Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
Logo of Harrisburg University
Former name
Harrisburg Polytechnic Institute (2001–2003)
TypePrivate university
Endowment$1 million[2]
PresidentEric D. Darr[3]
ProvostBili S. Mattes[4]
Academic staff
200 full-time employees
Location, ,
United States

40°15′43″N 76°52′49″W / 40.2619°N 76.8802°W / 40.2619; -76.8802
NicknameThe Storm
Sporting affiliations
Harrisburg University Logo

Harrisburg University of Science & Technology, commonly referred to as Harrisburg University (HU), is a private STEM-focused university in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with an additional location in Philadelphia. Founded in 2001 as Harrisburg Polytechnic Institute, it offers STEM-focused degree and certificate programs.

Harrisburg University places special emphasis on education in fields related to engineering, applied science and technology and offers 15 bachelor's degrees, 13 master's degrees, and 3 doctoral degrees and certificate programs. The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.[5]


The university was started as Harrisburg Polytechnic Institute to address the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania region's need for educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math careers. Before creation of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Harrisburg was the largest state capital in the country without a four-year university. The institute received $12 million in state capital funding in 2003 for the construction and related services of the institute from then Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.[6] The YWCA building at 215 Market Street was the first home for the university. In the same year the university changed its name to Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.

Harrisburg University is home to many research centers including the Center for Advanced Entertainment and Learning Technologies, Security Center of Excellence, the Government Technology Institute, Center for Advanced Agriculture and Sustainability, and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.[7]

In 2023, the university downsized employees due to a budget shortfall.[8] In May of 2024, the university missed a bond payment, signifying a cash flow crunch.[9] A second round of layoffs took place in June 2024. [10]

2020 facial recognition software controversy

In May 2020, a team of two Harrisburg University professors and a Ph.D. student announced they had developed computer facial recognition software capable of predicting whether someone is likely to be a criminal based solely on a photo of their face, and "with no racial bias," [11] a claim found dubious by critics.[12] The announcement was criticized as being "21st-century phrenology"[13] and going "way further than the pseudoscience of physiognomy."[14] The university later deleted the press release at the request of the researchers involved,[15] noting that they are "updating the paper to address concerns raised."[16]


The Pennsylvania State Capitol as seen from Harrisburg University campus.

The university's 371,000-square-foot Academic Center is a 16-story building in downtown Harrisburg, 326 Market St. The building includes classrooms, science labs, meeting areas, seminar rooms, a 125-seat auditorium and a courtyard. The academic center has wireless internet, video conferencing and a multi-media production facility.[17] It also has seven levels of parking between the ground floor and the academic floors.[18]

In 2017, the university opened a satellite location in Philadelphia.[19] The Philadelphia location offers bachelor's degree programs in Computer and Information Science, Esports Management, Information Systems and Information Technologies, Management and Entrepreneurship, and Interactive Media and also master's courses in Techpreneurship.[20]

In 2022, the university opened a location in the City of Knowledge in Panama.[21] Additionally, the university is currently constructing a $100-million Science Education Center at 3rd and Chestnut in Harrisburg. The 11-story building is set to open in January 2023.[22]


Harrisburg University has 15 undergraduate,[23] 13 master's[24] and 3 doctoral programs[24] in science and technology-related disciplines. The university follows a trimester system. Programs are offered at the academic center located on the main campus in downtown Harrisburg. Some programs are also offered at the Harrisburg University location in Philadelphia, while others are offered only online. The Philadelphia location offers bachelor's courses in Computer and Information Science, Esports Management, Information Systems and Information Technologies, Management and Entrepreneurship, and Interactive Media and also master's courses in Techpreneurship. The university offers online degree programs, including an RN-to-BSN.[20]


Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 2009.[5] All Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral (Research) degrees are accredited.[5] In 2014, the commission placed the university on probation for failing to comply with its standards.[25] In March, 2016, the commission determined that the school was in compliance and reaffirmed accreditation until 2021.[26] In 2022, the university accreditation was re-affirmed through 2029.[27]

The university is also approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education Bureau of Postsecondary and Adult Education.[28] The MS in Project Management is accredited by the Global Accreditation Center from the Project Management Institute. The B.S. in Computer and Information Science program is accredited by ABET. The RN-BSN and MS in Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).[29]


In its 2020 rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked the university in the range #129-#170 in Regional Universities North and tied for #21 in the Most Innovative Schools list.[30]

Professional education

The university offers many professional education programs and centers in partnership with businesses and local government.[31][32]

Student life

The university's housing is located close to campus in downtown Harrisburg. Housing is offered to undergraduate students and consists of the Residences on Market and Market View Place.[33] The university is located near the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, and the State Museum of Pennsylvania. The university is also a half block from the state capitol of Pennsylvania, and a brief walk to the Riverfront Park along the Susquehanna River. Fitness and dining facilities are leveraged by Strawberry Square. In 2017, the university opened a satellite location in Philadelphia.[34] The university fields an esports varsity team that has won two national championships.[35][36]

Notable alumni


  1. ^ a b "Harrisburg University: HU at a Glance". Retrieved 2015-11-30.
  2. ^ "U.S. News & World Report: Profile of Harrisburg University Science and Technology". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Harrisburg University: Eric D. Darr, Ph.D." Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
  4. ^ "Harrisburg University: Bili S. Mattes, D.Ed". Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
  5. ^ a b c "Middle States Commission on Higher Education: Harrisburg University of Science and Technology". Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  6. ^ "Ten Years of Brilliance". Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  7. ^ "Centers & Institutes". Harrisburg University. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  8. ^ durie@pennlive.com, Daniel Urie | (2023-06-28). "A restructuring at Harrisburg University eliminates 9 positions". pennlive. Retrieved 2024-05-09.
  9. ^ cthompson@pennlive.com, Charles Thompson | (2024-05-08). "Harrisburg University misses payment into bond fund". pennlive. Retrieved 2024-05-09.
  10. ^ cthompson@pennlive.com, Charles Thompson | (2024-06-27). "Staff cuts, other changes made at Harrisburg University". pennlive. Retrieved 2024-07-08.
  11. ^ "Harrisburg University develops facial recognition software to ID criminals, no racial bias". CBS 21 News. May 4, 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  12. ^ Rose, Janus (May 6, 2020). "University Deletes Press Release Promising 'Bias-Free' Criminal Detecting Algorithm". Vice. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  13. ^ Kasana, Mehreen (May 6, 2020). "Researchers still foolishly think AI can predict criminality by looking at photos". Input Magazine. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Facial profiling and recognition to spot potential criminals – is physiognomy back?". i-SCOOP. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  15. ^ Holmes, Aaron (May 7, 2020). "Researchers said their 'unbiased' facial recognition could identify potential future criminals — then deleted the announcement after backlash". Business Insider. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Research brief on facial recognition software". Harrisburg University. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  17. ^ "Academic Center". Harrisburg University. 2015-06-09. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  18. ^ "Construction of Harrisburg University Academic Center Incorporates Precast Concrete to Bring Iconic Presence to City Skyline". PRWeb. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  19. ^ "Harrisburg University launches Philadelphia location". Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  20. ^ a b "Harrisburg University launches Philadelphia location". Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  21. ^ "HULATAM". Harrisburg University. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  22. ^ "Harrisburg University's reaccreditation is latest 2022 highlight". pennlive. 2022-03-21. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  23. ^ "Undergraduate Students | Harrisburg University". Harrisburg University. 2015-06-15. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  24. ^ a b "Graduate Programs | Harrisburg University". Harrisburg University. 2017-06-29. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  25. ^ Nick Malawskey (10 July 2014). "Harrisburg University placed on probation by accrediting agency". PennLive. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  26. ^ Jan Murphy (8 March 2016). "Harrisburg University back in good standing with accrediting agency". PennLive. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  27. ^ "Middle States Commission reaffirms Harrisburg University's accreditation". Harrisburg University. 2022-03-17. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  28. ^ "EDUCATIONAL NAMES & ADDRESSES: Harrisburg University of Science and Technology". Pennsylvania Department of Education. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  29. ^ "Nursing RN to BSN (Online)". Harrisburg University. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  30. ^ "Harrisburg University of Science and Technology". U.S. News. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  31. ^ "Professional Development & Continuing Education". Harrisburg University. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  32. ^ "Professional Development & Continuing Education Programs – Harrisburg University". professionaled.harrisburgu.edu. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  33. ^ "Housing".
  34. ^ "Philadelphia Location".
  35. ^ "Harrisburg University Esports team wins inaugural ESPN-hosted championship". pennlive. 2019-05-13. Retrieved 2021-06-16.
  36. ^ "Harrisburg University captures esports national title in 'Overwatch'". pennlive. 2020-07-18. Retrieved 2021-06-16.
  37. ^ "HU Alum elected Pennsylvania Auditor General". 6 November 2020.

40°15′43″N 76°52′49″W / 40.2619°N 76.8802°W / 40.2619; -76.8802