For Students
For Member Universities
Study Abroad Asia
Program Announcements from SAF Member Universities in Asia Learn more.
SAF Offices


University of Pennsylvania

Program Overview 

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Culture: Independent, innovation-driven
Neighborhood: Historic, urban
Housing: Off-campus apartment
English level: Beginner - advanced 

The aspirational goals of knowledge and innovation are as present now at the University of Pennsylvania as they were at its founding over 200 years ago. Internationally renowned for the Wharton School of Business, the University of Pennsylvania provides opportunities for students inside and out of the classroom. 

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, the campus provides urban conveniences to all students who study at Penn. Students take advantage of festivals, cultural opportunities, and sporting events that abound–  all the amenities that come with the sixth largest city in the country.

Philadelphia is a city brimming with history. Having played a key role in the American Revolution, the city continues to display its heritage through Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and a variety of museums. The city has easy access to other major metropolitan locations, making exploring other parts of the East Coast relatively easy.

Student Profile

SAF Scholars who desire both individualized support and an independent lifestyle would benefit from student life at Penn. The right-fit student would enjoy the attention and support of the instructors and staff at Penn while also the freedom that a large metropolitan city provides. Diversity is commonplace in UPenn language courses, making it the perfect environment for any student wishing to experiences new cultures.

Other Programs at University

University of Pennsylvania - Academic

Other Comparable Programs

Program Details

Program Dates by Term Availability

Fall (August – December)
Fall + Winter (August – March)
Academic Year (August – May)
Spring + Summer (March – August)
Spring + Summer + Fall (March – December)
Spring + Summer + Fall + Winter (March – March)

Program Strengths

SAF Scholars can join a diverse and supportive language-learning community within a world-renowned Ivy League institution. With their PennCard, students have access to the university’s resources and services.

Number of Classroom Hours Per Week

20 hours of classroom instruction per week.

Number of Levels

8 (Beginner to Advanced)
  • Beginner to Intermediate levels (100-500) students take two core courses that focus on developing listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary skills
  • High Intermediate levels (600-700) students take one all-skills core class and two elective courses focused on specific skills relevant to their language goals
  • Advanced level (800) students take four elective courses focused on specific skills relevant to their language goals.

Elective Courses Offered

There are over 25 elective options at the advanced level, so students can take multiple sessions and never repeat courses. Some electives that students can choose from include topics such as:
  • Speaking in the Working World
  • English for Engineering
  • Advanced Writing for Academic Purposes
  • University Application and Test Taking Preparation
  • English for Science
  • Professional Writing
  • Breakthrough Reading
  • Target Listening
  • Conversation Strategies
  • News in English

Progression or Concurrent Notes

There are no progression or concurrent options at Penn.

Housing Type

Off-campus apartment


SAF Scholars live in self-catered facilities and have access to their own kitchens. If a scholar would like to purchase a meal plan to eat at on-campus dining halls, it is possible to do so at the scholar’s own expense.

Type of Room

Single room with shared bath and kitch
Student Life

Co-/Extra-Curricular Opportunities or Programs

With over 650 organizations on campus, Penn’s extra-curricular life has something for SAF Scholar. The Conversation Partners Program is an incredibly popular opportunity to improve

one’s language ability outside of the classroom while also making new friends. Students often participate in volunteer activities, allowing them to interact with native speakers.

Life on Campus

There is always something to do on this urban campus. University lectures, club events and other university activities are commonplace. Through the multiple forms of public transportation, there is easy access to the Philadelphia nightlife as well as the numerous festivals and events that take place throughout the city in different neighborhoods.

Last Updated: 1/9/19