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 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 over 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 which oversees such matters as admissions, records, funding.

The Graduate Division also oversees degree and graduation for all Ph.D. and Master's students in the nine research-degree granting schools at the University.

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, to turn in dissertations and Master's theses, 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.
  • If the event of an academic grievance, The Academic Grievance policy describes the procedures in place for currently enrolled students and former students within 3 years 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.

Our goal is to train future scholars, teachers, thinkers and social leaders, through the rigors of graduate education.  Our doctoral programs aim at developing lifelong skills in pedagogy, critical and analytical thinking, from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

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

This is a part of our investment in 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 993 or GAS 994.  

The Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences covers the tuition for students registered for GAS 996GAS 993 or GAS 994 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 996 Dissertation Abroad Status
  • GAS 993 Academic Internship
  • GAS 994 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 996), External Internship (GAS 993) and Clinical Internship (GAS 994) 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.