Transfer Policies

Internal Transfers

VIPER may consider a limited number of transfer applications each year from current Penn freshmen. However, transfers are possible only as space allows. Students interested in VIPER, therefore, are strongly advised to apply to the program for freshman admission.

Applications to transfer to a dual degree program cannot be considered until after the freshman year. However, the VIPER seminar (VIPER120 and VIPR121) begins in the spring of the freshman year. Therefore, in order to apply to transfer to this program, students must first apply for permission to enroll in the first half of the VIPER freshman seminar, taken in the spring of the freshman year (VIPR120). If given permission to enroll in the course, and after successful completion of VIPR120, admission into VIPER and becoming a dual degree student of both SAS and SEAS will be considered in time for the student's sophomore year.

In order to be considered for a permit for the seminar course, students should send Dr. Kristen Hughes ( a 500-word essay (see prompt below) and a four-year course plan by the end of the fall term of their freshman year.

Essay Prompt: Describe your interests in energy science and technology and your previous experiences (academic, research, and extracurricular activities) that have helped you to appreciate the scientific or engineering challenges related to energy and sustainability. If you have previous experience with research, consider describing your research project at a level appropriate for an educated non-expert, outlining the goals, hypotheses, approach, results, and conclusions. Describe how your experiences have shaped your research, career goals, and interests.

Students should understand that should they be granted a permit to take the VIPR120 seminar, this is only a preliminary acceptance, and that full acceptance as a dual degree student in the VIPER program will not be considered until the completion of the freshmen year and will depend on the students' grades, acceptance into SEAS/SAS, adequate forward progress toward the successful completion of a dual BSE/BA degree, fit with the VIPER program, and successful completion of VIPR120. Students should acquaint themselves with the VIPER curriculum before applying.

Note:  VIPER students (and any Penn students who seek admission to VIPER by internal transfer application), for any introductory series Physics courses taken at Penn, must take a calculus-based Physics sequence with the labs, that is, PHYS-150/151 or (if they are eligible) PHYS-170/171, not PHYS-140/141 etc.

External Transfers

The VIPER program cannot admit students who already have started their undergraduate education at another college or university.