Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions? Learn more about Penn Summer programs, tuition, and more by browsing the Frequently Asked Questions below.

If you don't find the answer to your question here, the Penn Summer team is available to help you explore your options. Contact us by email at or call (215) 898-7326.

Getting started

Summer Sessions are open to current Penn undergraduates, visiting undergraduate students from other institutions, international students who are already enrolled at an accredited US institution and plan to return for the fall semester, Penn employees, and any other adults who want to pursue college-level studies during the summer. Penn Alumni may also register for in Summer Sessions courses once enrolled in the Penn Alumni Program.

Penn Summer Global Institute and English Language Programs are open to international college students who are enrolled at a college or university not in the US.

Penn Summer High School Programs are open to high school students from anywhere in the world.

Penn Summer Sessions
If you are an undergraduate from another institution, a Penn employee, or a working professional or individual who is not currently enrolled in or employed by Penn, you can enroll in Penn Summer Sessions using our online application system. Although you must complete and submit the application form, you do not need to include transcripts, standardized test scores, or letters of recommendation. There is a non-refundable application fee of $50. For step-by-step instructions, visit the Summer Sessions Enrollment page.

Penn Summer High School Programs
Penn Summer High School Program applicants must have excellent writing skills and a minimum 3.3 GPA. To apply, you must complete the online application which includes one or more essays and letters of recommendation. Standardized test scores are not required. Non-native English speakers must submit a test score to verify English language proficiency unless they attend an English-medium school. There is a non-refundable application fee of $75. For more details and program-specific requirements, visit the Penn Summer High School Application page.

Penn Summer Global Institute
International students who apply to Penn Summer Global Institute must complete the online application which includes an essay, TOEFL/IELTS scores, transcripts with English translation and US equivalencies, and a letter of recommendation. There is a non-refundable application fee of $75.

English Language Programs
International students who wish to develop English skills in one of Penn’s English Language Programs should refer to individual programs for application requirements.

Course instructors indicate required course materials in the syllabi for individual courses. Some course materials are made available to students through Canvas, the University’s online learning platform. In addition, Penn Bookstore offers a range of options for purchasing course materials, including new, used, digital, and rental versions, depending on the textbook.

Courses and credits

Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

  • Penn Summer Sessions: 11-week term or accelerated 5.5-week terms 
  • Penn Summer Global Institute students can enroll in any of the 3 Summer Sessions
  • High school students in the Pre-College Program can enroll in Summer Session II, which is 5.5 weeks long
  • High school students in the Young Scholars Program can enroll in Summer Session I or II, which are 5.5 weeks long
  • High school students can also enroll in the 2-week Penn Summer Prep Program or 3-week Penn Summer Academies

Most courses are open to auditors on a space-available basis. Students can register for a course as an auditor through Path@Penn. In Penn Summer Sessions, an individual may request an instructor’s approval to enroll in a course as an auditor. An auditor is any individual officially enrolled in a course and not receiving a letter grade or credit. Auditors pay the same tuition and fees as students taking a course for credit.

Completing college-level courses in good standing and earning academic credit can give your undergraduate or graduate school application a competitive edge. However, taking Penn Summer courses does not guarantee admittance to a University of Pennsylvania undergraduate or graduate program. 

Upon successful completion of a course or program, you can request an official transcript from Penn’s Registrar (fee-based). Enrichment courses are not subject to credit or grading; however regular attendance and work are expected.

Please contact your advisor or the Penn Summer office about closed courses.

Students planning to transfer these grades to their future undergraduate record or institution should be aware that transfer credit is awarded at the discretion of the institution, including the University of Pennsylvania. If you are an undergraduate at an accredited US institution, consult with your home institution regarding transfer credit policies prior to enrolling in courses through Penn Summer. In many cases, the transfer credit evaluation process requires a review of the course syllabus.

When available, Penn Summer Sessions course pages link to the course syllabus. If you do not see a syllabus on the page for a course you wish to take, please contact us at to request it.

Tuition and fees

For detailed information about tuition and fees, please visit the specific page for the program or programs you are interested in.

When your student bill is ready to view, Penn will notify you at your University email address, and any other email addresses you listed on Penn.Pay. Penn.Pay is Penn’s online billing system through which you receive your student account bill. The bill includes charges for tuition, fees, room, board, and other expenses from a variety of Penn offices. To see billing dates for summer terms, consult the billing schedule for the current academic year.

When you study bill is ready to view in Penn.Pay, Penn’s online billing system, there are several ways to pay your bill.

  1. Online using TouchNet
  2. Online using a credit card
  3. By mail
  4. Wire transfer

For more details, visit the Student Registration and Financial Services site.

For visiting undergraduates interested in Penn Summer Sessions, financial aid may be available through your home institution. Current Penn students should contact Student Financial Services regarding financial aid for Summer Session courses. Undergraduates from other US colleges or universities interested in Penn Summer should contact their home institution regarding available financial aid options.

High school students who are Philadelphia residents and attend a School District of Philadelphia public or charter high school may be eligible to attend Penn Summer Prep or a Penn Summer Academy free of charge with a Penn Summer Scholarship.

If you are a full-time Penn employee, you may be able to take advantage of Penn’s tuition reimbursement benefits. Learn more about tuition benefits on Penn’s Human Resources website.

Penn Summer Sessions online courses

Online courses offered by Penn LPS Online and Penn Summer Sessions have robust course sites in Canvas, the University’s online learning platform. You will be added to your course site in Canvas and can log in with your PennKey and password. Once you are logged in to Canvas, click on “Courses” in the left-hand navigation to see the courses you are currently enrolled in. Course sites in Canvas open on the first day of class—if a course is grey you are enrolled but the course site is not yet published.

If the classes that most interest you are offered by Penn LPS Online, apply to that program as a course-taker instead of applying to Penn Summer Sessions.

Online courses offer many of the same benefits on-campus courses can offer. Using the tools provided by Canvas, the University's online learning platform, online students can participate in group discussions, chat one-on-one with professors and engage with course materials through text, audio, and video media. Although many online Summer Sessions courses include scheduled meetings facilitated by video conferencing, online courses do not require students to travel to campus to interact with their instructor and peers.

Most course activities can be performed in standard desktop or laptop web browsers; some activities can be performed on mobile devices. If you are taking an online course, we recommend that all operating systems, browsers, Flash, and other software be up-to-date before the start of each online class. Most courses use Canvas, Penn’s learning management platform, for assignments, discussion, and watching video; synchronous sessions can happen in a variety of platforms. Students will receive all important information before the beginning of class.