Semester Abroad Programs

Why go abroad? Read about the benefits on the Penn Abroad website.

Studying abroad fosters understanding of cultural differences and how to function effectively in a range of societies, and students often find their study abroad experience to be a defining moment in their educational and personal growth. Going abroad for a semester is an exceptional opportunity to learn a language, experience a different culture, discover new strengths, and gain a more sophisticated global view.

Students interested in studying abroad should begin planning at least one year in advance. Most students choose to go abroad as juniors.

Students have a number of program options, including Wharton-approved programs, where they can take business and liberal arts courses, and College-approved programs, where they can take courses that satisfy non-business requirements.

Requirements: Sophomore Spring Semester Study Abroad

Applicants must:

  • Have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Achieve a minimum 3.0 GPA for each of the two semesters (excluding summer) prior to the semester abroad
  • Not have a grade notation of I, II, I* (incomplete), NR (no grade reported), or GR on their transcript
  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing
  • Have completed (or waived) ECON 010 and Math 104
  • Have completed at least five Business Fundamentals, which must include the following:
    • MKTG 101 or MGMT 101
    • FNCE 100 or FNCE 101
    • STAT 101 (unless waived)
  • Meet any additional criteria outlined by Penn Abroad.

Requirements: Junior/Senior Fall or Spring Semester Study Abroad

Applicants must:

  • Have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Achieve a minimum 3.0 GPA for each of the two semesters (excluding summer) prior to the semester abroad
  • Not have a grade notation of I, II, I* (incomplete), NR (no grade reported), or GR on their transcript
  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing
  • Have completed all or most of the Business Fundamentals, depending on the program
  • Meet any additional criteria outlined by Penn Abroad.

Study Abroad Step by Step

  1. Discuss going abroad with your assigned advisor.
  2. Research program options on the Penn Abroad Passport system. You’ll want to consider the region, university profile and setting, types of classes available, course prerequisites, and student life.
  3. Review your Wharton requirements an identify which requirements you can fulfill with courses taken abroad. Please note the following:
      • Business fundamentals and concentrations requirements may not be taken abroad.
      • Most students fulfill business breadth, general education, cross-cultural perspectives, and unrestricted elective requirements.
  4. Attend a group advising session offered by Penn Abroad.
  5. Meet with the Wharton advisor for your intended study abroad region to review your academic plan and obtain academic-advisor approval.
  6. When course information becomes available for your program, submit potential courses to XCAT. Please note the following:
      • When submitting a course, you will need the course code, course name, description, and syllabus.
      • Either Wharton or the respective College department will review your request and determine whether it can receive Penn credit.
      • You should submit more courses than you ultimately plan to take.
  7. Confirm your abroad courses and where they will count towards your requirements by submitting the Study Abroad Course Confirmation Form (this form will be available in May 2021).
  8. Once you have submitted the form and confirmed your abroad courses, withdraw/delete any courses in XCAT you are not taking.

During the above process, please be sure to respond quickly to any request from your Wharton abroad advisor or Penn Abroad program manager.

Policies and Program Options

Please note the following policies:

  • All courses abroad must be taken for credit; you may take one class pass/fail as long as this is approved by a Wharton academic advisor at least five weeks before the course start date. Once the grades have been submitted via the External Course Approval Tool (XCAT), they will be calculated as part of the student’s cumulative GPA at Penn.
  • Business courses can only be taken at Wharton-approved study abroad programs.

Penn-approved study abroad opportunities include:

Students may also choose to participate in the Wharton International Program (WIP) or take a Global Modular Course (short-term, half-credit courses) or  Penn Global Seminar (intensive semester-long seminars combined with a short-term travel component led by the course instructor). Students also have the option to study abroad in a summer program that is not affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. Students interested in non-Penn programs should review the policy on transferring credit for these courses.