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Global Opportunities

University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)

As an exchange student, there are a few things you need to know about going to the University of Pennsylvania. Learn more about the location, the courses and student life! 

Visit their website for more information about studying abroad at the University of Pennsylvania!


Penn has a long and proud tradition of intellectual rigour and pursuit of innovative knowledge, begun by Benjamin Franklin in 1740. That tradition lives today through the creativity, entrepreneurship, and engagement of our faculty, students, and staff.

 At Penn, exchange students:

  • Take classes at one of the most competitive universities in the United States and have access to internationally renowned undergraduate-level teaching and research programs.
  • Live on a cosmopolitan university campus in the birthplace of the United States - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Interact with a vibrant and diverse student body of approximately 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students.  
  • Build cross-campus and cross-cultural networks by participating in student clubs and organizations and attending a wide variety of campus events.


Philadelphia, the birthplace of the United States, is a major cultural centre and the heart of a metropolitan region with a population of more than five million people. The region also has one of the highest concentrations of colleges and universities in the country, making it a vibrant place to spend a semester or year as an exchange student.

Find out more about Philadelphia.

Level of competitiveness

Very competitive ***

The level of competitiveness (Less competitive * / Competitive ** / Very competitive ***) refers to one's chances of being allocated an exchange space at this partner. This is an approximation determined by the number of applications received for this destination during the last academic year versus the total number of exchange spaces available to Queen Mary students. 

Academic Calendar

Semester 1: August to December

Semester 2: January to May 

More information can be found on UPenn's academic calendar


Students who want to study at UPenn must be enrolled on a degree taught by UPenn’s College of Arts & Sciences.

  • Exchange students are eligible to take courses up to the 499-level.
  • Two of the four courses must be in the admitting college/school. The remaining two courses can be within the admitting college/school or in another college/school.
  • If a student takes five courses, three of the five courses need to be within the admitting college/school.
  • Students are not permitted to take graduate-level courses OR courses in Penn’s Law, Medical, Dental, or Veterinary Schools

Course descriptions can be reviewed on the Course Search website.

Course offerings for specific semesters can be found on the Penn Course Roster website.


Students need to take 4 credits (four courses) per semester.

Find out more about credit transfer and grade conversions.


  • All exchange students are required to live on campus in Penn housing. Students must complete an online application for housing after being accepted into their exchange program. NOTE: Due to high demand and low supply, exchange students rarely are placed in single bedroom units.
  • More information about Penn housing, the application process, and deadlines can be found on the Penn housing website for exchange students.

Cost of Living

The following estimates are for the 2020-2021 Academic Year:

  •  Housing: $11,014
  • Meals: $5,500
  • Books & Supplies: $1,300
  • Local Transportation: $600
  • Personal Expenses: $5,000

Find out more about the cost of living.

Support Services

For information on accessibility, visit UPEnn's Student Disabilities Services webpage. 

Campus Life

Find out more about Campus Life at UPenn

Social Media

University of Pennsylvania:

Additional Resources

Visit UPenn’s Frequently Asked Questions page to answer logistical questions about Exchange at Penn.

Contact recent exchange students with questions about their experience at Penn.

UPenn - Exchange Fact Sheet (2021-2022) [PDF 5,767KB]

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