Admission to VIPER is highly competitive, as the size of each entering class is restricted to approximately 25 students. To initiate an application, students must complete Penn’s Application for Undergraduate Admission and select VIPER as their desired course of study.
As part of the application, students must submit a supplemental essay explaining the reasons for their interest in the program. For Penn's testing requirements, see this page. In addition to the stated requirements, please note that, for students applying to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, the core foundation for VIPER, Penn recommends two SAT subject tests, specifically Math Level 2 and a Science Subject Test.
For VIPER, a strong academic background in math and science is essential. Students are expected to enter the program with advanced standing in at least 3 science subjects including biology, chemistry, physics and/or calculus. Those who do not may need one or two additional semesters in the program in order to meet degree requirements.
In reviewing applications, the committee—consisting of admissions officers and the program directors—will be looking for a good fit between the applicant and the program. In particular, successful applicants will demonstrate high achievement in academic and co-curricular activities, clear aptitude for science and engineering, great interest in energy challenges, and strong potential for research innovation. The supplemental essay gives applicants the opportunity to discuss the nature and extent of their specific interest in VIPER.
Applicants may indicate on their application that they wish to be considered for admission to either the College or SEAS as a single degree candidate in the event that they are not selected for VIPER.
Students applying to Penn's VIPER Program have the option to apply through the binding Early Decision process. Students who rank VIPER as their number one choice should give careful consideration to this option. Students admitted to VIPER through the Early Decision process are bound to attend the VIPER Program. To submit your Early Decision application to VIPER, you will be prompted to complete the Early Decision Agreement in Penn's General section of the Common Application. It is possible to apply to VIPER during Early Decision without selecting a single degree choice as a back-up.
Prior to submitting your Early Decision application, you will be prompted to respond to the following question under Penn's Academics section of the Common Application: If we are unable to admit you as an Early Decision candidate to your primary program choice [i.e. VIPER], do you wish to be considered under the binding Early Decision agreement for your secondary school/program choice [i.e. your potential single degree]?
If you would like for both your VIPER admission and your potential single degree to be binding, select "Yes" from the dropdown that follows. If, instead, you would like your VIPER admission to be binding, but would like the single degree admission to be non-binding, select "No". By selecting "No", you are asking Penn Admissions to hold your single degree application until the Regular Decision process begins. If a student is admitted to their single degree choice at that time, the decision is non-binding.
Pictured above: Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, Penn Campus.
Photo credit: University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.