Academic Life

Familiarize yourself with academic life at Penn

There is no central federal department that controls all aspects of higher education in the US. American universities and colleges have considerable autonomy in determining their academic procedures and policies. The granting of a degree does not normally involve national or state examinations.

  • Students and scholars unfamiliar with the US system may find many aspects of American education different from those in their home countries.

  • It is essential to familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures governing academic coursework and research at Penn as you will be responsible for complying with them.

  • Because academic life is the heart of the university, these policies and procedures are strictly enforced and respected among the university community.

See University Policies and Procedures for the information you need to know to interact successfully at Penn in both academic and non-academic situations.


Characteristics of Higher Education in the US and here at Penn

There are certain aspects of higher education here in the US and at Penn that may seem different to higher education in your home country. Familiarlize yourself with the following to better prepare yourself for academic life here.


Glossary of Academic Terms

We recommend that you take some time to review the relevant lingo provided below to help you better navigate the academic landscape here at Penn.