One of the definitional strengths of the School of Arts and Sciences is the range of expertise it brings to the study of global issues: it has a mission to “teach the world” in its historical and contemporary contexts, a charge reflected in the very names of a large portion of its departments, majors, and research centers. Some programs focus on individual peoples, nations, or regions, including diaspora populations in the United States and elsewhere, while others work in transnational contexts. Our students engage in global curricula and take part in international academic experiences around the world. The School’s strategic plan, Our Foundations and Frontiers, has as its centerpiece a series of interdisciplinary initiatives with significant global implications. In addition, the large number students, faculty, and staff who come to Arts and Sciences from every corner of the globe are a vital part of our community.
Faculty and Research
In carrying out a wide range of global research, Penn Arts and Sciences faculty use as their lens a host of methodological approaches from the humanities and social sciences. Likewise, the knowledge that emanates from the School’s natural sciences programs may be applied in addressing a broad range of global scientific, technological, and social challenges.
Students in all four of Penn’s undergraduate programs build global competency through the liberal arts requirements that they take through Arts and Sciences. The College’s own undergraduate degree requirements emphasize cross-cultural analysis and cultural diversity in the U.S. The pioneering Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business offers a dual degree from Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School.
The School offers advanced study the full range of global subjects represented in Arts and Sciences.
Penn Arts and Sciences is recognized for its excellence in teaching a wide array of foreign languages: its departments regularly offer instruction in some 32 languages, with the Penn Language Center teaching at least 45 more. Penn English Language Programs offers short-term study in English as a foreign language.
Undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences have the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs around the world, taking coursework that integrates into their major, continuing their study of a language and culture, or broadening their curriculum through electives. The Penn Global site details opportunities and procedures for semester and year-long study abroad, summer study abroad, and short-term global seminars.
Special Programs for International Students
A number of programs offer non-degree study opportunity for international students.
Students around the world can take part in credit, non-credit, and executive development courses from a distance through the School’s online programs. Penn Arts and Sciences is the University’s largest provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs), taking Penn knowledge to over 1.5 million learners around the world to date on the Coursera and edX platforms.