You are here

BFS in the College of Arts and Sciences

An immersive first-year experience

In their first year, students take an intensive year-long course called the Integrated Studies Program (ISP), which makes up half of the freshman curriculum.  The course sets out broad themes in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, and uses the multiple perspectives that different disciplines provide as a way to examine the underlying questions that make each of them tick.


All incoming freshmen admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences are invited to apply to ISP, with the exception of those already pursuing another specialized intensive program at Penn (Huntsman Program, University Scholars, Vagelos Scholars, etc.)  Applications are available after April 1 and are due on the same day as Penn’s enrollment confirmation is due (usually May 1). Incoming single-degree freshmen in the College should follow this link to apply. For more information on Integrated Studies, please contact ISP Associate Director Dr. Julio Tuma (215-898-4772).

Students not selected for BFS as incoming freshmen may apply after their freshman year.  Candidates may submit applications at any time; they will be read by the Faculty Admissions Committee after May 15th. Candidates will be notified by July 1.

Beyond the First Year

In order to graduate as a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, students in the College must:

  • graduate with a cumulative Penn GPA of at least 3.40;
  • complete at least 3 credit units (c.u.) of BFS Seminars for a letter grade (i.e., not Pass/Fail);
  • present research findings in a Ben Talk to a broad audience of their peers outside their department (see details on the Ben Talks requirement here);
  • and meet the additional requirements of The College of Arts and Sciences.