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University of Pennsylvania

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
1 College Ln Hall Room 1
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
(215) 898-5000
School Information
"To this day, Penn’s 299-acre West Philadelphia campus reflects its rich heritage—a heritage closely bound with the birth of the United States—boasting more than 180 buildings and many notable landmarks, including the nation’s first student union and first double-decker college football stadium. The 190 research centers and institutes on campus also reflect the University’s innovative, civic-minded, and pragmatic creator: More than 250 years after Ben Franklin broke new ground in founding Penn, its faculty, students, and alumni continue to make breakthroughs in research, scholarship, and education. Its many subsequent “firsts” include the world’s first collegiate business school (Wharton, 1881); the world’s first electronic, large-scale, general-purpose digital computer (ENIAC, 1946); and the first woman president of an Ivy League institution (Judith Rodin, inaugurated in 1994); as well as the first woman Ivy League president to succeed another woman (Amy Gutmann, inaugurated in 2004)." The university enrolls over 26,600 students, employs over 4,800 faculty, and offers 99 undergraduate majors. (Source: (Source:
General Information
The University of Pennsylvania has taken steps to fund social justice research. The university extended its “Campaign for Community” research funding for projects related to “racial justice.” Additionally, although the university will not officially create an ethnic studies or anti-racism requirement, students are encouraged to take ethnic studies classes, if not required to do so by their colleges. No mandatory Critical Race Training sessions are yet required of students. However, see developments below:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • The University's School of Engineering Diversity and Inclusion page states that "Engineering and STEM disciplines have work to do nationwide with respect to underrepresented minority enrollment. We will continue to increase participation and improve the experience and graduation rates of women and underrepresented minorities including African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino and Native American Pacific Islander students."
  • On June 29, 2023, UPenn's President and Provost issued a statement in response to the Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action which reads in part as follows: "For decades, universities like Penn have been permitted to assemble a diverse class by considering an applicant’s race as one factor among many in their holistic admissions review process. Today’s ruling changes this...This decision will require changes in our admissions practices. But our values and beliefs will not change. Bringing together individuals who have wide-ranging experiences that inform their approach to their time at Penn is fundamental to excellent teaching, learning, and research."
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • The school's Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty's Diversity page states that "Diversity Search Advisors (DSAs) and faculty members involved in searches are expected to participate in some form of bias education at least once every three years. To meet this requirement, DSAs and search committee members may complete bias training provided by the Provost’s Office as well as bias training offered by Schools, departments, and other organizations."
  • According to the school's Action Plan for Faculty Excellence and Diversity (2019 Update), the Annenberg School for Communication incorporated "expert-led implicit bias orientation for all faculty into regular fall faculty meetings." The plan also states that "Unconscious bias training is mandated for all recruitment committees, and diversity has been incorporated in all departmental annual reviews" at the Wharton School.
  • The University's School of Engineering Diversity and Inclusion page states that "all DSAs [Diversity Search Advisors] and department search committees have been trained in recognizing and avoiding implicit bias in faculty hiring."
Political Actions and Support for Anti-Racism
  • The University's Netter Center for Community Partnerships formed an "Anti-Racism Working Group" in 2021 which develops "approaches, strategies, and actions to actively combat and ultimately eradicate racism in all its forms." The Center's objectives include "Creating safe spaces for Netter staff, Penn students, University-Assisted Community School (UACS) youth, families, and partners to engage in social and racial justice conversations" and "Creating opportunities for faculty, undergraduates, graduate students, and K-12 youth to become involved with ABCS and other community-engaged scholarship, focused on anti-racist policy and action."
Program and Research Funding
  • Extended “Campaign for Community” Research Funding for projects related to “racial justice.”
  • The school's Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty's "Excellence Through Diversity Fund" supports "various types of projects including implementation of Schools’ strategic plans to diversify and enhance the climate for student and faculty populations, research on topics related to diversity and inclusion, projects that foster and support diversity on campus, and projects that involve collaborations across disciplines or traditional boundaries of academic work."
  • On June 3, 2020, as part of the University President's statement on the death of George Floyd, the President announced that "Penn will establish a new fund, intended to encourage students, faculty, and staff to design and implement pilot projects based on innovative research that will advance our aim of a more inclusive university and community." The initial fund would be "$2 million—with the possibility of raising additional resources—to support compelling projects and promising proposals."
  • The University's Office of the Provost announced that grant proposals for the 2022-2023 academic year would be accepted on the following two themes: "Equity and justice matters within the Penn community," and "Equity and justice matters between members of the Penn community and members of our Philadelphia community."
  • University will not officially create an ethnic studies or anti-racism requirement, but students are encouraged to take those classes, if not required to do so by their colleges.
  • The University created the Office of Social Equity and Community to advance social equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • The University's School of Arts and Sciences offers a "Social Difference, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" Certificate and states that "The events of 2020 have underscored the critical importance of addressing systemic racism, as well as sexism and other forms of prejudice, in every sector. Education clearly holds an important role in this endeavor." The following four classes are required in order to complete the Certificate: "Introduction to Social Difference in American Society," "Cultural Capital and Social Spaces," "Organizational and Institutional Power & Hierarchy," and "Spaces of Creativity and Social Action."
Symbolic Actions
  • On April 19, 2021, the University released a statement “to affirm unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms Penn’s unwavering commitment to advancing racial equity and social justice in our nation.”
  • The school's Vice President and Police Chief released a message to the community regarding the death of Tyre Nichols and stated, "Penn Police were some of the first officers in Pennsylvania to participate in Active Bystander Training for Law Enforcement (A.B.L.E.) to build a culture that supports and sustains successful peer intervention to prevent harm."
  • On July 2, 2020, the University's President, Executive Vice President, and Provost announced the formation of a "Campus Iconography Group" which would "engage in broad outreach across our community and advise us on further steps to ensure that the placement and presence of statues and other prominent iconography better reflects our achievements and aspirations to increase the diversity of the Penn community."
  • On June 3, 2020, the University's President issued a statement in response to "The horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others" and stated, "We must, as a country and community, resolve to find better ways forward to understand and address systemic racism and closely related economic, educational, political, and social inequities. We must work together to build more hope for the future."
Last updated March 26th, 2024
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