The University of Pennsylvania, better known as UPenn or Penn, is the 8th school in the United States. Located in the cultural hotspot of Philadelphia, Penn is a private not-for-profit Ivy League school that offers degrees including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorates.

Penn, founded in 1740, is the fourth oldest institution of higher education in the country, the first university to offer undergraduate and graduate studies, a founding member of the Association of American Universities, and one of the original colonial schools. Lack of funds and different opinions plagued the school’s early days as a charity school.

Years later, in 1749, Benjamin Franklin and Trustees were concentrating on founding a new school. They located the building that had been erected in 1740 for the charity school and discovered it was a perfect location. While Franklin wished the school would concentrate on the arts and practical skills, he was overruled by fellow Trustees who wished for a more traditional education for the clergy. Over the course of the next 30 years, Penn went under several changes, finally taking the “university” name in 1779.

In addition to being one of the oldest schools in the country, the University of Pennsylvania also had a number of other notable “firsts” including the country’s first medical school, the first college school of business, first student union building, and the first university hospital. The American Medical Association was also founded at the school, which is home to the oldest psychology department.

Several United States and foreign leaders have graduated from Penn as well as eight signers of the Declaration of Independence and nine of the Constitution. Successful business men Elon Musk and Warren Buffet have graduated from Penn as did poet Ezra Pound. Over the years, the university has also produced nine Nobel Prize winners.

Benjamin Franklin continues to have an influence over the school through education and the coat of arms. Designed to resemble Franklin’s, it features a dolphin on a red chief. Penn’s motto is Leges sine moribus vanae, or Laws without morals are useless.

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Today, Penn sits in the heart of Philadelphia, with plenty of history on campus and the surrounding areas. 24,900 students enrol at Penn.

Campus Overview

  • Locale City: Large

  • Highest degree offered Doctor's degree

  • Academic calendar Semester

  • Religious affiliation Not applicable

Student Enrollment

Total Students
24,876
11,588 (46.6%)
13,288 (53.4%)
Undergraduate Students
11,588
Male 5,535
47.8%
Female 6,053
52.2%
Graduate Students
13,288
Male 6,032
45.4%
Female 7,256
54.6%


  • Campus Location

    34th & Spruce Street Philadelphia, PA 19104