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Admissions and Eligibility

Admissions and Eligibility

See yourself in the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences

Penn’s Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences is designed for students who are completing their undergraduate degree and professionals looking to bolster their careers in private and non-profit sectors. To fulfill the requirements for this degree program, you must complete nine course units (c.u.)* of on-campus study. Students can finish the coursework in one full-time academic year, using the summer to complete the capstone research project, or part-time at a flexible pace. 

Our program is also an entry point for students who want to pursue a PhD or enter into business, medical or law schools. If you are already working, and want to enhance your credentials or make a career change, we welcome you to bring your expertise into the classroom and grow with your peers. Future consultants, educators, policy-makers, community influencers, business analysts and more are made here.

After completing the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences, you join a global network of Penn alumni and leave with the tools to understand and influence behavior in your field and beyond. From humanitarian work in developing nations to helping your employees make better decisions, or working with urban communities in public health—the impact of behavioral and decision sciences casts a wide net of possibility.

What we’re looking for

Our admissions committee takes a holistic approach to evaluating applications. Along with a solid academic record, our program is looking for individuals who strive to make an impact in their chosen field through behavioral and decision sciences. We are seeking self-starters who will use their time at Penn to pursue internships, research opportunities and academic rigor beyond the classroom.

If you are a Penn undergraduate interested in this degree, we encourage you to contact your advisor to determine if you are eligible to submatriculate into the program. Students who have graduated from Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree programs in the US and abroad may be eligible to transfer up to three courses into the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences at the discretion of the faculty admissions committee. For students who have not taken the quantitative prerequisites for the master’s, Penn offers up to two summer courses in statistics and/or game theory/decision sciences to prepare them for admission.

Admissions requirements for the program reflect the high standards of the School of Arts & Sciences. Admissions criteria include:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA
  • TOEFL scores of at least 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT), or 600 (PBT) for international applicants. (TOEFL scores are not required from international students who are attending or have attended English-speaking institutions or programs for their undergraduate degree.)

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*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

Upcoming application deadlines

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The priority admission deadline for Fall 2018 is March 1st and deadline for regular admission is May 1st. Get your application started!

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Course descriptions

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See the courses and electives available to master's students.

See Courses & Curriculum >

Program contacts

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Our Associate Director can help you plan your path through the Master of Behavior and Decision Sciences degree.

See Program Contacts >


311 Cohen Hall
249 S. 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

TEL: (215) 898-3023
FAX: (215) 573-2231