About

Why VIPER?

The Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) at the University of Pennsylvania is designed to prepare highly talented and motivated students to advance sustainable energy science and technology through interdisciplinary approaches and immersive experiences in cutting edge research, positioning them to become the next generation of energy leaders and innovators. 

Interdisciplinary Approach

We recognize that the world's energy solutions will come from interdisciplinary collaborations, and our students acquire a dual perspective in understanding both fundamental science and engineering applications by jointly pursuing dual degrees in science and engineering. Graduates of the VIPER program obtain a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in a science major from the  School of Arts and Sciences as well as a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) in an engineering major from the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Students have the ability to combine science and engineering majors that fit their interests to design a path that is right for them. For a list of current approved majors, please see here. In addition to the BA and BSE, some students may also choose to pursue minors and/or Accelerated Master's degrees during their time at Penn to enhance their education. 

Since VIPER students simultaneously pursue two degrees in science and engineering, they balance an intense course load with rigorous academic expectations. VIPER's Managing Director provides students with close, individualized academic advising throughout their four years at Penn. Students also receive academic advising from advisors in their school and majors as well as mentorship and guidance from VIPER's Faculty Co-Directors and their faculty research mentors.

Immersive Research Experiences

VIPER students receive instruction and state-of-the-art research experiences, enabling them to pursue advanced degrees in these fields and establish high-caliber research careers as innovators in the discovery and development of sustainable ways to harness, convert, and use energy.

VIPER begins with a common educational experience in the first year that includes a dedicated first year seminar  and an “on-ramp” to research that equips students to create new knowledge. As a centerpiece of VIPER, students rapidly get involved in energy-related research through paid summer internships, as well as a senior capstone experience.

The focus of the program is on the science and technology of alternative and efficient methods of production, conversion and use of energy. The program takes advantage of existing expertise and resources within SAS, SEAS and other schools. Students will find research opportunities in the laboratories of the University of Pennsylvania, and thereby contribute to Penn’s core initiatives in the area of science and technology solutions for sustainable energy.