Curriculum & Advising


VIPER students complete a major in both SAS and SEAS (see this page for more details about major options) while taking courses focused on energy science and engineering. Total course units (CUs) for completion is a minimum of 46.

For VIPER freshmen entering Penn in Fall 2016, please see this curriculum guide.

The below schematic provides an overview of VIPER's curriculum:

SAS major and school requirements + SEAS major and school requirements + the following VIPER requirements:

  • Introduction to Energy Research (1 CU)

A seminar course that introduces students to current energy research topics, the challenges and techniques involved with conducting research, and strategies for reading and writing technical papers and research proposals. Students will also be paired with research mentors in this course.

  • VIPER Summer Research Experiences / Independent Study Research (up to 2 CUs - see attached policy)

In order to remain in the program, VIPER students must show consistent progress toward attaining both their SAS and SEAS degrees, while maintaining a GPA of 3.25 or higher in each school. Students may be dismissed from the program at the discretion of the program directors.


VIPER students work with their pre-major academic advisor, Dr. Kristen Hughes, as well as their major advisors in SAS and SEAS, to plan their courses of study. Contact Dr. Hughes ( or see the below attached curriculum documents for more information.

VIPER_Curriculum_Information_2013.pdf827.85 KB
VIPER_Curriculum_Information_Fall_2014_.pdf1.19 MB
VIPER_Curriculum_Information_Fall_2015.pdf1.71 MB
VIPER_Curriculum_Information_2016_.pdf3.2 MB