curf - Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships



In Wharton

The Joseph Wharton Scholars and BFS seminars

Those students enrolled in the Wharton School who are selected for the Joseph Wharton Scholars Program are simultaneously designated Benjamin Franklin Scholars. Founded in 1988, the Joseph Wharton Scholars program was designed to emphasize the importance of breadth in the liberal arts and sciences within the framework of a business education. Students in the program take scholars courses in Wharton and in the College of Arts & Sciences, engage in a significant senior research project (waived if doing one for a joint or dual-degree program), maintain a 3.4 GPA, and participate in a variety of activities that are academic, career-oriented, and social in nature.


The liberal arts component of the JWS program emerges from our students’ engagement in BFS. All JWS/BFS students take a minimum of three Benjamin Franklin Seminars outside Wharton. The program also requires four scholars courses inside of Wharton. These four can be drawn from any BFS Seminar taught in Wharton (e.g., specified sections of LGST 101 and LGST 210) or from a variety of Wharton Scholars courses (e.g., specified sections of FNCE 100, FNCE 101, MKTG 101, MGMT 101, MKTG 476, STAT 430, STAT 431, WH 399). For a fuller description of these requirements see the Joseph Wharton Scholars page here. For students entering JWS during the second semester of their freshman year or during the sophomore year, the number of scholars courses inside Wharton is three rather than four. Otherwise, all requirements are identical.

The BFS Seminars

All BFS scholars, including JWS, take at least three BFS seminars during their time at Penn (four, for the class of 2014 and earlier). You may have semesters in which you take no BFS courses, and others in which you take more than one. The current record among alums is 15 BFS seminars by graduation; of course, there is no upper limit!

Most students find the Benjamin Franklin Seminars to be among their most interesting and intellectually stimulating experiences at Penn. They are pursued as part of the major, as fulfilling the liberal arts component of the JWS/BFS program, or as electives outside the major. They are small classes, usually fewer than 20 students, are designed to be intensive, and give students and faculty the chance to jointly pursue deeper discoveries through discussion and investigation. Many seminars do not have extensive prerequisites; others require some knowledge going in. We design these courses to foster connections to both your peers and to faculty with similar interests to your own. You can find information on the seminars in several places: this website, the Freshman Seminar booklet, and in the seminar section of the Course Timetable.


Students in Wharton are invited into the JWS/BFS program upon acceptance to the university. Students are identified based on a strong academic record and on a demonstrated predisposition think broadly. If you have been invited to the Joseph Wharton Scholars Program for next year’s incoming class, go to the Joseph Wharton Scholars page here to download the acceptance form.

Students already on campus who wish to apply to JWS/BFS (including internal-transfer and dual-degree applicants from the other colleges) should:

Apply for admission to the Benjamin Franklin Scholars program (see the application form here):

On-campus deadline is May 15.

After the BFS program application has been submitted, send an email indicating an interest in being considered for admission to the JWS program to the Director of Research and Scholars Programs, .

You may view more information about the JWS program here.

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