practical experience in areas of potential future employment.

In addition to exploring potential sites for dissertation research, many students opt to spend their summers with internships in public programs far beyond Philadelphia. Others develop their teaching skills teaching summer courses.

Course work for the M.A. can be completed in one year; a qualifying exam and an M.A. paper as well as a language exam are additional requirements for the degree.

Coursework for the Ph.D. can be completed in three years, and students also need to fulfill two language exams. This is followed by the Ph.D. exams and the dissertation. Students generally plan on five to seven years to complete all degree requirements.

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