University of Pennsylvania
34th and Spruce Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6303
(215) 898-7507
Accrediting Agency:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Founded in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania ranks 5th in the nation, according to the 2012 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” list. Founded by Benjamin Franklin, Penn has 12 schools. Four offer undergraduate studies, and the other eight offer only graduate studies. The school has a total enrollment of almost 25,000 students, and almost 10,000 of these students are undergraduates. Penn has more than 300 clubs and organizations, which range from political action groups to performing arts organizations to student publications. The university boasts more than 25 NCAA Division I sports teams that compete in the Ivy League, and more than 600 undergraduates participate in study abroad programs in 50 countries every year. Research also plays a substantial role at the university, which has 165 centers and institutes. The university continues to be recognized for its achievements in both research and education.

Programs Offered

Penn offers a combination of liberal arts course work and pre-professional programs through its 12 schools. Its four undergraduate schools include the School of Arts and Sciences, the largest, followed by the Wharton School, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of Nursing. The most popular major at Penn is finance, offered within Wharton, a top-ranked undergraduate business school. Other popular majors include economics, history, and political science and government. Penn also offers interdisciplinary programs and courses through different departments or schools, such as the Fisher Program in Management and Technology and the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business.

Penn’s 12 graduate schools include highly ranked programs in its Wharton School, School of Education, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Law School, and School of Medicine. Online programs are offered through Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies, within the School of Arts and Sciences. They include live lectures and interactive discussion, supplemented by assignments, threaded discussions, and office hours.


Penn has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1921. Several programs have also received accreditation from specialized agencies, such as the Committee on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation.


Every freshman applicant must submit the Common Application, along with the Penn Application Supplement, a high school transcript, and two teacher recommendations. Students must also submit scores from the SAT Reasoning Test and two SAT Subject Tests, or the ACT with the writing component. Interviews are not required, but they can be valuable for students who wish to learn more about the university. Early decision applicants must submit their applications by November 1, and regular decision applicants must submit them by January 1. Transfer applicants must submit the Common Application and the Penn Application Supplement by March 15. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due January 1. The application fee at University of Pennsylvania is $75. It is selective, with an acceptance rate of 14%, according to College Navigator.

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