Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as Penn) is a private research university and charter member of the Ivy League. The university’s beautiful, urban 299-acre West Philadelphia campus boasts a rich heritage and features over 200 buildings and a number of notable landmarks. Penn first opened its doors in 1751 with Franklin serving as its president until 1755. Franklin’s vision for the school was innovative for its time; rather than educating men for Christian ministry as was the common practice among colleges, Franklin wished to train up students for leadership in business, government and public service. His proposed program was much more like the modern liberal arts curriculum of today and was not readily accepted at the time. In this spirit of innovation, faculty, students, and alumni continue to make breakthroughs in research, scholarship and education, reflecting Penn’s civic-minded and pragmatic creator.
Academic ProgramsConsistently ranked among the top ten universities in the nation, the University of Pennsylvania offers a number of undergraduate and graduate degrees through its several colleges and schools. Approximately 90 undergraduate majors are offered across Penn’s four schools, The College at Penn (School of Arts and Sciences), School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Nursing, and The Wharton School. In addition, interdisciplinary undergraduate programs make resources out of Penn’s twelve schools through which award graduate and professional degrees are issued: Annenberg School for Communication; School of Arts and Sciences; School of Dental Medicine; Graduate School of Education; School of Engineering and Applied Science; School of Design; Law School; Perelman School of Medicine; School of Nursing; School of Social Policy & Practice; School of Veterinary Medicine; The Wharton School.
Penn launched its first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in 2012, allowing students to access and enroll in courses through the internet. The university campus is home to a number of research, resource, and cultural institutions, not the least of which is the Penn Libraries which hold more than 6 million print volumes and over 1.16 million e-books in addition to other resources.
Student LifeOver 20,000 students are enrolled at Penn, split nearly 50/50 between graduate and undergraduate students. A multitude of housing and dining options are available to students both on and off Penn’s large campus, which features expansive college greens, recreational spaces, and beautiful architecture. Among Penn’s cultural institutions, students have access to the Annenburg Center for the Performing Arts, Arther Ross Gallery, Morris Arboretum, Institute of Contemporary Art, Kelly Writers House, Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the Platt Student Performing Arts House.
A dynamic and diverse community of students, scholars, and staff, Penn boasts a wide range of social, political, religious, and cultural activities in which students may participate. Civic engagement is an essential part of campus life and Penn was named the “No. 1 Good Neighbor” among universities in 2009. A leader in academically based community service, community engagement is supported and led by the Netter Center for Community Partnership.
Penn offers over 30 varsity team sports as well as over 10 intramural leagues and more than 35 club sports. Recreational activities and facilities are open to all Penn residents with activities ranging from yoga and fitness classes, to sports clubs, outdoor adventures and more.