The Benjamin Franklin Scholars are one of Penn’s most distinctive undergraduate communities.
Each year we welcome a group of extraordinary incoming students, committed to the transformative power of ideas. Benjamin Franklin Scholars are selected based on their interest in, and demonstrated capacity for, a deep engagement in the liberal arts and sciences, both as ends in themselves and as engines of change in the world. With unique course offerings, and under the guidance of extraordinary faculty and advisors, we encourage our students to pursue, in the spirit of Franklin himself, our guiding principles of breadth, curiosity, and a tinkering habit of mind.
We are a home for students who seek the advantages of wide-ranging knowledge, whatever particular educational path they choose. We look for spirited, independent people who find their own passions and are predisposed to explore their own ideas, wherever they might lead. We welcome restless minds who are not content just to appreciate great ideas as abstractions up on a shelf, but who see them as transformative; changing minds and so changing the world. We are a community of students and faculty who find value in the saying of the great classical writer Plutarch, from whom Franklin himself claims to have “read abundantly,” and see a truly great education as a kind of playing with fire.
BFS welcomes students in all the undergraduate schools: The College, Engineering, Wharton, and Nursing. Parts of the program, including admissions, work a bit differently in the different schools. For all our scholars, the BFS experience includes our Seminars – a set of enriching opportunities to work on challenging topics, without requiring extensive prerequisites, both inside and outside of their major fields of study.
In 2013 author Malcolm Gladwell visited the program to deliver the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Lecture. Have a look at his provocative lecture, in its entirety.
Please follow the links at left to learn more about what it means to be a Benjamin Franklin Scholar in your school.