disciplinary perspectives. Still others will combine disciplinary study with community service or activism, constructively and reflectively connecting the theoretical with the actual.
Free Electives
Free electives provide students with the freedom to explore new fields of knowledge, to take additional work in the field of their special interest or to study further with a particular instructor. Above all, they provide the breadth associated with a liberal education, just as the major program provides depth.
The Major
A major program offers the student an opportunity to explore in depth the methodology and goals of a given field. It provides a focus for the student’s intellectual interests, and it may well constitute a building block for a career or for entry into graduate or professional school. Great care should be taken in choosing a major. Students are strongly advised to seek the help of their academic advisors and of individual faculty members in making this choice. Most major programs consist of major courses and major-related courses. The latter are courses taken in other departments or programs that have a bearing on the major in question and count as major courses.
Major specialization is offered by departments of instruction or by interdepartmental committees in the following fields:
African Studies
Africana Studies
Biological Basis of Behavior
Cinema Studies
Classical Studies
Cognitive Science
Comparative Literature
East Asian Area Studies
East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Environmental Studies
Fine Arts
French Studies
Germanic Languages and Literatures
Health and Societies
Hispanic Studies
History of Art
Individualized Major
International Relations
Italian Studies
Jewish Studies
Latin American and Latino Studies
Logic, Information and Computation
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
 Humanistic Philosophy
 Philosophy and Science
Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Physics and Astronomy
Political Science
Religious Studies
Romance Languages
Science, Technology and Society
Slavic Languages and Literatures
South Asia Studies
Theatre Arts
Urban Studies
Visual Studies
Women’s Studies  
Further information about College majors can be found in “Programs of Study,” beginning on page 19 of this publication.
Academic Advising
College students need to choose courses, declare a major and define career goals. They will need to examine their performance in different courses, identify their skills and those they wish to develop and decide what really matters to them. Much of this assessment they will do themselves, but faculty members, College advisors, career counselors and peers can help.
Each incoming student is assigned a pre-major advisor who is a member of either the School of Arts and Sciences faculty or the professional staff. This advisor works with the student throughout his or her first two years at Penn to assist in planning courses each semester and in planning the overall program.
When a student has declared a major, he or she will be assigned an advisor from that department but is also encouraged to keep in contact with the assigned pre-major advisor and/or an assistant dean.
Students will benefit most from advising if they are active and informed participants in the process and learn to take an ever-increasing level of