The Graduate Division is home to students of varying backgrounds, races, ethnicities, nationalities, ages, abilities, and genders. The School of Arts & Sciences deeply values and strives to create an inclusive and dynamic learning community.

The Penn community draws strength from a diverse group faculty, students and staff that is committed to fostering access and equity in academia. We embrace the goal of inclusive excellence with the understanding that we must act definitively to create a culture that acknowledges and combats systemic racism. We are dedicated to preparing graduate students to meet the challenges of 21st century not only by providing a premier education but also by instilling the knowledge and tools to fashion a better society. Together, we aim to educate a new generation of scholars to become engaged global citizens as well as innovative scholars, researchers, and educators.

The Graduate Division and Penn provide resources and support for our diverse community of students. We recognize that students come to graduate school with different backgrounds, experiences, identities, and needs, and thus will need different types of support. We aim to support all students in their academic journeys.

Penn Diversity Policies

The University has established expectations for members of the University community to support the University's commitment to inclusive excellence.

Office for Social Equity and Community

As the newly appointed Vice President for Social Equity and Community, Charles "Chaz" Howard will lead programs and initiatives that promote and support communication, collaboration, research, and innovative programming within the Penn community that deepen awareness and help to advance the University’s mission of fostering social equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The SAS Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion supports all students, faculty, staff, post docs, and alumni in the School of Arts & Sciences. We support dialogue, inquiry, and programming that works toward creating inclusive and equitable practices to provide access to academic research environments and the pursuit of knowledge. We accomplish this through robust recruitment and retention practices, building and sustaining a caring and supportive community, and deepening knowledge as well as connection to one another.

Weingarten Learning Resources Center

The University of Pennsylvania welcomes students with disabilities and is committed to providing the same exceptional opportunities to all Penn students. Policies and procedures have been developed to provide students with as much independence as possible and to promote self-advocacy.

Penn Global

Penn Global is a resource for international students and can provide assistance on matters relating to visas, enrollment, travel, and more.

We engage in active recruitment of students from a variety of cultural and social backgrounds because we recognize that all fields of the arts and sciences are stronger and more innovative when they include people who bring different life experiences.

Leadership Alliance Mellon Initiative

The Leadership Alliance, founded at Brown University in 1992 as a partnership of 23 institutions, came together to develop underrepresented students into outstanding leaders and role models in academia, business and the public sector.

McNair Scholars

The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at 151 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential. The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society.

Mathematics Bridge to PhD

The Bridge fellowships, which provide an additional year of support in the Mathematics doctoral program, are designed to attract students from a variety of backgrounds and lived experiences and/or those who have had fewer opportunities to engage in advanced math instruction. By expanding the pool of talented individuals able to pursue mathematical training, the Bridge fellowships also work to broaden the parameters of the field. Recipients will be selected from students that we admit to our PhD program, and they will receive an extra year of funding to complete the degree so that they have extra time for training. During their first year in the PhD program, fellowship recipients will have an opportunity to take preliminary coursework as needed and they will be closely mentored to ensure they adjust to life as a PhD student at Penn. 

Before being admitted to our PhD program, fellowship candidates may be asked to participate in an online assessment to help us determine what preliminary coursework, if any, is needed. We may also request to discuss a candidate's application with them over Zoom. If you are interested in being considered for this fellowship, please indicate this on your application.

The Graduate Division encourages students to apply for fellowship support and will provide guidance whenever possible.

Fontaine Fellowships

Fontaine Fellowships support the academic development of PhD students whose background, research, and experiences demonstrate the interest and capacity to enhance a broadly diverse and inclusive learning community. The Fontaine Society was established in 1970 in honor of William Fontaine, Professor of Philosophy, the first African American appointed to the Standing Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

Penn Predoctoral Fellowships for Excellence Through Diversity

These awards are designed to provide mentorship and access to Penn’s resources for doctoral students in the humanities or social sciences, enrolled in graduate or professional programs at universities other than Penn, as they complete their dissertations. The Fellowships are intended to support scholars from a wide range of backgrounds, who can contribute to the diverse and inclusive culture of Penn and the higher education community.

Postdoctoral Fellowships for Academic Diversity

These competitive programs are intended to increase the diversity of the academic research community at the University of Pennsylvania and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Both organizations seek to attract promising researchers and educators from different backgrounds whose life experiences and perspectives, research experiences, and employment backgrounds will contribute significantly to their academic missions.

Student-run groups are intended to provide spaces of support for students from all backgrounds.

Black Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (BGAPSA)

The Black Graduate and Professional Student Assembly is a student organization committed to enhancing the quality of life for Black graduate and professional students and facilitating dialogue across the different graduate and professional groups.

Black Graduate Women's Association (BGWA)

The Black Graduate Women's Association was founded to promote black graduate women visibility on campus, and strengthen the relationships between black women graduate students from all disciplines. In addition, we are devoted to providing a space that fosters well-being, dialogue, scholarship, community, and leadership development in the lives of graduate women of the African Diaspora at the University of Pennsylvania and beyond. We are committed to celebrating the successes and addressing the needs, unique challenges, and lived experiences of Black women, as well as those salient to the Black experience.

Chinese Students and Scholars Association at Penn (CSSAP)

Chinese Students and Scholars Association at Penn aims to improve the mutual understanding and friendship among all Chinese students and scholars at Penn, to protect members' legal rights, to provide members with necessary services, and to contribute to the cultural diversity of the Penn community.

Ernest E. Just Biomedical Society

The Ernest E. Just Biomedical Society at the University of Pennsylvania aims to serve the general academic, social and professional needs of the biomedical community, with an emphasis on the retention of underrepresented PhD students.

Lambda Grads

Lambda Grads is the university-wide LGBTQ student organization, representing all LGBTQ graduate and professional students at the University of Pennsylvania. We work to cultivate an active and welcoming community for LGBTQ students and their allies. Recognizing the importance of inter-departmental relations among students, Lambda Grads fosters collaboration between the diverse LGBTQ graduate groups at Penn. We organize academic, social, and professional events in order to broaden and enrich the Penn LGBTQ graduate community. Our bimonthly board meetings are held at the LGBTC, and they are open to all members.

The Latin American Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (LAGAPSA)

The Latin American Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (LAGAPSA) shall enhance the quality of life for graduate and professional students of Latin American, Latino, and/or Hispanic descent at the University of Pennsylvania through a centralized, campus-wide organizational structure that addresses their academic, social, political, and cultural needs and concerns through programming, services, and advocacy.

Pan Asian American Graduate Student Association (PAAGSA)

PAAGSA seeks to improve the academic and social lives of Asian and Asian-American graduate and professional students at UPenn, and increase their awareness about Asian/Asian-American issues. Through our various social, academic, health and wellness, and service-related activities, we seek to establish connections between both international Asian and Asian-American students across the graduates and professional schools, thereby fostering a sense of community among the Pan-Asian population at Penn.

Penn Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (PGWISE)

PGWISE is a career development and outreach organization that works to correct the gender disparities in science by increasing the recruitment and retention of women into STEM fields. We use our passion for research to help foster an interest in science among girls early in their educational careers, while cultivating a community at Penn dedicated to facilitating the advancement of female graduate and post-doctoral trainees.

Rangoli - The Indian Association at Penn

Established in 2000, Rangoli is a University of Pennsylvania organization that was formed to prolong Indian culture and rekindle the spirit of various Indian traditions and festivals with verve and vigor. Rangoli is proud to embark upon its sixteenth year as it continues to be one of Penn's completely incorporated organizations. We are open to every member of Penn's community as we try to reach out to the various other cultural groups. Rangoli receives its funds from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, GAPSA.

Students Confronting Racism and White Privilege (SCRWP)

SCRWP exists to enhance the quality of life and provide a community for students wishing to promote racial diversity and advocate against racial injustice at the University of Pennsylvania. Through events such as screenings, comedy nights, symposia, and lectures, we provide a space to discuss race-related issues in ourselves, our school and our society. The only requirement is a desire to take an anti-racist stance in learning about race and whiteness, and a willingness to face discomfort, uncertainty, or anger in the process.

Penn provides a multitude of research spaces and centers that support me as a fiercely interdisciplinary graduate student traversing many conversations, but also as a person who lives in many communities.

Gwendalynn Roebke,
Ph.D. Student in Philosophy