Special Courses
Freshman Seminars
The Freshman Seminar Program offers small classes designed to bring freshmen from all schools of the University into close contact with scholars and teachers from a wide range of disciplines. Each year, nearly 100 seminars are offered, assuring that a seminar is available to every freshman who wants to take one. Enrollment is limited to 20 students per seminar and sometimes fewer. The program sponsors offerings in such traditional disciplines as English and history, as well as interdisciplinary seminars in fields like health and archaeology.
Critical Writing Seminars
Various departments in the School of Arts and Sciences offer critical writing seminars. Each writing seminar is based in a discipline, exploring current topics and debates in its field as well as the writing styles and conventions of the discipline. One critical writing seminar will satisfy the College’s Writing Requirement.
Communication Within the Curriculum (CWiC)
CWiC supports a range of courses for students interested in oral communication and developing their speaking abilities. All CWiC-affiliated classes are regular departmental courses, but with an emphasis on speaking. CWiC has affiliations with an array of classes to offer students the opportunity to improve their speaking through a variety of disciplines. CWiC also sponsors more speaking-intensive courses, including Speaking About seminars, CWiC seminars and Classical Studies 135, which takes oral argument as its subject. For current course listings, please see the website.
Academically Based Community Service Courses
Supported by the Center for Community Partnerships, Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) courses involve hands-on, real-world problem solving and help students become active, participating citizens of a democratic society. Through their work with West Philadelphia public schools, communities of faith and community organizations, ABCS faculty and students work to solve critical community issues in a variety of areas, such as the environment, health, arts and education. ABCS is rooted in and intrinsically linked to teaching and research and promotes student and faculty reflection on the service experience. ABCS is committed to linking theory and practice through activities that make a significant difference in the community of West Philadelphia and at Penn.
Over 150 ABCS courses from diverse schools and disciplines across the University have engaged in work in West Philadelphia through the Center for Community Partnerships. During the 2004-2005 academic year, 2,118 ABCS students were involved in 46 undergraduate courses across 19 departments and 16 graduate courses involving eight of the professional schools. Please see the website for a complete listing of ABCS courses.
Benjamin Franklin Seminars
These small courses are in-depth seminars with a heavy focus on class discussions, readings from primary sources and paper writing. Students who are members of the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program are especially urged to take these seminars; however, any undergraduate may enroll. Approximately 30 seminars are offered each semester. While most are taught by faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences, courses are also offered by faculty from the other schools, including Wharton, Medicine, Nursing and Engineering. For a current list, please see the website. The Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program is part of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF).
College 99
College 99 is a course designation that permits a student in the College to undertake independent study with a faculty member of the University outside of the School of Arts and Sciences. A student may consider taking a College 99 if preparatory course work has already been done and if his or her interests cannot be accommodated through regular or independent study within a department in the School of Arts and Sciences.
Courses in the College of General Studies
The University’s College of General Studies (CGS) is a division of the School of Arts and Sciences. CGS administers Penn’s programs for adult and part-time students. Full-time undergraduates may take late-afternoon, evening and Saturday courses through CGS. In some cases, students may register for CGS courses to fulfill specific degree requirements. Students are advised to discuss their course registration options with their advisor prior to registering.
In Addition to the B.A.
Dual Degree
Penn undergraduates have the opportunity to receive two bachelor’s degrees simultaneously by completing the requirements of the College along with those of one of the