University of Pennsylvania

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University of Pennsylvania is a private institution that was founded in 1740.

Tuition fees in University of Pennsylvania are $50,000 (Aprox.).

The University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, was founded by Benjamin Franklin. The Penn Quakers have more than 25 NCAA Division I sports that compete in the Ivy League, and are noted for successful basketball and lacrosse teams. Penn offers housing in more than 10 College Houses, but many students live in the numerous off-campus apartments and houses available. More than 25 percent of the student body is involved in Greek life, which encompasses about 45 fraternities and sororities. The school also offers a number of clubs and organizations, ranging from performance groups like the Latin and Ballroom dance club to student publications such as the Penn Political Review. Penn works closely with the West Philadelphia area through community service and advocacy groups.

Penn has 12 schools: Four offer undergraduate and graduate studies and eight offer only graduate studies. Penn’s highly ranked graduate programs include its Wharton School,School of Education, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Law School and School of Medicine. Penn’s other notable graduate programs include its Design School and School of Dental Medicine. Penn, though secular, has a strong religious life with its Hillel for Jewish students, Penn Newman Catholic Center and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. More than 2,000 students each year participate in international study programs offered in more than 70 countries around the world. Notable Penn alumni include former U.S. President William Henry Harrison, poet William Carlos Williams and businessman Donald Trump.

Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties

Annenberg School for Communication

Founded by Walter H. Annenberg, the Annenberg School for Communication produces research that advances the understanding of public and private communication, and generates applied research that helps policymakers create an intellectually and culturally rich media environment for its citizens. The School educates doctoral students in the theories, substance, and methods of communication research and launches them into leading academic and professional positions. Annenberg’s undergraduate program also provides a first-class liberal arts education, helping its students become more discerning consumers and producers of public information and preparing them for leadership in the private and public sectors.

Arts & Sciences

The School of Arts & Sciences (SAS) houses 26 departments and nearly 500 faculty scholars with honors that include the National Medal of Science, the MacArthur Fellowship, Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes. Penn’s intellectual core, SAS enrolls nearly half the University students and is integral in the education of all undergraduates as well as many graduate and professional students, lifelong learners, and working professionals. Undergraduate offerings include 54 majors, signature interdisciplinary programs, and distinguished dual-degree programs such as the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business and the Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management. Graduate offerings include 33 doctoral and 10 master’s programs.

Dental Medicine

Established in 1878, Penn Dental Medicine is one of the oldest university-affiliated dental schools in the country, and has set numerous precedents in education, research, and patient care. Academic programs include a DMD program with dual-degree options in education, bioethics, bioengineering, and public health; postdoctoral training in eight specialties with an option for a master’s in oral biology; and a degree program for foreign-trained dentists. Penn Dental Medicine encompasses basic and clinical sciences and provides community dental care in teaching clinics and faculty practices. Its students serve more than 20,000 local residents, logging close to 9,600 service hours each year.


PennDesign is a place of learning and invention where the fields of architecture, planning, preservation, landscape, and fine arts coincide. Formerly known as the Graduate School of Fine Arts, the School is committed to design that is creative in nature and transformative in impact. Faculty and students seek to recast the distinction between theory and practice, expand knowledge and invention through research, and contribute works of value and beauty to settings at home and around the world. PennDesign offers a number of dual degrees and certificate programs that foster inquiry and experimentation in a collaborative environment.

Engineering and Applied Science

Founded in 1852 as the School of Mines, Arts, and Manufactures, today’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is a vibrant part of the University. At Penn Engineering, world-acclaimed faculty, state-of-the-art research laboratories and highly interdisciplinary curricula offer students an unparalleled experience. Innovation and technology drive the program and transform the fundamentals of what future engineers are learning. Penn Engineering students play a critical role in asking and answering the questions that will improve human health and transform the world.

Graduate School of Education

Penn’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) is one of the nation’s best, where faculty across the board are national leaders in the production of educational and social research. Long known for excellence in teacher education and in leadership-preparation programs for educators in K-12 and higher education settings, Penn GSE also generates groundbreaking scholarship in language and literacy, teacher education, educational policy, higher education, applied psychology, social theory, and social research methods. Penn GSE offers innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and provides students with partnership opportunities with local educators.

Law School

Penn Law offers a superior legal education enhanced through cross-disciplinary study opportunities that are unrivaled among leading law schools. To complement their rigorous legal training, students can take classes to earn certificates or joint degrees at other Penn schools and programs, such as Wharton or the Center for Bioethics. The School’s intellectual vitality is defined by the faculty, an outstanding group of scholars whose collective expertise covers every major legal area. More than 70 percent of Penn Law professors hold advanced law-related degrees beyond the JD, and more than 50 percent have joint appointments or affiliations with other Penn schools.


The School of Nursing is one of the nation’s premier research institutions in nursing science. Penn Nursing faculty consistently receive more research funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other private nursing school, and many master’s programs are ranked first in the country. Students are offered unparalleled resources and experiences, including a state-of-the-art simulation lab, a nurse-led elder-care practice, and classrooms equipped with the latest technologies. Penn Nursing students gain valuable clinical experiences in two of the nation’s best medical institutions, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Perelman School of Medicine

As America’s first medical school, the Perelman School of Medicine, named for Raymond and Ruth Perelman, has a long-standing commitment to education, research, and patient care. Today, it consistently ranks among the top medical schools in the country and among the top three in grants awarded by National Institutes of Health. The Perelman School offers outstanding Ph.D., master’s, and combined-degree programs, in addition to medical degrees, and its students are among the finest in the nation. Students receive training in the nationally acclaimed hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, a network of medical facilities known for a dedication to high-quality patient care.

Social Policy & Practice

The School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) enters its second century as one of the country’s leading centers of knowledge development, transfer, and application in human services. The theory-based master’s programs in social work, social welfare, non-profit leadership, and social policy, and the clinical doctorate program in social work, encourage students to think and work across disciplines, countries, and cultures. This vision is reflected in all aspects of the school’s educational and research programs as well as in its work on the Penn campus, in the Philadelphia community, and in national and international social change efforts.

Veterinary Medicine

Penn Vet focuses on providing the best care to beloved pets, preventing zoonotic diseases in animals and humans, protecting the food supply, and discovering treatments for animal illnesses. Since 1884, Penn Vet has recognized that human and veterinary medicine are “one medicine,” and close ties with the Perelman School of Medicine have resulted in groundbreaking research. The Philadelphia campus includes the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital for small and companion animals, and Kennett Square’s New Bolton Center houses the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals. Penn Vet also plays an integral role in supporting Pennsylvania agriculture.

The Wharton School

Founded in 1881 as the world’s first collegiate business school, Wharton is globally recognized for intellectual leadership across every major discipline of business education. Wharton delivers the knowledge to take action and advance society through leading programs at every level: undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA and doctoral. The School also reaches out annually to 9,000 participants through Executive Education programs. Published in multiple languages, the school’s online journal, Knowledge@Wharton, reaches more than 1.7 million global subscribers. Wharton’s 88,000-plus graduates make up one of the largest business school alumni networks in the world.


The University considers itself the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, as well as the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies.

In 1740, a group of Philadelphians joined together to erect a great preaching hall for the traveling evangelist George Whitefield, who toured the American colonies delivering open air sermons. The building was designed and built by Edmund Woolley and was the largest building in the city at the time, drawing thousands of people the first time it was preached in. It was initially planned to serve as a charity school as well; however, a lack of funds forced plans for the chapel and school to be suspended. According to Franklin’s autobiography, it was in 1743 when he first had the idea to establish an academy, “thinking the Rev. Richard Peters a fit person to superintend such an institution.” However, Peters declined a casual inquiry from Franklin and nothing further was done for another six years. In the fall of 1749, now more eager to create a school to educate future generations, Benjamin Franklin circulated a pamphlet titled “Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania,” his vision for what he called a “Public Academy of Philadelphia.” Unlike the other Colonial colleges that existed in 1749—Harvard, William and Mary, Yale and Princeton—Franklin’s new school would not focus merely on education for the clergy. He advocated an innovative concept of higher education, one which would teach both the ornamental knowledge of the arts and the practical skills necessary for making a living and doing public service. The proposed program of study could have become the nation’s first modern liberal arts curriculum, although it was never implemented because William Smith, an Anglican priest who was provost at the time, and other trustees preferred the traditional curriculum.

Franklin assembled a board of trustees from among the leading citizens of Philadelphia, the first such non-sectarian board in America. At the first meeting of the 24 members of the Board of Trustees (November 13, 1749) the issue of where to locate the school was a prime concern. Although a lot across Sixth Street from the old Pennsylvania State House (later renamed and famously known since 1776 as “Independence Hall”), was offered without cost by James Logan, its owner, the Trustees realized that the building erected in 1740, which was still vacant, would be an even better site. The original sponsors of the dormant building still owed considerable construction debts and asked Franklin’s group to assume their debts and, accordingly, their inactive trusts. On February 1, 1750 the new board took over the building and trusts of the old board. On August 13, 1751, the “Academy of Philadelphia”, using the great hall at 4th and Arch Streets, took in its first secondary students. A charity school also was chartered July 13, 1753 in accordance with the intentions of the original “New Building” donors, although it lasted only a few years. June 16, 1755, the “College of Philadelphia” was chartered, paving the way for the addition of undergraduate instruction. All three schools shared the same Board of Trustees and were considered to be part of the same institution.

The institution of higher learning was known as the College of Philadelphia from 1755 to 1779. In 1779, not trusting then-provost the Rev. William Smith’s “Loyalist” tendencies, the revolutionary State Legislature created a University of the State of Pennsylvania. The result was a schism, with Smith continuing to operate an attenuated version of the College of Philadelphia. In 1791 the Legislature issued a new charter, merging the two institutions into a new University of Pennsylvania with twelve men from each institution on the new Board of Trustees.

Penn has three claims to being the first university in the United States, according to university archives director Mark Frazier Lloyd: the 1765 founding of the first medical school in America made Penn the first institution to offer both “undergraduate” and professional education; the 1779 charter made it the first American institution of higher learning to take the name of “University”; and existing colleges were established as seminaries (although, as detailed earlier, Penn adopted a traditional seminary curriculum as well).

After being located in downtown Philadelphia for more than a century, the campus was moved across the Schuylkill River to property purchased from the Blockley Almshouse in West Philadelphiain 1872, where it has since remained in an area now known as University City. Although Penn began operating as an academy or secondary school in 1751 and obtained its collegiate charter in 1755, it initially designated 1750 as its founding date; this is the year which appears on the first iteration of the university seal. Sometime later in its early history, Penn began to consider 1749 as its founding date; this year was referenced for over a century, including at the centennial celebration in 1849. In 1899, the board of trustees voted to adjust the founding date earlier again, this time to 1740, the date of “the creation of the earliest of the many educational trusts the University has taken upon itself.” The board of trustees voted in response to a three-year campaign by Penn’s General Alumni Society to retroactively revise the university’s founding date to appear older than Princeton University, which had been chartered in 1746.

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