Penn Arts and Sciences

Interdisciplinary Scholarship

The Forum builds on Penn’s distinctive strengths in interdisciplinary research and intellectual collaboration.


Photo: College Hall (Steven Minicola)

Cutting-Edge Social Science

The Forum fosters innovative social scientific research on matters of public interest.


Photo: Paris Crowd (James Cridland)

Policy-Relevant Research

The Forum builds bridges across schools in order to focus scholarship on the most pressing issues of our time.


Photo: House Bill (Talk Radio News Service)

Shared Knowledge

The Forum addresses diverse audiences through workshops, public lectures, scholarly articles, and more.


Photo: SSPF Workshop (Lisa Godfrey)


The Penn Social Science and Policy Forum is the university hub for scholarly research on key social, economic, legal, and policy problems confronting the United States and the world, fostering cutting edge scholarship across the social sciences. It serves as a conduit to disseminate knowledge to diverse audiences through workshops, public lectures, annual conferences, working papers, and scholarly articles, and books (through a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Press). Forum events are available to a worldwide audience online. The Forum embodies Penn’s commitment to integrating knowledge across the university and Penn’s long history of supporting engaged scholarship in the public interest.

The Forum coordinates scholarship around annual themes, including the global economic crisis and immigration and citizenship. The Forum offers opportunities for substantive intellectual exchanges between scholars and supports both informal and formal teaching possibilities, and encourages interaction between scholars, students, policymakers, and citizens, both across and beyond the university.

The Forum supports research and teaching at all levels across the university by funding innovative courses in policy-relevant social science and providing faculty with support to bring policymakers to class to meet with undergraduates and graduate and professional students. It sponsors the Graduate SSPF, which holds workshops during the academic year for masters and doctoral candidates across disciplines. Each summer, talented pre-dissertation students from around the world are selected to participate in the SSPF Summer Institute on Inequality, led by some of the most prominent social scientists in the United States. And the Forum holds an international competition for annual postdoctoral fellowships at Penn.


The University of Pennyslvania has ranked fifth on USA Today's list of the best colleges for studying the social sciences, with the Social Science and Policy Forum cited as one reason for Penn's strength in this area.

The deadline for applying to this year's Summer Institute on Inequality is April 15.

2013-2014 Annual Report

2012-13 Annual Report

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