About

Why VIPER?

The Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) at the University of Pennsylvania is designed to prepare highly talented 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. By pursuing dual degrees in science and engineering, VIPER students acquire a dual perspective in understanding fundamental science as well as engineering applications. Graduates of the VIPER program obtain a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from the School of Arts and Sciences as well as a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) 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 a minor and/or Accelerated Master's degree during their time at Penn to enhance their educational experience. 

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 with a dedicated two-part seminar series that serves as an “on-ramp” to research that prepares students to embark on their journey into the laboratory. As a centerpiece of VIPER, students rapidly get involved in energy-related research starting with their first summer, continue to conduct research during their time at Penn, and conduct senior design projects in engineering. More information about VIPER research experiences can be found here. Additionally, a significant amount of support is provided for VIPER students conducting summer research at Penn. Click here for more information about summer research at Penn. 

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.