Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences

Graduate education at Penn has a long and distinguished history, beginning with Penn's first Ph.D. program in 1870. The origins of graduate education in the School of Arts and Sciences can be traced to the establishment of the graduate faculty in 1881 and the awarding of the first Ph.D. in 1889.

Today the Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences is one of Penn's nine graduate schools. This SAS Graduate Division, along with the Undergraduate College and the Division of Professional and Liberal Education, comprise the School of Arts and Sciences, the largest of the University's twelve schools.

The Graduate Division of the School of Arts and Sciences currently includes more than thirty graduate groups and offers the degrees of Master of Arts (A.M.), Master of Science (M.S), Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The Office of the Graduate Division, located at 3401 Walnut Street, Suite 322A, is the administrative unit that oversees such matters as admissions, records, funding.

Contact procedures:

  • Students should contact the Office of the Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences directly to submit applications for admission to one of the graduate programs and to make arrangements for the graduation ceremony.
  • Graduate groups are the best initial contact not only for information about program content, but also for assistance with problems related to funding, grades, fulfillment of degree requirements, leaves, and transfers.
  • In the event of an academic grievance, The Academic Grievance policy describes the procedures in place for currently enrolled students and former students within 1 year after leaving the University.
  • Students are directed to the Office of Student Financial Services for information on loans and to pay late fees, microfilm and copyright fees for the dissertation.

The School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) offers graduate students the opportunity to study with preeminent scholars in an academic environment that prioritizes individual mentoring and professional development. We are a diverse and inclusive community with world-class libraries, laboratories, museums and archives. SAS faculty members are committed to collaboration and innovation and to training the next generation of scholars and global citizens. Our doctoral programs develop lifelong skills in pedagogy, critical and analytical thinking, in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

The interdisciplinary nature of our programs encourages students to engage in a flexible array of coursework and mentorship within the School of Arts and Sciences as well as with other schools within the university.  Our students enjoy the flexibility of pursing dual and joint degrees in SAS and across schools.

The Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences values excellence through diversity not only in scholarship but also through cultural, social and political experiences at the university. 

The University of Pennsylvania Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences in partnership with the Biomedical Graduate Studies participates in the Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR–EIP). The Leadership Alliance is an academic consortium of 32 institutions of higher learning, including leading research and teaching college and universities. The mission of the Leadership Alliance is to develop underrepresented students into outstanding leaders and role models in academia, business and the public sector.

This program offers undergraduates interested in pursuing a PhD the opportunity to work for eight to ten weeks under the guidance of a faculty or research mentor at participating Alliance institutions. The SR–EIP is principally designed to encourage students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the social sciences and humanities including students who identify as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans (including Alaska Natives) and US Pacific Islanders, to consider research careers in the academic, public, or private sectors.

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The Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences has three different courses available to dissertation students while studying abroad or participating in an internship. These GAS courses allow the student to remain registered during the research and writing stages of the dissertation.  A student conducting dissertation research abroad in a given semester is eligible to register for Dissertation Research Abroad status. Students who must complete an internship as a part of their degree requirement or those awarded the opportunity to conduct research through specific programs to further their research interest may request to register for GAS 9930 or GAS 9940.  

The Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences covers the tuition for students registered for GAS 9960GAS 9930 or GAS 9940 in years 2 through 8 of the Ph.D. program.  Students are responsible for the reduced general fee while registered for any of the SAS courses listed below regardless of their year in the program.

  • GAS 9960 Dissertation Abroad Status
  • GAS 9930 Academic Internship
  • GAS 9940 Clinical Psychology

Students may not be enrolled in GAS registration in the term in which they file for a degree (alternate master’s or Ph.D.).  That is, students must be in enrolled in courses or regular dissertation registration in the term in which a degree is earned.  Students in the Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences can register for a maximum of 4 semesters of Dissertation Research Abroad (GAS 9960), External Internship (GAS 9930) and Clinical Internship (GAS 9940) over the course of their PhD career in GAS.  Tuition will not be charged, but the General Fee will be billed at the reduced rate.  The General Fee cannot be waived for any reason. Students are responsible for the reduced general fee and health insurance. The health insurance may be waived, but it is the student’s responsibility to initiate the request and follow through with Student Health.