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A Roadmap to Penn

The Practical Scholar


The Practical Scholar

A Roadmap to Penn
2015 The Student Committee on Undergraduate Education. All rights reserved.
Under the copyright laws, A Roadmap to Penn (this publication), may not be copied, in whole
or in part, without the written consent of The Student Committee on Undergraduate Education.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this publication is accurate. The
Student Committee on Undergraduate Education is not responsible for printing or clerical
An electronic version of this publication has been made available via the World Wide Web.
Please visit to view this and other SCUE publications.
The views and ideas expressed in this publication are those of The Student Committee on
Undergraduate Education. The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania have neither
recommended nor endorsed this publication. This publication does not constitute official
academic, administrative and/or judicial policy of the University. The appropriate publications,
offices, and agents of the University should be referenced and consulted in conjunction with
official academic, administrative, and/or judicial matters of the University.
Congratulations on wading through all the language that makes the lawyers happy. Youve just
found the secret message: Join the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education!
The Student Committee on Undergraduate Education
Office of Student Life
200 Houston Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3708
The Student Committee on Undergraduate Education seeks bright, articulate, motivated
undergraduates who wish to have a greater say in the educational decisions which define their
experience at Penn. Applications for membership are accepted from freshmen and sophomores in
both the fall and the spring semesters.
The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from
diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race,
sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability,
or status as a Vietnam Era Veteran or disabled veteran in the administration of educational
policies, programs or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan awards; athletic, or other
University administered programs or employment. Questions or complaints regarding this policy
should be directed to: Executive Director, Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity
Programs, Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Suite 228, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106 or
by phone at (215) 898-6993.

The Steering Committee:

Chair: Laura Sorice
Vice Chair: Audrey Harnagel
Treasurer: Jane Xiao
Secretary: Grace Vincent
At-Large: Shawn Srolovitz
At-Large: Mira Nagarajan

SCUE General Body:

Lucas Siegmund

Andrew Van Duyn

Carter Coudriet

Emma Silverman

Bill Doane

Erin Hartman

Alex Oriente

Arjun Gupta

Yana Kaplun

Sophia Siciliano

Mary Peyton Sanford

Bohan Li

Shams Haidari

Jenny Sui

Haley Morin

Matt Rudin

Thomas Buckingham

Sarah Tang


Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Seminars .............................................................................................. 5
Penn Course Review ............................................................................ 6
Requirements ....................................................................................... 7
Book Purchasing ................................................................................ 10
Succeeding in Courses........................................................................ 10
Sample Schedules For the Four Undergraduate Schools..................... 11

Residential Advisors ........................................................................... 15
Peer Advisors...................................................................................... 15
Faculty Advisors ................................................................................. 15
Major Advising Program .................................................................... 18
Other Advisors ................................................................................... 18

Scheduling ......................................................................................... 21
Grading Options ................................................................................ 24


Declaring Your Major or Concentration ............................................ 27
Community Involvement ................................................................... 30


Academic Enrichment ........................................................................ 33
Honor Code and Academic Integrity ................................................. 35
Research ............................................................................................. 36

Table of Contents


Study Spots ........................................................................................ 40
Culture on Campus ........................................................................... 42
Philadelphia ....................................................................................... 43


The Quaker Consortium.................................................................... 45
Study Abroad ..................................................................................... 45


During the Summer ........................................................................... 48
Things to Remember ......................................................................... 49
Honors Programs and Honors Theses................................................ 50
Graduation......................................................................................... 52

ADVISING RESOURCES CHART ........................................................ 53

Housing ............................................................................................. 56
Meal Plan ........................................................................................... 56
Credits ............................................................................................... 57


A Roadmap to Penn


Academically Based Community Service


Netter Center for Community Partnership


College Houses and Academic Services


Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing


Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships


Communication Within the Curriculum


Deans Advisory Board (College)


Engineering Undergraduate Advisory Board


Information Technology Assistant


School of Liberal and Professional Studies


Major Advising Program


Nominations and Elections Committee


Office of International Programs


Office of Student Life


Penn Course Review


Penn Reading Project


Student Activities Council


Student Committee on Undergraduate Education


Student Nurses At Penn


Social Planning and Events Committee


Undergraduate Assembly


Undergraduate Advisory Boards


Vice-Provost of University Life


Whartons Dean Advisory Board


Dear Class of 2019,
With all the official mailings, swirling rumors, and Locust Walk flyers for
you to sift through, the last thing you might want is another publication
purporting to advise you on all things Penn. But before you throw this
atop your heaping pile of resources (or the recycling bin), take a moment
to skim through it.
SCUEs The Practical Scholar: A Roadmap to Penn stands out in several
ways and is a valuable handbook for those inevitable questions that arise
during your freshman year and beyond. Now in its nineteenth year of
publication, the Roadmap remains the only resource for academic advice
made for Penn students, by Penn students. It is a useful handbook that
can help you find the answers to some of the most frequently asked
questions about Penn. Youll also find that it can also open exciting new
avenues, like undergraduate research or academically-based community
Use the Roadmap as its title implies: youll need it if youre lost, but you
might also discover the road less traveled.
Beyond familiarizing yourself with the contents of this handbook, the
best advice is, of course, to go out and talk to people. Peer advisors,
faculty members, your RA or GA, and upperclassmen are all excellent
resources for you. Theres no right way to navigate Penn, and everyone
will have a different story to tell. Find out what people like, what they
dislike, and how they have become involved in the Penn community.
SCUE is the academic policy branch of student government, and we
work to make Penn the best it can be for undergraduates. We know that
Penn is rich in resources and centers, but they often remain invisible
and under-utilized. To that end, we hope the Roadmap will help you
to find your own path. And if you feel that your path may include
becoming involved in academic policy, we encourage you to visit our
website to learn more about us and find our application
for membership.
Good luck on your journey through Penn!
Laura Sorice
SCUE Chair

A Roadmap to Penn



A Roadmap to Penn

Chapter 1: Course Options

Its my first semester at Penn, what courses should I take?
As you sort through the stacks of paperwork that Penn can inundate
you with, just take a step back and relax. At first the system may seem
overwhelming, but in due time you will be able to navigate it like a
pro. In this section, well outline some general strategies for shaping
your education.
First, some advice: Penn offers thousands of courses, almost all of
which are accessible to undergraduates. This fact has its ups and
downs. Although it means that you can take courses ranging from
Greek Vase Painting to The Medical Anthropology of Alcohol Use,
it also means that there will be more interesting courses each semester
than you could possibly take. So, when picking your courses, keep
these two concepts in mind: breadth and depth.
One of Penns greatest assets is its twelve schools. As an undergrad,
you can take courses in any of the schools, which gives you a
tremendous opportunity to explore new areas of inquiry and to meet
new people who share your interests. We encourage you to expose
yourself to many areas of knowledge and ways of thinking about the
world. The various school requirements and the general structure of
Penns curriculum are thus designed to meet this goal of breadth. At
the same time, Penn students have the opportunity to achieve great
depth in a specific area of interest through the major/minor programs.

We strongly recommend that you take one seminar every semester.
The smaller environment of seminars provides you with a chance to
interact with a professor and participate actively in discussions while also
enjoying an enriching bonding experience with other students. Penn has
a variety of seminars available including Benjamin Franklin, Freshman,
Writing, Academically-Based Community Service (ABCS) and Graduate
seminars. As a freshman, you should definitely consult the Freshman
Seminar Handbook because, after all, it was designed for you! You can
find a complete listing of the Freshman seminars available each semester

So I have some ideas about courses, but the descriptions in the

timetable only narrowed down my 50 choices to 35. What do I
do next?

Chapter 1: Course Options

Penn Course Review

One of the hardest things about your courses (besides passing them)
is choosing them. The Penn Course Review (PCR) is available online
( and provides detailed ratings of
courses and professors based on past students evaluations. Dont
forget that the ratings are very subjective and reflect only the opinions
of those students who submitted their online course evaluations.

Here are some quick tips when using PCR:

Ratings range from 0-4, so most courses are rated as in the 2-3
range. As such, take the numbers with a grain of salt a course rated
as a 2.7 isnt definitively better than one rated as 2.5. PCR is a great
tool for identifying courses that students really loved and ones that
they really didnt care for.
Look at the professors ratings first and the course review rating
-second. Professors make or break a course; rarely are low ratings a
result of the course material.
Read the reviews posted by students the numbers dont necessarily
say everything. The PCR editorial staff compiles qualitative reviews
after reading student comments. Click on the icon to the right of a
professors name to view all reviews posted for that professor or on
a smaller icon in the table to read the comment posted for a specific
semester/course. The review reflects the general student consensus on
the course and/or professor.
Another great strategy for learning about specific courses is to check
the web. Many professors have personal websites where they post
course descriptions and/or syllabi. In the spirit of friendly stalking,
feel free to Google professors to check out their accomplishments and
to learn more about what they teach. If a course turns out not to be
what you thought it would, dont worry because youll be shopping
around. Some departments also devote pages to particular courses so
be sure to check out department-specific websites.
Once youve done all of this, theres only one thing left to do: talk
to everyone you can. People love to talk about themselves and
their experiences, so ask lots of questions. Talk to upperclassmen,
professors, or your RA/GA about their recommendations. Dont
hesitate to e-mail professors to get more information about their
courses or to ask for general advice.

A Roadmap to Penn
As helpful as these resources are, they are not a substitute for your
own best judgment. Dont be afraid to shop around for courses!
Though Penn does not have an official shopping period, you should
feel free to attend as many classes as you can handle for the first two
weeks of the semester. That way, youll be able to make as informed a
decision as possible when you narrow down your options to the four
or five youll actually take. Nothing not the syllabus, the course
description, or other peoples opinions beats attending a class to
see for yourself what its all about.

Each year, the four undergraduate schools tweak and modify their
programs to increase the quality of education at Penn. While this
is wonderful for all of you, it will make it slightly more challenging
for upperclassmen to advise you on the best ways to navigate the
requirements for your particular class. Dont wait until youre practically
done with Penn to realize that you were wrong about a good number
of graduation requirements. Consult advisors, fill out the appropriate
worksheet on Penn InTouch, and peruse the online resources available
from your school and referred to in the sections below.

The Writing Requirement

Many students try to fulfill the writing requirement in their freshman
year. You should too. The writing requirement is meant to ensure that
Penn students are able to write at a collegiate level. Thus, it is best to
satisfy this requirement early on so that you are able to put the skills to
work in upper-level courses. Writing courses are not limited to English
department courses. Writing About courses, typically listed as 009
courses with the registrar, are courses focused on specific content about
which you both learn and write for a semester and are offered in most
departments across the university. For more information and a list of
courses which satisfy the writing requirement, go to

The Foreign Language Requirement

You should start fulfilling the language requirement during your
freshman year (see your schools curriculum handbook to determine
your schools specific requirement; Engineering does not have a foreign
language requirement). Many Achievement Exams can be used to
satisfy the foreign language requirement. See
edu/language-requirement for more information. If you intend to take
foreign language courses, you must take a placement exam, unless:

Chapter 1: Course Options

You wish to take an entirely new foreign language. Penn offers
more languages than your high school ever could have and most
of them can be used to fulfill the language requirement. If youre
feeling adventurous, consider taking Gujarati or Zulu. If there is a
language you would like to take but Penn is not currently offering it,
talk to the people at the Penn Language Center or the appropriate
department and ask if it would be possible to study, say, Quechua
(people have in the past, so just ask it cant hurt!). For more
information, go to
You submitted an Achievement Exam score (i.e. AP or SAT II) for
a foreign language as part of your application to the University AND
you wish to use that score for your placement into the same foreign
language. Consult your advisor for more information.

Math Placement
Although you might have thought that you escaped math upon
your admission to Penn, you should be aware that all undergraduate
schools do have math requirements. Not to worry, the Penn Math
Department has something for everyone, whether you discovered
a new mathematical theorem in high school or swore to never use
your TI-89 again. First, check out the requirements for your school.
Also consider taking the internal placement exam given by the Math
Department during the beginning of the academic year. See the
Advice for Freshmen link on the Math Departments homepage
at for specifics regarding the
placement exam as well as course descriptions.

AP Credits, A Levels, IB Credits, and Other Transfer Credits

Credit for various Advanced Placement exams and pre-college work
at other universities is available through the Office of Transfer Credit
and Advanced Placement. You should be notified of the credit that
you receive during the end of August, prior to the start of your
freshman year. If you do not receive notification or have additional
questions, contact the Office of Transfer Credit and Advanced
Placement directly. Many graduate schools encourage students not
to use their AP credits to waive out of introductory courses (contact
your advising office for more information). The four schools deal
differently with Advance credit; for more information consult the
following resources:
College & Nursing

A Roadmap to Penn
Some Additional Advice on Course Selection

Some Additional Advice on Course Selection

For those of you who still need a little bit of help in choosing your
courses, here is some additional advice:
Shop around for professors and sit in on many courses during the
first week of the semester. Advisors and upperclassmen may be able to
offer words of wisdom on the courses you should visit.
The School of Liberal and Professional Studies offers courses during
evening hours for those of you with day-jobs or for those who have
otherwise busy schedules. As with all other courses, you can sign up
for LPS courses through Penn InTouch. However, if you intend to
use one to fill a requirement, check with that department to make
sure that it will count.
If you are looking for an extra challenge, a number of graduate
courses (identifiable by their 500+ course number), departmental
honors courses, or Benjamin Franklin Scholar courses, can be taken
with permission from the instructor and/or department. Inquire
about these courses during advanced registration or during the course
selection period. Dont be afraid to ask professors for permission to
enroll in their courses. Youre only here for 4 years ... so just do it!
Once you receive a permit, you can enroll through Penn InTouch.
A final word of advice: Take courses for fun! As a college student,
this may be the only time in your life to take a course on The Uses
and Abuses of History. By taking a broad range of courses, you
might find that you prefer Shakespearean Theater over Chemical
Engineering (much to your parents horror). Who knows? You might
even major in it.
SCUEs advice for college students: Its wise to select from a variety
of departments perhaps the ones you might consider majoring or
concentrating in. Be realistic and take what youre interested in. Try
to plan ahead but dont obsess about which courses will look best
on your med-school application. If selecting courses is getting you
stressed out, just ask for help!

Chapter 1: Course Options

Take a look at classes that seem fun. Study what you have a passion
for, not what you want to get a job in. Every day, theater arts majors
are accepted to medical school, classical studies majors are accepted to
law school, and creative writing majors get jobs in consulting. That is
the beauty of liberal arts education: you receive the skill set needed to
succeed in any discipline regardless of your choice of major.
And make sure to check out the Colleges website for Freshman
Seminars ( These
classes are often about fascinating, quirky topics, and are taught by
professors who are interested in teaching freshman. They also provide
a great way to fulfill sector requirements rather than taking large,
introductory lectures. But you only have access to them as freshmen,
so make sure to take them before its too late!

Book Purchasing

Im registered for courses, but where do I get my books?

There is no need to show up the first day of class with your books.
In fact, in many cases its best to wait a few classes before committing
to the financial investment. The return policies on textbooks are
draconian. Furthermore, professors usually place textbooks on
reserve in a library. If you act early, you may be able to get a copy
of the textbook from a Penn library or from a library that Penn has
connections with. Check out the Borrow Direct website and you may
save a lot of money (
html). However, its never a bad idea to own a copy of the books for
your courses.
Professors will always make required texts available at a local bookstore.
Bookstores commonly used include the Penn Bookstore and Penn
Book Center. These, however, are not your only options. Several
websites offer discounted new and used books, including online social
network marketplaces and your fellow Penn students entrepreneurial
initiatives! These are cheap options if you can survive without having
your books right away. Some courses dont have books, but rather use
bulkpacks or post readings online. Common locations for bulkpacks
are Campus Copy and Wharton Reprographics.

Succeeding in Courses

Now that Im taking these courses, do you have tips for doing well?
Why yes we do. The most important, simplest, and best tip is GO
TO CLASS. While many professors post lecture slides online, thats
not a substitute for going to lecture.



A Roadmap to Penn
Look at the syllabus! The syllabus outlines the entire semester for
you beware that many courses schedule midterms in the same one
or two week span, so make sure to be aware of any conflicts ahead of
time. Many students put exams and conflicts in their schedule right
after getting their syllabi to know whats ahead. Two midterms on the
same day may seem like a lot (and it is!) but if you plan ahead it is
Professors love it when students go to office hours, and you will love
it too! You dont need to be having trouble in a course in order to
stop by. In fact, we suggest that even if you dont have any specific
questions that you go to office hours anyway. You can discuss the
material in general or even learn about research opportunities. You
can even just ask for advice on life in general. If you have class during
office hours, just email the professor and ask to set up a meeting.
Also, you can take a professor to lunch for free. Its on us! With the
support of the Provosts Office, SCUE sponsors the Take Your
Professor to Lunch program at the University Club in the Inn at
Penn. Registration can be found at
Make friends in your courses. If you happen to miss a day, you will
be able to get notes. Also, some students like to study and work
in groups. Just make sure that all expectations from the professor
are clear with regard to plagiarism and working on homework and
projects in groups.
The most important advice we can give you is take full advantage
of all the academic and extracurricular activities Penn offers. These
four years provide amazing opportunities for you to study esoteric
topics, master a new language, do research with leading professors,
stay up late with friends discussing the meaning of life, explore one of
Americas great cities, and become a more mature thinker and citizen.
Live it up!

Sample Schedules For the Four Schools

The College:
The typical freshman College student will take 4 classes during his or her
first semester. SCUE suggests satisfying your writing requirement during
either the first or second semester of your freshman year (see our section
on this for more info). Additionally, first semester is also a great time to
begin satisfying your language requirement. With your two remaining
credits, we suggest taking a class in a subject that interests you (possibly

Chapter 1: Course Options

your intended major), and also a class for enrichment (for example, a
freshman seminar that satisfies a sector requirement.

Engineering freshmen schedules differ throughout the various
departments within SEAS. To find out more specifics about what
each major suggests for freshmen schedules, go to http://www.seas. This website also
provides you with the contact information for your Department
Coordinator, your primary contact person for all major-related
questions. (This information is also provided in the section about
Engineering advising.) Once you register for the suggested classes on
the above website, SCUE suggests satisfying your writing requirement
during your freshman year, and also taking a freshman seminar (see
our sections on both of these subjects for more info).

Wharton Freshmen take either 4 or 5 classes in their first semester.
Typically, all students take MGMT 100, ECON 010, and a Writing
Seminar. Depending on what you already have credit for, the
remaining credits may consist of MATH 104/110 or STAT 101, a
Foreign Language class, or a General Education Requirement. To
see a sample four year outline of the courses you will be taking, or
for more information about the Wharton curriculum, check out the
Wharton handbook at

First semester Nursing students usually all take the same courses.
In the fall of 2011, Nursing implemented a new curriculum for
incoming students. The new fall semester consists of 3 half credit
classes: Cell Biology, Microbiology, and the Nature of Nursing
Practice. Along with these fall Nursing requirements, a typical
freshmen may take the required writing seminar and/or a language
Nursing courses required for second semester freshmen year include:
Integrated Anatomy, Physiology, and Physical Assessment I,
Fundamentals of Nutrition, and Situating the Practice of Nursing.
This spring schedule also allows room to continue taking language
classes and sector courses. Nursing students are encouraged to
supplement their Nursing courses with electives in any of the other
three undergraduate schools.



A Roadmap to Penn




A Roadmap to Penn

Chapter 2: Advising
Wowsers, this book is great! But is there a human I can talk to?
When you have questions about your academic options, course
planning, or where to get the best Philly cheese steak, the University
has a wide range of advisors who are available to guide you.

Residential Advisors
Although RAs and GAs are best known for organizing floor events
and planning programs that will allow you to meet other students
and interact with the city, they are also a wonderful resource for those
nagging questions that you have in the middle of the night. An often
underutilized resource, your RA or GA can offer advice on topics
ranging from course selection to what to do on a Saturday night.
Theyre here for you!

Peer Advisors
If you are a first-year student, you should have a Peer Advisor who
contacted you during the summer. The system, however, is not
foolproof. If you have not been contacted, or you do not know who
your peer advisor is, your school office will be happy to straighten
things out for you.
Peer advisors are Sophomores, Juniors, or Seniors who have chosen to
volunteer their time to help you transition. Theyre enthusiastic about
Penn and trained to help you understand the registration process, set
up meetings with your pre-major advisor, and assist you with anything
else that might come up. Plus, peer advisors are often matched with
freshmen advisees based on the information indicated on applications.
That means he or she probably shares some of your interests, knows
professors in fields youre pursuing, is in a similar program, or may
have even taken courses youre considering. Ask them about their
experiences because theyre here to help. And you can call or email
your peer advisor throughout the summer and school year if you have
any questions or want advice.
Also, if you feel like youve mastered the system after a year or two,
think about giving peer advising a try for yourself. Its a great way to
help other people learn from your mistakes. If youre interested in
becoming a peer advisor, look out for applications in the spring.

Faculty Advisors
While advising differs from school to school, the overarching goal of

Chapter 2: Advising
all of the school advising offices is for every undergraduate student
to have an available human resource who can provide practical
information. Some students meet with their advisors only when
necessary; others develop friendships that last throughout their
undergraduate career and beyond. Your relationship with your advisor
can be whatever you want it to be, but its your right as a Penn student
to have a competent, involved advisor. If you feel like youre not
getting the attention or the help you need from your appointed advisor
(he/she should at least be able to point you in the right direction, if
not answer your questions personally), do not hesitate to go to your
school or your department and request a change. You should contact
your school directly for questions regarding school-specific advising
policies but weve condensed the essential information for you here:


Excited about your nursing program but unsure of how to best

tailor it to your needs?
You will be assigned a faculty advisor in the fall, who will work with
you for the next 4 years. Your advisor can answer questions on topics
ranging from course selection to extra-curricular opportunities. If
you would like to talk to someone else, stop by the Office of Student
Services (Fagin Hall Suite M-18). There you can speak with an
academic advisor regarding your plan of study, minors, dual degrees,
study abroad, and any curricular pursuits. You will also be assigned
a Peer Advisor, an upperclassman who can give you the inside scoop
on life as a nursing student. Still unsure and want to explore more
options? Attend a meeting of Student Nurses at Penn (SNAP), which
holds general body meetings once a month. As a nursing student you
are automatically enrolled in SNAP, and it is a great way to meet other
nursing faculty and students and learn from their experiences.


Are you an engineer with questions? Or maybe just wondering

who to talk to for advice?
Engineering students, you were probably contacted by your
Orientation Peer Advisor (OPA!) the summer before you started
Penn! You and your OPA should have talked about courses, the
major, and any other questions you had about Penn Engineering in
general. When you arrive at Penn, youll meet your academic advisor,
a professor in your major. Youre required to meet your advisor twice
per year to schedule for your courses. You can make an appointment
and meet with your advisor to talk about opportunities in your major,



A Roadmap to Penn
research, and anything else, really. Another fantastic resource is your
departments Undergraduate Coordinator, aka resident expert on all
things about your major. E-mail him or her with any questions you
might have! (Contact information can be found on the departments
website. They are also all listed here:
undergraduate/degrees/index.php). There are walk-in engineering
advising hours from 2-4 pm every Monday Thursday in 111 Towne
Building. You can always make an appointment if those hours dont
work for you by calling 215-898-7246. These staff advisors are there
to guide you in selecting your courses to fulfill your Social Science and
Humanities requirements or in choosing Free Elective courses. They
can also help you explore other academic options such as study abroad,
dual degrees, minors, and submatriculation opportunities in graduate
programs across the University.
Also, what you need to know about being a Penn engineer and a list
of frequently asked questions can be found in the Undergraduate
Student Handbook online at


Do you have a question about your business education?

Come to G95 in Huntsman! If you came into Penn as a Wharton
student, you should have been assigned a summer advisor. Now,
you can feel free to stay with this advisor, find a new advisor in the
Wharton Undergraduate Division office (G95), or you can just pop
in with questions and talk to anyone whos available during walk-in
hours. As a freshman, you are strongly encouraged to attend Group
Advising Sessions that cover a wide range of topics from Study
Abroad, to Minors in the College, to research, and even issues like
submatriculation. If you are curious about any of these topics, stay
tuned for when these informative meetings take place and you will
probably learn as much from your peers questions as from the advisor
who is giving the talk. Also, if you are a student in another school and
you are thinking about getting a business degree, attend a Dual-Degree
Group Advising Meeting. So what happens when Ive finished a bunch
of requirements and am ready to start exploring a concentration?
Go talk to the point person for each concentration, listed on each
departments website or on the Concentration sheets given out in G95.


Trying to navigate your way through the College?

Chapter 2: Advising
You are assigned a pre-major advisor to show you the ropes. These
faculty and staff members are here to help you make sense of
everything you need to think about while planning your academic
program, as well as introduce you to Penns rich offerings as you shape
your intellectual goals. Your pre-major advisor will help you navigate
the course selection process and assist you in identifying resources and
support. Youll meet your advisor during New Student Orientation
and are required to meet with him or her during each registration
period. For specific question about a major or program, contact the
appropriate departments undergraduate chair. You can find links
on the Majors & Minors section of the Colleges website. Some
departments also have active Undergraduate Advisory Boards, who
you can contact to learn more about specific programs and ways to get
involved in the discipline.
If you have a question about course registration, degree requirements,
academic support services or University procedures, the Colleges
website ( contains nearly all the information you
might need, as does the various literature youve received or can pick
up at the College Office in 120 Cohen Hall.
For quick questions about academic rules, regulations and procedures,
email the Help Desk at

Major Advising Program

The Major Advising Program (MAP) allows you to get a spoonful of a
variety of majors by attending upper-level courses with MAP advisors,
who are student volunteers from those majors. Dont stick to something
familiar just because you feel overwhelmed by the possibilities. Get your
questions answered by someone who has the experience to give you the
information that you really need. Take advantage of this resource to find
out what satisfies your intellectual palate! Check out the MAP website
at . Some major Undergraduate
Advisory Boards also have major mentoring programs. Consult
department websites for more information.

Other Advisors
If you are an athlete or participate in PENNCAP, ROTC, the
Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program (BFS), Joseph Wharton Scholars
Program (JWS), and/or the University Scholars Program (US),
you have another advisor assigned to you as well. Many times these
advisors know a great deal more about your particular needs than any
of the other aforementioned advisors. They can serve as your primary



A Roadmap to Penn
advisor or as a supplemental one. Word to the wise: SEE THEM!
It can do you a lot of good. Finally, many of the cultural centers
throughout campus are a great resource for support and advising. For
more information, consult the websites for the individual centers.
Keep in mind that advising at Penn is a multi-faceted program and
that no one person will have all the answers to all your questions.
Much as you might want someone to tell you what to do with your
life, there are some things you just have to figure out on your own.
For less esoteric or philosophical questions, make sure youre asking
the right people your questions. Want to know about the requirements
for a major? Go to the departments office or check out its website.
Curious about how to improve your Econ grade? Visit the Penn
Tutoring Center or the Weingarten Learning Resources Center. If its
information on fellowships and research opportunities you seek, make
an appointment with the Center for Undergraduate Research and
Fellowships (CURF). Looking for a summer internship or a life plan?
Career Services will be happy to help. And, of course, sometimes the
best advisors are the ones you find on your own: a professor whose
class you liked, an upperclassman who always knows whats up, or a
mentor you meet along the way.
Upperclassmen are great resources for advice on courses, teachers
and ways to get involved outside the classroom. That kid sitting next
to you in class, at a club meeting or on the sports field has a unique
perspective to share. Dont be afraid to ask a question or strike up a
conversation; theyve been through it all, so learn from their mistakes.
Appreciate and take advantage of the resources offered at a place like
Penn. If youre enjoying a class, stop by the professors office hours
to chat. Take Your Professor to Lunch (https://secure.www.upenn.
edu/nso/take-your-professor-to-lunch.html) is a program that lets you
take a professor out to lunch for free. Many departments and student
groups also sponsor special events and discussions that let you interact
more closely with faculty. Those relationships can blossom into
advising and research opportunities as well as friendships
Need an abridged version of the resources that are out there? See the
back appendix for a comprehensive chart




A Roadmap to Penn

Chapter 3: Registration
Keep course times in mind when planning your schedule and take
courses that match your personal routine. If you are a morning
person, embrace 8 or 9 AM recitations. Many students prefer not
to have class on Fridays but be realistic. Dont write off a course
simply because of when it meets.
Classes do not last the entire time allotted. The university allows ten
minutes for students to walk to their next class. Thus, a one hour
class that starts at 1:00 PM actually ends at 1:50 PM. A one and a
half hour class that begins at 10:30 AM would end at 11:50, and so
on and so forth! Therefore, it is possible to take classes back to back
to back (if you so desire). Though some people like to have a block
of classes as opposed to spacing them throughout the day, watch
out that you dont get stuck running from one side of campus (aka
DRLB) to the other (aka Huntsman).

Penn InTouch
During advance registration you will have two weeks to enter your
requests for courses through the Penn InTouch system. This can be
accessed through Penn Portal or directly at https://medley.isc-seo. Rest assured however,
that the system allows you to enter your courses at any point during
advance registration. Therefore, signing into Penn InTouch at 7:01
AM on the first day of Advance Registration will not increase your
chances of getting into that Freshman Seminar on Music Theory
that you really want to take. It is usually best to sign up after some
planning but before the last minute, just in case you still want to
make some changes later. Also keep in mind that Penn InTouch has a
limit to the number of students who can be logged in at once. If you
wait until the last minute, you might not be able to log in.

Course Search Tool

In the Dark Ages (pre-2008), students had to keep roughly seven
web browsers and an Excel Spreadsheet open in order to choose their
classes for the following semester. Thankfully, the new Course Search
Tool consolidates the Universitys many course selection resources into
one, user-friendly web application. After you log into Penn InTouch,
it will be in the list of tools on the left side of the sign-in page.

Chapter 3: Registration
You can search by simple search parameters such as the course code
(the four letter, three digit identifier of any course at Penn, e.g.
BIOL101) or instructor. Or, if youve narrowed your interests down
a bit, you can search by what requirement a class fulfills, the type of
activity (lab, recitation, seminar, etc.), or what audience the class is
geared towards (check out Freshman-Friendly courses).
Hit the Find Courses button and a list of classes that fit your
search terms will appear. You can click on any of them to find out
more information about them, including the official description, and
each courses respective syllabus. Once you click Add To Cart for
a number of classes, you can click on Mock Schedules in the blue
column on the left to open a spreadsheet showing all the classes you
were interested in taking in nice pastel time blocks, allowing you to
iron out the conflicts in your schedule. You can test potential class
combinations by adding or removing them from the list on the right.
Some additional important resources that are not included in the
summaries for each class can be found in the blue column under
Other Links, including Penn Course Review (see chapter 1).
If you are a Google Chrome user, you can download a Chrome
extension that puts the Penn Course Review answers with the
courses (

Ok, I know what courses I want to take and, by the graces of

the Registrar, they dont conflict either. But how do I register?
Although registration and add/drop can seem very confusing at first,
youll become a pro in no time. Follow these tips to complete advance
registration quickly and painlessly.
It is important to prioritize your course selections. You should sign up
for seminars, recitations, popular professors, and smaller courses first
(i.e. as your first and second course choices) because they fill up very
quickly. Large lectures should be saved as your final selection because
they are open to many students.
Dont forget to register for recitations or labs when you are required
to. You wont get into a course if you are not registered for all of the
If advance registration does not work out so well for you, dont freak
out. You will have plenty of time to add and drop different courses
to your schedule. When possible, add a course before you drop one.
Its better to have too many courses than too few. You can always get



A Roadmap to Penn
rid of a course later, but once you drop one, you might not be able to
get back into it. A good way to do this is to raise your desired course
load (one of the Penn InTouch options) as high as your school
allows. For example, even if you intend to take four courses, enter
your credit load as 5 credit units and sign up for 5 courses. Then,
after you check them all out during the first week of the semester,
drop the one you like the least.
If you do not get into that course you just had to take, dont panic.
Professors are usually very accommodating, and after an email or
a visit during office hours, they will most likely help you out if
they can. For the most part, if you keep trying to add the course,
eventually you will find that a space has opened for you.
If you should find yourself blocked by Penn InTouch and get
the big red stop sign, chances are youre in one of the following
You are a College Freshman and you have not seen your advisor
before advance registration in November and April.
You are a Nursing and/or Engineering student and you havent
spoken to your advisor before advance registration. (This applies at all
times during your undergraduate career.)
You have an outstanding balance on your bursar bill. If this is the
case, go to the first floor of the Franklin Building at 3451 Walnut
You do not have up-to-date insurance or insurance records. If you
have problems, contact the Student Health Insurance Office located
at 3535 Market Street.
You forgot to fill out your immunization forms. See Student Health
to solve this problem.
You are a second semester sophomore in the College and havent
declared your major. If you have this problem, get a clue and if you
want, an advisor in the College office (120 Cohen Hall) to help you
In cases where you are planning on taking fewer than four credits in
one semester, you dont need special permission. However, be sure
to confirm that your change in course load will not jeopardize your
financial aid, visa, or athletic eligibility status

Chapter 3: Registration

Grading Options
You may be surprised to find that unlike your high school grading
scheme, the letters you will receive on your Penn transcript are not
limited to that A through F range. You may receive a P, I, S, U, or W.

Most of your major-related and General Requirement courses must be
taken for a grade; however, you have the option to take some courses
pass/fail. When you exercise this option, the professor will issue a letter
grade for you but the computer will convert the grade to a P (or an
F as the case may be). This may be extremely advantageous when
you are interested in taking an elective outside your school in a subject
with which you are not familiar (e.g. youre in Wharton with a Finance
concentration and you want to give Environmental Studies a whirl). The
number of pass/fail courses that you can take depends on your school, so
refer to your schools handbook for your exact requirement.
As a general rule, it is impossible to open up a grade and change it to the
grade you would have received had you not taken it pass/fail. However,
there is one case when this can be done: if you took a course pass/fail
before declaring a major that requires that the course be taken for a
grade. Remember that this procedure is rare, but if you think you have
an `exceptional case, inquire at your schools office.

If you are interested in a course for which you dont need any
credit, think about auditing. Audited courses do not appear on your
transcript; its all about learning for learnings sake. However, each
school has a different policy governing audits so be sure to check your
home schools policy before auditing any courses.

IIf you find yourself in a little jam after its too late to drop or
withdraw from a course, you can ask for an incomplete and finish it
the next semester. Remember, merely asking for an incomplete does
not require that the professor grant you one. You should also be aware
that after the first four weeks of the next semester, your I will be
changed to an F unless you have finished the incomplete coursework
and allowed the professor enough time to grade your work by the end
of the fourth week. Upon completion, the I will revert to a letter



A Roadmap to Penn
Each department has scheduled make-up exams during the beginning
of the next semester. The schedule is available online. It would be
advisable to mark this down in your calendar for the next year because
some departments arent very lenient when it comes to making up
make-up exams. If you have any further questions or need clarification,
your schools handbook has additional details.

In certain situations where you get one grade for two semesters worth
of work (for example, if you are writing an honors thesis), you can
take an S for satisfactory work (or a U for unsatisfactory work, as the
case may be) until you finish it up the following semester. When you
receive your final grade, it will replace the S/U on your transcript.

Dropping a course by the drop deadline will result in no record of the
course appearing on your transcript. If for some reason it is necessary
for you to drop a course after this date, you will get a W which will
remain on your transcript even if you retake the course for a grade
during a different semester. We recommend that you carefully weigh
your decision to withdraw from courses and that you utilize this
option only under extenuating circumstances.




A Roadmap to Penn

Chapter 4: Curricular Options

Ok, so Im taking all these courses, but dont I need a major/
The University requires all students to have an academic focus,
concentrated in at least one curricular area. So, yes, you do need a
major. But dont stress out about it too early. Planning ahead can be
helpful, though you dont need to map out your entire four years at
once. You have lots of options and lots of flexibility. A number of
resources are available to help you narrow your academic focus and to
help you choose from the multitude of options available to you.

The SCUE College Course and Majors Fair

Sponsored by SCUE, the Course and Majors Fair takes place in
Houston Hall every semester during advance registration. A great way
to check out your options early on, the Course and Majors Fair brings
together all the majors, departments and other available academic
programs to answer your questions.

Other Resources
There are course major dinners throughout the year. Also many
departments hold receptions periodically, where you can meet
professors and learn about their upcoming courses. Undergraduate
Advisory Boards (UABs) are also a great resource and many hold
major-related functions. See your department for information on how
to join its UAB.

Declaring your Major or Concentration

Though it may seem daunting, declaring a major or concentration in
any of the schools is a simple and painless process.
The office of your home school should have brochures, newsletters,
or websites describing the various majors or concentrations available.
You can also consult the individual departments, their newsletters,
or their websites for additional information. Before declaring a major
you need to meet with your advisor to complete a worksheet found
on Penn InTouch. This worksheet will outline what courses you have
taken and what courses still need to be taken to fulfill your school and
major requirements. Your advisor will make your worksheet official.
Some majors have a GPA requirement in order to apply, so check the
departments website before you decide. The broad range of courses
which you have taken up to this point should also help you decide
what major or concentration to choose.

Chapter 4: Curricular Options

The College You must declare before advance registration ends in the
spring of your sophomore year. Contact the office of the department
in which you are interested and make an appointment. They should
lead you from there (we hope). Do keep in mind that there are some
majors that require you to fulfill prerequisites before you can apply (i.e.
Communications and International Relations). Check the department
website for more information. If you get stuck at any point during this
procedure, go to an advisor in the College office (120 Cohen Hall).
Engineering You must declare a major by fall semester of your
sophomore year. You can do this by filling out the appropriate form in the
undergraduate office of the School of Engineering.
Nursing Simply by matriculating, youve declared a major in Nursing.
Wharton Concentrations must be declared before graduation; however,
priority during registration for courses is given to those who have declared
a concentration. Thus, declaring your concentration sooner rather than
later can only benefit you. Besides, if youre sick of Finance and decide
that Health Care Management is more to your liking, you can change
at any time. You can declare your concentration by filling out the
appropriate form in the Wharton Undergraduate Division. Alternatively,
you can simply set up a meeting with a Wharton advisor in the Wharton
Undergraduate Advising Office (JMHH G95) and they can declare a
concentration on your behalf while you are with them.

Double Majors/Concentrations
A double major/concentration is another option if you feel your
interests span two areas within one school. Each major/concentration
must be applied for separately. Remember, pursuing this option
restricts the flexibility you have in your electives, and this is
something to seriously consider when you are piling up majors and
concentrations on your transcript. For some people, a double major
is the best decision. But dont feel pressured to fulfill two majors just
because all of your friends are. Many a successful Penn undergrad has
graduated with only one major (we knowgasp!).

Majors Across SEAS and the College

Students enrolled in either SEAS or the College can now pursue a second
major across either of these schools without satisfying many of the
additional requirements that a degree from one of these schools requires.
For College students interested in majoring in SEAS, check out http:// For SEAS students interested
in pursuing a College major, contact Towne 111 for more information.



A Roadmap to Penn

Networked and Social Systems Engineering

NETS (formerly MKSE--Market and Social Systems Engineering) is
the newest major in the School of Engineering. It combines the fields
of computer science, economics, and networking to create a cuttingedge, interdisciplinary major focused on preparing future engineers
with the quantitative and analytical skills to enter the world of social
networking and tech start-ups. NETS majors will have a strong
foundation in mathematics, engineering, and computer science. For
more information about the program, visit: http://www.mkse.upenn.
edu/. For specifics about the curriculum, visit: http://www.mkse.

Dual Degrees
If your interests truly span two different schools, and you are
looking for a very challenging curriculum with relatively few elective
opportunities, a dual degree might be for you. Keep in mind that
your school does allow you to take a certain number of courses in the
other three schools, so it certainly is not necessary to be dual degree
to follow this path. If you make a decision to do this, we recommend
that you inquire about it ASAP because it is a competitive process,
sometimes with prerequisites, and you need as much time as possible
to begin your second degree. You should seek advice from advisors in
both schools to help in planning both degrees.

Switching Schools
Since all four undergraduate schools at Penn are part of the One
University concept, it is possible to transfer from one school to
another. You should be careful though as different transfers may have
different requirements and GPA application minimums. Consult an
advisor in your home school to learn more.

Individualized Major/Concentration
While Penn prides itself on its individualized major and individualized
concentration options, you must be prepared to confront the rigorous
challenges you will face in getting your major or concentration approved.
For those of you who wish to create your own major/concentration or
who feel that the majors or concentrations currently available do not
adequately represent your interests, the option of the individualized
major or concentration exists for you. If this is something that interests
you, consult one of the advisors in your schools undergraduate advising

Chapter 4: Curricular Options

If a dual degree or double major/concentration sounds too intense,
but you have a significant interest in a second discipline, pursuing a
minor may be ideal for you. Some schools even allow you to minor
in one of the other three undergraduate schools. Through programs
known as Interschool Minors, you can also pursue a minor that
involves interdisciplinary study between two of Penns Colleges or
Schools. When your minor interest resides in another school, things
become more complicated; check with your school office for more
information. For a list of minors, go to

Switching Majors/Concentrations
Just because youve selected a major/concentration does not mean
that it is etched in stone. You may switch majors or concentrations
at any point, granted that you have enough time to complete the
requirements of the new major or concentration. If you are unhappy
with your initial choice, by all means do not be discouraged from
altering your academic path.

Community Involvement

I want to get involved in the community. Are there any

opportunities for me to do this within the curriculum?
Were so glad that you asked! In fact, many consider Penn to be the
civic Ivy, and Penn continues to stay on the cutting edge of urban
university community relations. Service learning courses, known
as Academically Based Community Service Courses (ABCS), are
sponsored through the Netter Center. These courses integrate theory
learned in the classroom with practice and application out in the field.
There are ABCS courses offered in most departments, and many are
generously cross-listed. The program is constantly growing, so watch
out for new and experimental ABCS courses being developed in
all departments and schools of the university. This style of learning
develops real-world problem-solving skills, while allowing students
to take their learning outside the lecture halls. These classes tend to
center around a universal problem manifested locally. The group,
usually less than 25 students, works collaboratively to understand and
wrestle with the problem.
ABCS courses involve a wide variety of community activities centered
on societal issues such as health, environment, the arts, and education.
Penns unique position as an urban university has allowed for the



A Roadmap to Penn
continual advancement of this program through the numerous
opportunities presented in the West Philadelphia community. So if
youre wondering what really lies beyond 40th Street, Market Street,
or Baltimore Avenue, you may want to take an ABCS course! As
Ben Franklin, the founder of Penn, stated, The great aim and end
of all learning is to serve mankind. Second semester freshmen are
encouraged to take ABCS and get become civically involved sooner
rather than later -- many seniors take these classes, only to wish they
had discovered them earlier!
A list of current ABCS courses may be found on the CCP website at

Civic House
Of course, there are many ways to get involved with civic engagement
and community service outside of the classroom, as well. Civic
House is the Universitys hub for student-led community service
and social advocacy work. Civic House promotes mutually beneficial
collaborations between the Penn and West Philadelphia communities
and beyond. Penn students have numerous opportunities to get
involved! The Civic House Associates Coalition is comprised of many
student groups; youre sure to find something to match your interests.
Through education, community connections, and other resources,
Civic House will prepare you for responsible and effective civic
engagement and leadership. As Gandhi said, Be the change you wish
to see in the world. Stop by Civic House at 3914 Locust Walk and
get involved!
Deans Advisory Boards (DABs) and Undergraduate Advisory
Boards (UABs)
Deans Advisory Boards and Undergraduate Advisory Boards within
the individual schools and departments have also worked to initiate
and implement various academic reforms. Each DAB serves as a
council of students in frequent touch with the Undergraduate Dean
of its school. The College, Engineering, Wharton, and Nursing
schools have their own DABs. The UABs do everything from tackling
departmental or school specific curricular issues to organizing events
that are important to specific majors and student interests. Together,
DABs, UABs, and SCUE make sure that Penn will continue to
improve and cater to students needs. Check out our website at http:// for information on how to get involved in these
student groups.




A Roadmap to Penn

Chapter 5: Academic Options

Academic Enrichment
Remember all those academic options listed in the Penn
admissions brochure? You know the ones you described in your
college application essay as manifold and diverse, while providing
a challenging academic experience. Well truth is, they really do
exist. Students in every one of the programs below carry a trend
of performing highly in many ultra-competitive post-graduate
fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, and Fulbright scholarships,
among others. Here are the programs:

The Benjamin Franklin Scholars (BFS) program

If youre a Penn student interested in classes which are academically
challenging and different, yet esoteric and altogether interesting, then
you should look into the Benjamin Franklin Scholars (BFS) program.
BFS offers deeply intellectual courses in almost all departments which
are open to all undergraduates, even non-BFS students. Taught in
seminar format, BFS classes provide a unique academic experience.
The Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program is an extraordinary program
tailored to those students really looking for an academic challenge.
BFS offers three unique academic resources: direct admission to BFS
courses, specialized academic advising, and research opportunities for
interested students. The program also hosts various research talks or
afternoon teas led by students and/or faculty. These events take place
in the ARCH building at Locust Walk and 36th street. While some
Penn students are admitted into the program as incoming freshmen,
interested students can apply during their first two years at Penn. For
additional information on the program, see the BFS home page at
Remember, non BFS students can still take BFS courses, though spots
are limited.

The Joseph Wharton Scholars (JWS) programs

Joseph Wharton Scholars is a BFS-like community specific to
Wharton undergraduates who are interested in being part of a program
that emphasizes the importance of research, liberal arts and science
education as elements to a well-rounded business education. The JWS
curriculum includes honors sections of typical Wharton courses as well
as honors courses in the College. Students in the JWS program often
have access to the large variety of BFS courses. For more information,
go to

Chapter 5: Academic Options

The University Scholars (U. Scholars) Program

University Scholars receive special academic advising and support in
sponsoring and funding research. As a U. Scholar, you are provided
with an academic advisor in the Center for Undergraduate Research
and Fellowships (CURF) and an additional research advisor in the
research field of your choice. Also, there are weekly lunches and
teas where students present their own research. These are fantastic
opportunities to learn about what undergraduate research actually
means and to interact with faculty who work with undergraduate
researchers. You should consider the U. Scholars Program if you
have specifically-defined intellectual and research goals. Consult
the University Scholars homepage at
uscholars/ for more information. All undergraduate students, not
just U. Scholars, are encouraged to explore the incredible research
opportunities through CURF.

The Nursing Undergraduate Honors Program

The Nursing Undergraduate Honors Program (NUHP) is a program
designed for nursing students looking for an additional academic
challenge. Its components include faculty mentorship, honors courses,
an independent capstone, and honors seminars where faculty and
students present their research to the School of Nursing. Freshman
and sophomores can apply through the program website at:
aspx#chrome. Starting with the Class of 2015, members of NUHP
are also members of the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program and can
also join Joseph Wharton Scholars and/or U. Scholars.

The Rachleff Scholars Program

For engineering students interested in engineering research, the
Rachleff Scholars Program was created just for you. New this year,
Rachleff is an honors research based program in the School of
Engineering and Applied Science. The program provides students
with great faculty support and advising and opportunities to work
with top professors in the Engineering School. The Rachleff Scholars
experience includes a 10-week paid summer research experience,
two classes with other Rachleff Scholars, as well as other organized
activities. For more information, visit



A Roadmap to Penn

Many of the University graduate schools offer undergraduates the
opportunity to earn both a Bachelors and Masters degree in four or
five years. This is an excellent opportunity to accelerate your studies.
Submatriculation allows you to save time and money while earning a
graduate degree. Although you still need to fulfill all of the standard
admissions requirements for the particular graduate school in which
you are interested, submatriculation often simplifies the process of
applying to a particular graduate school within Penn. Many students
also find it more convenient to continue their education with familiar
faculty members. If this is your intention, it is highly suggested to
begin planning early because some courses may be counted towards
both your Bachelors and Masters degrees. This is the ultimate
double-counting experience!

Independent Study
Are you tired of depending on your professor for things like determining
curricula, preparing syllabi, and giving lectures? Then maybe you should
break free and enroll in an independent study. This is an excellent way to
pursue individual interests that do not fit into formal courses.
Independent study is allowed and encouraged within all four schools. The
schools have different procedures for approving such projects, but credit
(in-major and elective) is generally awarded for those that are supported by
a faculty sponsor. Faculty members will sometimes lead an intimate reading
group for students with a particular interest. Check with your respective
academic offices and faculty advisors for additional information.

The Honor Code and Academic Integrity

In fostering an environment where scholarly work is taken very seriously,
Penn developed a Code of Academic Integrity which preserves and
promotes the highest levels of ethical conduct amongst its scholars (which
includes you!). Violations of this code, including cheating, plagiarizing, or
the falsification of records are treated very seriously; if you are found guilty
of violating this code, Penn may act to suspend or even expel you. The
consequences of such an act are far reaching: academic integrity violations
are entered onto your transcript and cannot be removed. There is a very
good chance that prospective graduate schools or employers will reconsider
your application upon discovering any violations.
If you are unsure about your responsibilities, the University Honor
Council can clarify any issues for you. These undergraduates are here
to help you and answer any questions you may have. Remember, its

Chapter 5: Academic Options

your personal responsibility to abide by the Code of Academic Integrity,
which can be found at

The Roadmap To Research

Everyone keeps telling me that Penn is a research University.

How can I get involved?
First and foremost, research does not just mean lab coats. Research is not
only for science majors, but for those in the humanities and social sciences
as well. There is a huge variety of roles that an undergraduate can have in a
research project, and most of those do not require you to discover the next
big idea. Furthermore, the research a student engages in does not necessarily
have to be restricted to a subject matter within his/her major.
Luckily, SCUE can help you get started with research with our Roadmap to
Research ( We highly recommend
looking at this resource, as the guide is a step-by-step walkthrough on how to
find and attain research opportunities in most subjects. Seriously, bookmark
the page and refer to it as you look for research opportunities throughout
your time on campus!
The best way to get involved with research is to speak with professors whose
work interests you. Essentially, almost all of the professors on campus are
doing research, and many would love some help. They may not be able to
pay you, but any research experience will be well worth the time you put in.
Dont forget about the professors in the graduate and professional schools
as well, and the numerous interdisciplinary centers on campus also offer
potential research opportunities.
You may be asking, No, really, where do I begin? First, make a list of the
courses you have taken and the names of professors that you have either
met or that sound familiar. Think about the different fields that you have
enjoyed learning about, even if it was just from a one hour lecture. Then,
send out an individual email to each professor to explain your preliminary
interests and find out his or her office hours. Ask for names of authors,
books, and other professors to investigate. Thats just one of the many ways
that you can begin figuring out what you would like to research.
If you have a work-study grant, then the Student Employment Services
office located in the Franklin Building may be able to help. Students who
have an interest in research might be able to land a work-study position
thats a little more interesting than a typical campus work-study job. You
can check the Student Employment Offices website at http://www.sfs. for a list of available research focused positions in all sorts of



A Roadmap to Penn
So why would you do research anyway? We think the question might be
more like, why wouldnt you? For many students it is one of the most
rewarding experiences they have at Penn. It allows you to pursue your
interests outside the classroom and work closely with professors. When you
think research on campus, one acronym should come to mind CURF.

Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF)

CURF is the hub for undergraduate research on campus. Located on
the 2nd Floor of the Arts and Culture House (ARCH) at the corner of
36th and Locust, CURF also serves the home for the Benjamin Franklin
Scholars and University Scholars communities. Students can call (215)
746-6488 to set up an appointment for a research consultation, to talk
about their particular research interests and solicit advice and mentorship.
In addition to the physical center, CURF also maintains a website at This site provides additional research and
fellowship help, a list of funding opportunities, and other information.

Provosts Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program

Started in 2007, the Office of the Provost and CURF launched the Provosts
Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program. Faculty members submit
ideas for research projects with which they would like freshmen to assist.
Then, interested freshman (and sophomores) can peruse these proposals
and apply through CURF to work with professors whose work they find
intriguing. Selected students will be matched with professors and will
conduct research with them for the summer after their freshman year. As
if the opportunities to engage in original research, develop a relationship
with a faculty member, and pursue an interest werent enough, this program
offers funding for the freshmen and faculty members as well! Find out more,
including information about the application processes and deadlines online

CURF UAB Research Fair

Similar to the Course and Majors Fair, SCUE offers a yearly fair
dedicated to research. Professors, graduate students, and undergrads
involved in research on campus make themselves available to speak
with interested students. Those at the fair are generally in search of
undergrads to assist with research.

Chapter 5: Academic Options



Wharton also offers research programs. SPUR is available to Wharton
students during their freshman and sophomore summers, while SIRE
focuses on international research. To learn more, visit http://spike.

The College Houses

The College Houses are one of the core parts of freshman year. They
create a strong sense of community at Penn and many students become
close friends with their hall mates and suite mates. All of the college
houses frequently host outings to concerts, sporting events, plays, and
Center City. All of the college houses also host residential programs as
well. Residential programs are composed of a group of students who live
on the same floor or suite who share a common interest or hobby. Many
of these programs are centered around an academic theme. Applying
to a residential program can be a great way to meet people with similar
interests, learn more about a certain topic, and attempt to get yourself
into a specific College House that you like. To find out more, go online




A Roadmap to Penn

Chapter 6: Services & Resources

Ive used all your tips, and I am still having trouble in some
courses. What resources are available to me?
Weigle Information Commons
Doubling as a tremendous resource for academic collaboration (lots of
group study rooms and state-of-the-art technology) and a place to seek
academic support services, this addition to the Van Pelt library is one
you should be sure to check out. The Weigle staff conducts workshops
and individual sessions on research skills, time/project management,
and writing and communication skills. Theres even a computer lab
filled with software especially for digital music and video editing, and
they sometimes offer workshops to help you learn how to operate these
programs. For more information see http://thecommons.library.upenn.

Writing Center
If never you learned to right good in skool, youre not a loan.
The Writing Center is available to help with all of your writing
deficiencies. It is staffed by undergraduate and graduate students
who can answer questions, revise content, and assist you with stylistic
problems. Writing advisors have evening walk-in hours at many
on-campus locations. You can also set up an appointment online at
If your interests in writing go beyond your assigned research papers,
check out the Kelly Writers House across from the Class of 1920
Commons for creative writing courses, literary clubs, publications,
and speaker series. For a complete list of programs and services
provided at the Kelly Writers House go to http://www.writing.

Tutoring Center
Drop by the tutoring centers exam files to see if your professor
has placed prior exams on file. Believe it or not, some of the exam
questions are the same semester after semester, alas, in which case
he/she probably didnt take the effort to submit them. Almost all
departments (but not all courses) have exams on file for students
to access. You can also sign up for a personal tutor if youre having
trouble with a specific subject. (This service is free to you!) Requests
for tutors are usually answered within 48 hours. Details regarding
tutoring services can be found through the Tutoring Centers website

Chapter 6: Services and Resources

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Everyone needs someone to talk to, and CAPS is a great place
to be heard. A lot of students use the services of the professional
psychologists and psychiatrists due to a host of social, emotional,
academic and career issues. So if you feel that your slump needs some
talking about and your best friends advice just isnt cutting it, see if
a counselor can help. For more information, see http://www.vpul.

Weingarten Learning Resource Center

Located on the third floor of Stouffer Commons, the Weingarten
Learning Resources Center provides workshops on note-taking and
study skills and gives one-on-one, individualized help as well. If
youre struggling with the adjustment to college, having trouble with
a particular course, or just want some advice, be sure to pay the center
a visit. For upcoming events listings and more information, check out

Study Spots

Now that I have the tools needed for studying, where should
I study?
Some of our favorite places on campus to study are:
1. Van Pelt Rosengarten: Penns most socially correct study area,
this is the place to go when your five-page paper is preventing you
from going out, but you still want to see and be seen. You can always
go to the stacks on the upper floors for quiet time.
Good Points: Basement floor is open 24 hours a day, theres a
computer lab and Marks Caf
Bad Points: In Rosengarten, a.k.a. Van Party, a.k.a. Rosenparty, dont
plan on getting too much work done (unless you can work with an
iPod turned up all the way).
2. Fisher Fine Arts Library: Made from sandstone and very beautiful.
Really, really quiet (and often cold...or warm, depending on the day).
Good Points: Shakespearean mottos etched in glass windows.
Good chance of running into Tom Hanks during the filming of
Philadelphia II.
Bad Points: Sometimes too quiet. Have to trek to Starbucks or
Houston Hall for closest snack. Closes somewhat early. Watch out if
you sneezeseriously...



A Roadmap to Penn
3. The Rare Book Room (6th Floor. Van Pelt): Decor similar to
Fisher Fine Arts. Also really quiet.
Good Points: No one knows about it (at least until now).
Bad Points: Closes at 5 PM and during most weekends. Definitely no
4. Silfen Study Center: Located on the first floor of Williams, its
quiet and near the Caf.
Good Points: Open late on weeknights. Close to the Quad, but not
in the Quad!
Bad Points: Can be a bit nippy.
5. Bio-Med: Looking to marry a med-student? Heres where to get
your head-start. With moveable stacks eight floors below ground, you
can explore the very bowels of Penn!
Good Points: Bonus for nearby Quad-dwellers. Learn about
interesting medical information years before you have to.
Bad Points: Not in the center of campus. Hypochondria?
6. Huntsman: 24/7 and professional.
Good points: Amazing amount of study room (all classrooms, the
Forum, 1st and 2nd floor lounges can all be used for studying). For
study breaks and snacks, Huntsman contains two Au Bon Pains (1st
and 2nd floor) and is close to Wawa.
Bad Points: Many computers and private study rooms require
Wharton login to access. Sporadic cell phone service.
7. Penn Bookstore: Great location. A place to get away from crowds
of undergrads.
Good points: Nice for talking and group work, caf, still has a lot of
textbooks (shhh!)
Bad Points: Tough to find tables near outlets.
Alternative Study Sites:
Towne Building - Open 24/7. Lots of computers. Lots of engineers.
Houston Hall - You dont have to go far for food breaks. The Hall
of Flags is open all night during finals with free coffee. A good groupstudy environment.

Chapter 6: Services and Resources

Coffee Houses - Cosi, Marks Cafe, Starbucks, Saxbys, Dunkin
Donuts, Capogiro.
The University Museum - A great place to study, especially on
warm days when you can sit in one of the internal courtyards.
Other libraries: Annenberg, Biddle Law, Chemistry, Math-PhysicsAstronomy, and the Vet School. If youre interested in learning the
wonders of electronic research, the Library of Congress Classification
System, or the Inter-Library Lend-Lease Act, check each individual
library for scheduled tours/info sessions.
Weingarten Learning Resources Center especially convenient for
Quad dwellers, this study space located in Stouffer Commons is a
great escape.
All three high-rises have beautiful rooftop lounges.
Your room (duh!).

Culture on Campus
Is College Hall actually the Addams Family House? What happened
at the very first meeting of the Board of Trustees? How radical were
Penn students in 1960s? Check out the University Archives! The
Archives holdings include both active and inactive records. You can
find information about all aspects of University life, especially those of
historical significance, including University activities and achievements
of members of the University community. Take a peek! Its located at
3402 Market Street, or online at

The University Museum

Havent had a chance to visit cultural sites downtown? Not to worry;
you can hobnob with art lovers and historians without leaving Penns
campus. The University Museum is world renowned not only for
its vast displays of archaeological artifacts, but also for its research
into the culture and history of humankind. At the museum you
can see mummies, a sphinx, Chinese weapons, and Sumerian stone
tablets. Exhibits are ever changing, as is the museums calendar of
performances, lectures, and special events. Your admission is free with
your PennCard. Check out for a calendar
of events and a complete listing of exhibits.



A Roadmap to Penn

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

The Institute of Contemporary Art is a museum on campus that
provides a forum for innovation and investigation in contemporary
visual arts including photography, painting, sculpture, performance,
film and more. Exhibits will often challenge the viewers
preconceptiosn and interests by displaying innovative art of the
present and recent past. The ICA is located on 36th Street between
Sansom and Chestnut, and admission is free with your PennCard.
Check out for a calendar of events and a
complete listing of exhibits.

When you come to Penn you are welcomed into new communities;
not only do you become part of the Quaker family, but you gain
access to all that Philadelphia has to offer as well. You probably know
about Philadelphia as a historical cityespecially one sweltering
summer in 1776but as a Penn student you can find out what its
like in 2012. The city has a number of exciting neighborhoods which
are all accessible by SEPTAthe citys public transportation. You
and your friends can buy tokens in your college house and begin
your exploration. Grab a cheesesteak on South Street; run up the
steps and then go visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art; explore the
Constitution Center and Independence Hall; cheer on the Phillies,
Flyers, 76ers, or Eagles; see a concert at one of Philadelphias music
venues; explore Reading Terminal Market where theres something
for everyone; welcome to Penn, and welcome to Philly!




A Roadmap to Penn

Chapter 7: Study Opportunities

The Quaker Consortium
Just because you study at Penn doesnt mean you have to limit your
courses to those that are being offered in West Philadelphia. Students
at dear Old Penn also have the opportunity to take courses at any of
the three other schools that are members of the Quaker Consortium:
Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore. The TriCollege Course
Guide (
search.cgi) is an online catalog of courses offered by the three schools.
If this option sounds interesting to you, make an appointment to
meet with an advisor to discuss enrollment details.

Penn in Washington

I love politics, and the Penn Democrat and College Republican

debates arent enough for me. Where can I get my fix?
As it turns out, Penn has a program for a semester in Washington,
DC. If you are a budding politician, and spending some time in
Washington sounds right up your alley, then the Washington
Semester is for you. Youll still be taking courses with Penn Profesors,
but youll have the opportunity to work at a government organization
or private agency in the nations capital! For more information,
contact the Fels Institute of Government or visit the Penn in
Washington website at

Study Abroad

Americas okay, but I really like other countries. Does Penn

offer study abroad options?
Does it ever! Penn has a number of different programs just for you.
So, you want to get out of Philadelphia? Have you been smitten by a
case of wanderlust? Then prepare yourself for what just may be one of
your best semesters at Penn. Thats right, studying abroad can be one
of the highlights of your undergraduate education. It will give you
a chance to see a new part of the world, perfect your Swahili, learn
Vietnamese history, and eat croissants though maybe not all at the
same time.
Interested? Make your life easier and start planning now! You may
think that the first semester of freshman year seems early to think
about junior year,- which is when most students go abroad-- but
then youd be wrong. If you dont speak Italian but want to study
in Florence, you can prepare yourself if you start studying freshman

Chapter 7: Study Opportunities

year. While there are some programs that actually do not require you
to know the language of the country in which you are studying, it
definitely helps to begin thinking about the process early.
To find out more about specific programs, you should make friends
with the Office of International Programs (OIP). Located at 37th &
Chestnut, OIP is responsible for administering study abroad programs
and processing your application. Find the advisor responsible for the
countries that interest you.
The Penn Abroad website ( lists
Penn-sponsored study abroad sites by country. The website has a
great step-by-step guide, which can be found at http://global.upenn.
edu/pennabroad/students/getting-started under the Getting Started
There are literally hundreds of options to choose from; but thinking
about your major, your language skills, and which areas of the world
interest you will narrow your choices. Your time abroad should
enhance your studies, so location and course offerings should be your
primary considerations. If you are worried about your less-than-fluent
foreign language skills, dont fret because there are many abroad
programs that dont require you speak a foreign language when you
arrive but will teach you one while youre there.

Semester/Year vs. Summer

Penn offers international programs during the regular school year
(for a semester or a full year) as well as shorter programs over the
summer. Choose whichever option is best for you. This decision may
depend on your major and ability to earn major-credit abroad, your
language skills, the extra-curricular activities in which you participate,
and in which country you would like to study. You may also want to
consider how life in your country may be different in each season of
the year due to weather, holidays, etc. In general, if you participate
in a Penn Summer Abroad program you will be studying with other
Penn students and taking some of your courses from Penn professors.
Plus, these courses will automatically show up on your transcript
you dont have to go through the process of getting courses approved
(as you will likely have to do with credit from other institutions).




Chapter 8: Life Beyond Penn

Chapter 8: Life Beyond Penn

During the Summer

I have to leave my college house in early May. Where will I go?

Many students take courses at Penn over the summer. The University
has two 6-week sessions over the summer, starting the week after
graduation. Course offerings vary from one summer to the next.
A catalog of summer courses becomes available during the spring
semester, though some departments list their summer offerings on
their website beginning in the fall. Registration for summer courses
is the same as regular registration, and generally is concurrent with
advance registration for the fall semester. Tuition is charged on a percourse basis and varies according to the school offering the course.\
Many students also pursue research or internships during the summer.
Look to CURF for research opportunities; Career Services can help
you find an internship or job. Be wary that recruiting, which comes
to campus for summer internships, is not geared toward freshmen.
Dont feel that an internship is necessary many students pursue other
options. Travel abroad during this time is also popular.
If you enjoyed that first day of spring when the idyllic campus was
filled with Frisbees flying and students reading on every green inch of
campus, then you will love the summer at Penn. Penn in the summer
can open your life to a new world of Philadelphia. Walks down to
Rittenhouse Square and even Old City will never feel so quick!

Once I earn my fancy diploma, what can I do with it?

Career Services
Career Services ( has
a library that contains references on job descriptions/listings and
graduate schools organized by geography or field of study respectively.
You may not remove these materials, but a copy machine is available
for your use (hint: bring lots of change). But, recently, many of their
resources have been made available online; its worthwhile to check it
out before going over.
They also offer resume and cover letter critques, and a myriad of
workshops each week to help you get prepared for life after Penn.
Check out their website to find out more and to make an appointment
with an advisor.



A Roadmap to Penn

Applying to Graduate School

There are a number of options for those going to graduate school
MD, MSN, MA, PhD, MBA, JD, etc none of which you should lose
sleep over as a freshman, but all of which you should keep in mind. A
good place to start for any graduate school search is Career Services. Ask
yourself why you want to continue your studies. Is it to avoid finding a
job? Is it to delay loan repayments? If so, these are not good reasons. You
should go to graduate school because you really want to continue your
education. As always, talk to professors you admire, your advisor, your
RA or GA, upperclassmen, and other mentors. Take a professor to lunch
(a free lunch for you both at the Inn at Penn) and discuss your grand life
Faculty can also help you find the graduate program suited to your
needs and interests; talk to faculty members about what departments and
graduate programs they respect. For those of you interested in obtaining
a Ph.D., sophomore year isnt too early to start preparing, though many
applicants have also started a successful process in their final year.


Ive been hearing about fellowships recently. What are they

and who can apply?
You have probably heard about some of the major fellowships such
as Rhodes and Fulbright, but there are many additional fellowship
opportunities for study, travel and research. Each fellowship has specific
requirements and some you even apply for as a sophomore or junior.
Just because you dont have a 4.0 or havent cured cancer doesnt
mean you cant win fellowships but you definitely cannot win one
without applying. The best resource for learning about fellowships is
through CURF. The website,
fellowships-directory lists many of the common fellowships as well as
deadlines for applying. If youre considering a fellowship, you should go
to CURF and speak with one of the advisors.

Things to Remember
The Rsum
When you graduate from Penn you should have at least three pieces
of paper: your diploma, your transcript, and your rsum. Not
everything that you did at Penn will appear on your transcript (and
almost nothing will appear on your diploma); thats why you need to

Chapter 8: Life Beyond Penn

write a rsum. Even if you are going to grad school, having a rsum
is a good idea to try to encapsulate your four years at Penn onto one
sheet of paper. Five years from the time you graduate, you might not
remember that you were the rugby teams social chair and that you
were a subject for medical testing. If youre having trouble, Career
Services has examples to help you along the way. They also have
individuals who can assist you by critiquing your rsum and offering
friendly suggestions; check them out for additional information.
Sample resumes, organized by school, can be found at http://www.

Career Workshops/Seminars
Career workshops and seminars are offered by the Office of Career
Services for students interested in any sort of career or field of study
including law school, business school, and med school. Check out one
or two during the spring of your junior or fall of your senior years.
And be sure to make friends with Upper Classmen- they can be an
incredible resource in helping you prepare for your job search.

Credentials File
A credentials file is a useful resource for anyone who will need letters
of recommendation in his/her life, whether they are for grad school,
summer internships, or a full-time job. Career Services will send your
letters to potential employers and schools, so that you wont have
to worry about it. Career Services will keep an unlimited number of
letters on file (confidentially) for as long as you want through a service
called Interfolio. Check out
writtenmaterials/resumes.php to learn more.

Academic Honors
Opportunities abound for students interested in some of the honors
programs, honors societies, and awards which distinguish and
recognize the most accomplished scholars around campus. Listed
below are just a few of the many options available to you!

Honors Programs and Honors Theses

Various departments in the College offer those students who are
seeking an extra challenge the opportunity to participate in the
departments honors program. Typically, these programs require
students to have maintained a GPA of 3.5 or better in the major.
These students will then write an honors thesis during their senior



A Roadmap to Penn
year. Though it may seem daunting, these departmental honors
programs offer a unique challenge: to investigate your intellectual
interests at a greater depth than typically experienced during the
regular course of study in a major. Each department has a different
program, so be sure to check with your major advisor for honors
programs within your department.

Deans List
Deans List is awarded automatically if, during the academic year:
A GPA of 3.7 is maintained for the academic year
Six or more credit units were completed during the academic year
You received no grades lower than a C
No incompletes during the two semesters were acquired
You were not subjected to disciplinary action

Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi

Phi Beta Kappa, arguably the nations most prestigious academic
honor society, recognizes students who have distinguished themselves
in the liberal arts. Though one can not apply for membership in Phi
Beta Kappa, juniors with GPAs of 3.85 or better and seniors with
GPAs of 3.7 or better are considered. No more than ten percent of the
graduating class are elected as members.
The full list of eligibility requirements for membership in Phi Beta
Kappa can be found at
Tau Beta Pi is the oldest national engineering honor society
recognizing engineering students who demonstrate academic excellence
and exemplary character. Juniors in the upper eighth of their class and
seniors in the upper fifth of their class from all engineering disciplines
are considered for membership.

Graduation Honors
Graduation honors are awarded to graduating seniors who have taken
at least 16 credits and have a minimum of the following GPAs:
3.8 Summa Cum Laude
3.6 Magna Cum Laude
3.4 Cum Laude

Chapter 8: Life Beyond Penn


Ive finished all my requirements, is there anything else I have

to do to graduate?
Do you want to be a senior at Penn for the rest of your life? No? Well
then make sure youve filled out the required graduation forms that the
registrar sends you in the fall of your senior year. In other words, dont
throw out any mail! You will also be notified of when and where to attend
sittings for your senior photographs and how to order your cap and gown.
You have to keep your eyes open for this important information!

Preparing for the big day

A few things you have to remember about graduation day (and some
of them, a year in advance). Turn in your graduation worksheets on
time. If you dont, penalties range from monetary fines to not being
able to graduate (depending on how long you go without filling them
out). Paperwork for The College is due in November of your senior
year. The other schools deadlines follow shortly thereafter. Rent your
cap and gown at the Bookstore during the first week of March. Your
school will send you details, so keep your eyes open.
If you are graduating with a GPA of 3.4 or above or if you are
graduating from the College, dont expect to keep your diploma for
more than an hour. Youll need to return it so that the appropriate
accolades and annotations can be printed on it. Youll receive your
diploma in the mail shortly thereafter as long as youve paid all your
bills to the University.



A Roadmap to Penn

Advising Resources
Where do I go if:
I dont know what
classes to take next

Ask your advisor and upperclassmen for

You might also want to check department
websites for lists of offered courses and posted
Check course times and descriptions using the
course search tool on Penn In Touch and see
course evaluations on Penn Course Review.

I dont know
how to fulfill my

Speak to your advisor or check the list of

which courses fulfill requirements on your
schools website.

I dont know which

activities to get
involved in?

Be sure to check out the Student Activities

Fair in the Fall and Spring.

I want to
pursue research

The Center for Undergraduate Research and

Fellowships (CURF) provides up-to-date
information on various research opportunities,
grants and fellowships.

I find myself
falling behind?

The Weingarten Learning Center can help

you budget your time more efficiently.

The Office of Student Life website links to

other organization websites where you can get
more information.

The Tutoring Center offers private tutoring,

workshops, review sessions and other special

I am thinking
about studying

The Office of International Programs website

has information on what study abroad options
are available.
(continued next page)


Where do I go if:
I am really stressed
and my roommate
just doesnt

The Counseling and Psychological Services

(CAPS) offers: Individual and group
counseling and therapy, crisis intervention,
structured workshops, psychological testing,
medication reviews and consultations.

I need help with

my rsum, cover
letter or internship

Career Services has tons of resources available

to start your internship search. Advisors
are always available to review documents or
schedule appointments to discuss career plans.

I am completely
lost or am unsure
of where to look?

SCUEs Roadmap to Penn offers

a comprehensive overview of the Penn
Undergraduate experience, as well as useful links.



Chapter 9: Congratulations and Welcome Incoming Transfers

Chapter 9: Congratulations and

Welcome Incoming Transfers!
Founded by transfers, the Transfer Student Organization (TSO) is a
long-term resource for transfer students at Penn. Transferring to a new
school can be especially challenging, and TSO was created primarily
to address the needs of incoming transfers as they assimilate to the
Penn community. Since our inception in 2011, TSO has grown from
a group of 3 interested students to a booming organization with 150
additional members each year. The organization now plays a central
role in coordinating and staffing New Student Orientation for transfer
students. In addition, TSO is increasingly becoming engaged in
advocating for transfers administrative and academic issues such as
writing seminar credit, timeliness of XCAT credit approval, housing
options, and upperclassmen exemption from meal plans.
As students settle into new academic and extracurricular life, TSO
prides itself in serving as another outlet to a vibrant, new community
on campus by planning social events throughout the year. We also
provide an community where transfer students can openly express their
experiences with the transfer process.
In other words, we are here to help YOU! So, here is some additional
information that is specific to incoming transfers:

Housing Options:
All new students must live on campus their first year, with minor
exceptions. The housing application process is very simple, and
transfers live in almost every college house on campus. If you would
like to room with a fellow transfer, you can start by visiting the
transfer facebook group. Please contact Penn Residential Services or
TSO if there are any lingering questions.

Meal Plan:
Currently, all incoming transfer students must sign up for a meal plan;
this may be a large freshman meal plan, or a smaller upperclassmen
meal plan, but transfers must sign up. We are working on changing
this policy, so keep your eyes open for any updates!



A Roadmap to Penn

Transfer Credits:
XCAT, or the External Course Approval Tool, is the platform used
to transfer credits from your previous school to Penn. Preliminary
evaluation of credits should be available within the first three weeks of
admission, but transfers need to submit courses on XCAT for formal
approval. To do this, simply log onto XCAT and upload your syllabi,
course descriptions, and other relevant documents. Faculty from each
department will review credit requests and determine the equivalent
Penn course, thus awarding credit. In general, transfer credit may be
awarded for academically based courses taken at a regionally accredited
institution with a grade of C or better. These courses should be similar
in content and setting to the curriculum at Penn. Credits transferred
from your previous school will become a part of your official student
record, but will not be used to calculate your GPA. Please utilize
the video tutorials on XCAT for further instruction and, again, ask
questions as they arise!

Writing Seminar:
All students must take a writing seminar course before graduating from
Penn. Currently, only juniors may receive writing credit from their
previous institutions, and the requirements are very stringent. Since
writing seminar is traditionally taken freshman year, TSO has created
an upperclassmen-only writing seminar in order for transfers to take
the requirement with fellow transfers and upperclassmen.

Studying Abroad:
If you are an incoming sophomore transfer, please research programs
of interest and plan your schedule accordingly. Consult with
your academic advisor or visit Penn Abroad for more information.
Unfortunately, incoming junior transfers are not allowed to study

Chapter 9: Congratulations and Welcome Incoming Transfers

Useful websites at your disposal:

Information about Transfer New Student Orientation:
Ask TSO any questions you may have on our Tumblr:
TSOs Official Website and FAQs:
TSOs Facebook Page:
Link to XCAT credit approval tool:



College of Arts and Sciences . . . . . . . . . . .DRL, Room A2

Penn Engineering . . . . . . . . .Towne Building, Room 111
The Wharton School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Huntsman Hall
(Locust Walk lobby)
Penn Nursing Science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fagin Hall

School Information Sessions:





Kaskey Garden

The Quad






HallDietrich Hall

Inn at


Liberal and

Penn School of Law

Penn School of Medicine

the Hospital of the
University of Pennsylvania

Houston Hall Auditorium

College Hall


Van Pelt - Dietrich

Library Center



University City
Science Center


University of Pennsylvania






Museum of Archaeology
and Anthropology