FAQ

Best Undergraduate Experience

Will undergraduate business studies be too limiting?

Not at all. Instead, you will find that a Wharton education increases your opportunities rather than limits them. The tools that Wharton provides in analysis and problem solving can be applied in any context. In addition, you may explore a range of courses at Penn that is second to none. Wharton undergraduates go on to medical school, law school, graduate school and work in non-profit institutions as well as leading corporations.

If I plan to get an MBA after graduating from college, why should I choose to study for an undergraduate degree at Wharton?

If you already know your direction in life, Wharton will put you miles ahead on your career path. If your interests are broad and varied, Wharton will help you fully explore a range of options while developing fundamental business skills. Intrigued by foreign languages and cultures? Fascinated by political science or public service? Interested in music, and math? Committed to community building or improving the environment? A Wharton education will help you transform personal interests and academic passions into career opportunities. You will be able to assume a responsible position sooner than other college graduates who lack a rigorous grounding in the fundamentals of business.

What degree will I receive from the Wharton School?

All students in the Wharton School’s undergraduate program receive a Bachelor of Science in Economics degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Admissions

How do you assess candidates?

Penn’s central Office of Undergraduate Admissions handles all admissions decisions. When assessing each Wharton candidate individually, Penn Admissions officers evaluate the following factors:

  • High school academic performance
  • Standardized testing
  • Recommendations
  • Non-scholastic achievements
  • Leadership
  • Personal maturity

The undergraduate admissions committee looks for individuals who will be future leaders. There are no fixed criteria and no cut-offs in terms of grades or test scores. Because such a high percentage of the Wharton applicant pool is qualified for admission, there are ultimately more qualified candidates than spaces in the class. Accepted candidates are those who present the most compelling cases and distinguish themselves from other applicants.

What is the application procedure for Wharton's dual-degree programs?

The Wharton School’s undergraduate program currently offers four coordinated dual-degree programs with each of the other undergraduate schools at Penn. To apply, simply check the appropriate box on Question 2 of Penn’s Application Supplement, and complete the additional Form 1C. Applications are evaluated by The Office of Undergraduate Admissions and directors of the individual programs. Applicants not considered competitive for the coordinated dual-degree programs are still considered for a single-degree admission, as indicated by your choice of single-degree program on Form 1C. The four coordinated dual-degree programs are:

How are Wharton transfer applications assessed?

All external transfer students must meet the transfer requirements outlined on the Penn Admissions website in order to be considered for acceptance into the program. Specific Wharton requirements can be found on the Transferring into Wharton page.

Can I request an interview with someone in the Wharton Undergraduate Division office?

No. Interviews are not required for admission, and the Wharton Undergraduate Division does not conduct interviews with applicants. Optional alumni interviews may be available through Penn’s Alumni Secondary School Committee (SSC) volunteers. To learn more, click here.

Are there part-time students at Wharton?

The Bachelor of Science in Economics degree is offered only on a full-time basis.

Can I take any Wharton classes online?

Wharton only offers non-credit courses online on Coursera.

Can I receive financial aid to attend Wharton?

Yes, if you qualify. Penn’s admission policy is “need blind,” which means that if you are a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., Canada or Mexico, you would be admitted regardless of whether or not you can afford to pay the cost. When you apply, you may complete a financial aid application as part of the entire application process. Penn can usually provide a competitive aid package for those individuals qualifying for aid. Information regarding financial aid awards comes with your acceptance letter. For more information, please contact the Office of Student Financial Services.

How many international students are there?

International students comprise about 22% of the Wharton undergraduate population.

Curriculum/Course Work

What opportunities will I have to study a particular business subject in depth?

Every Wharton student chooses a concentration, which consists of four upper-level courses in a particular area of business. Wharton offers a wide range of courses that are unmatched by any business school anywhere in the world. You may choose from 20 different concentrations or, if you prefer, you may develop an individualized concentration that meets your own special interests

How many liberal arts and sciences courses will I be able to take?

A significant part of the Wharton curriculum is comprised of liberal arts and sciences courses. You will take a fully integrated business and liberal arts curriculum beginning with the first year. Your Wharton education will give you a rigorous grounding in the fundamentals of business, with an emphasis on innovation, leadership, global perspectives, and managing change. Your liberal arts and sciences education can be tailored to fit your special interests. The actual number of courses will depend on how many AP credits you have and your interest in taking non-business courses.

If you have well-focused interests, you may choose to minor in a particular discipline in the College of Arts and Sciences or you may choose a University Minor, or you may opt to enroll in a dual-degree program. Each year about one-third of our students graduate with a dual degree, combining Wharton’s Bachelor of Science in Economics with a Bachelor of Arts or a degree from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences or the School of Nursing.

When do I start to take my business courses at Wharton?

Wharton offers a four-year, blended program of business and liberal arts and sciences. Unlike most other business programs in which you must wait until your junior year to begin business courses, you will take Management 100, a Wharton course during the first semester of your freshman year. You also will be able to integrate your Wharton and non-Wharton courses throughout your four years of study at Penn.

What will I study at Wharton?

More than 50% percent of the courses you take will be in business education. The remaining will be in the arts and sciences. The business fundamentals include nine-courses in management, finance, accounting, statistics, marketing, and operations and information management. In addition, you will take upper-level courses in an area of specialization, called a concentration as well as business electives and courses in various areas such as societal, organizational, and global environments. The current student website can give you a more in-depth look at the curricular requirements.

Will I be able to study abroad?

About 25% of Wharton students choose to study abroad, usually for a single semester during their junior year. The University sponsors over 100 study abroad programs in which Wharton students take arts and sciences courses. The University’s Office of International Programs can provide further information, and these programs can be accessed through Penn Abroad. Additionally, Wharton sponsors over 20 study abroad programs that enable students to take business courses in addition to arts and sciences courses.

What is the average class size?

Class sizes vary. Large introductory classes may have over 100 students in a lecture format, but these classes are complemented by small 20-student recitations. Class size is usually smaller in upper-level courses. There are many seminar courses offered, in which enrollment is restricted to 18 or fewer students.

Are Wharton professors accessible?

Wharton professors are very accessible. Every professor holds weekly office hours. In cases where the student is unable to meet during standard office hours, he/she may call or email the professor to set up an appointment. Professors are available to assist students with class material and also with department class selection, areas of research, graduate study, and careers.

Are many classes taught by graduate student teaching assistants?

Teaching assistants do not conduct classes at Wharton. They may staff recitation sections and assist professors in various other classroom activities. They often hold office hours that supplement professorial office hours, in addition to conducting tutorial sessions.

Do many students fail academically at the Wharton School?

Students accepted to Wharton prove to excel in their university studies. The great majority complete their undergraduate program within four years, even those taking more than one degree. At any time, less than two percent of Wharton undergraduates are on academic probation as a result of poor performance and even fewer are placed on mandatory leave of absence, or dropped from the program for academic failure.

Academic Opportunities

Does Wharton have a special business library?

The University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt Library houses the largest open-stack library in the country, and the entire west wing of the library is devoted to the Wharton School’s Lippincott Library, which features leading-edge technology. The staff is eager to provide students with the technological skills to conduct research efficiently using not only the library’s collections of books and periodicals, but also a wide variety of online databases.

Are there any research and scholars programs at Wharton, and what are the criteria?

The Joseph Wharton Scholars (JWS) are a top percentage of Wharton undergraduates. Students are invited to the JWS program during the initial admission process to the University, based on their expressed interest in liberal arts and research, as well as academics. Wharton students are also eligible to apply for admission to the program at the end of their freshman year. The University sponsors the Benjamin Franklin Scholars (BFS) and University Scholars programs. These two programs include students from all four undergraduate schools and have a dedicated professional advising staff and office. JWS students must also participate in the BFS program. Acceptance to these programs gives a student unique opportunities to take smaller honors classes and do intensive research. All honors classes at the university are available to the general student body with permission of the instructor. The Wharton Research Scholars, gives juniors and seniors the opportunity to work closely with faculty within a year-long research project. The Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) and the Wharton Social Impact Research Experience (SIRE) provide students with summer research opportunities.

What opportunities will I have to study a language?

Wharton students are required to demonstrate competency in a foreign language in order to graduate. Many students continue their language studies from high school, while some start from the beginning with a new language. The University of Pennsylvania offers instruction in well over 40 languages. Students may, depending upon the requirements of the department, place out or receive course credit for a foreign language with a SAT II score of 650 or a score of 4 or 5 on an AP language exam. Native speakers may also choose to take a written and oral examination in their native language to complete the requirement.

Student Life

Are Wharton students segregated from the general student population?

On the contrary, Wharton students are fully integrated into the Penn community. They participate in Greek organizations, varsity and club athletics, community outreach organizations, student government, performing arts, and more. In your College House, your roommates and neighbors are more likely to be studying at one of the three other undergraduate schools of the University than at Wharton.

Can I play sports if I'm a Wharton student?

Wharton students regularly participate in varsity athletics as well as in club and intramural sports at the University. In recent years, Wharton students have participated on teams including football, wrestling, squash, basketball, and gymnastics at Penn. Other sports well represented by Wharton students include varsity swimming, field hockey, lacrosse and tennis, as well as participation in nationally ranked club rugby and ultimate Frisbee. Olympians (as students) have included fencers, wrestlers, a skier, ice skater, gymnast, and an oarsman.

How culturally diverse are Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania?

Penn is one of the most culturally diverse campuses in the nation. Wharton has students and faculty from all over the world, and many different cultural backgrounds. In addition, a large number of organizations and clubs support students from different backgrounds as well as focus on the business-related interests of different regions of the world. The University also sponsors numerous events, exhibits, performances in celebration of diversity.

Do I need to have a personal computer?

While you are not required to provide your own computer, most students do, as it is more convenient to for them. Wharton has over 200 student lab stations, and there are numerous student computing facilities all over campus, many located within the College Houses.  Wharton Computing Student Support consultants can help you choose the right computer for you.

Is the Penn campus a safe environment?

Penn is committed to the well-being and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Night lighting is ample, and there is an extensive system of emergency phones at almost every corner of campus. The University’s Division of Public Safety has a well-staffed and professionally trained campus police force of over 70 officers, with full law enforcement powers. Penn also provides a comprehensive, free 24-hour escort service which provides both van transportation and walking escorts. As with all large metropolitan areas, common sense goes a long way, and there is frequent safety training offered to any interested students.

Careers

How do students go about finding a job as they approach graduation?

Besides career and job search counseling, the University’s Career Services office offers many workshops and events throughout the year in addition to coordinating on-campus recruiting by top firms. Many firms aggressively recruit Wharton students for assignments both domestically and abroad. Career Services also provides help in identifying opportunities for summer internships.

How well do Wharton graduates do in the job market?

Graduating Wharton students from the Class of 2014 averaged over 12 job interviews and 2 job offers. Of these Wharton graduates, 91% entered the working world and another 3.6% pursued further education. The average starting salary for the Class of 2014 was $69,506. You can see career plans survey reports here.

For more data, including information about our alumni career paths visit Penn Career Services.