Penn Graduate Student Center

Graduate & Professional New Student Orientation

If you're an undergraduate new student, please visit the Undergraduate New Student Orientation website.

About Graduate & Professional New Student Orientation

The Graduate Student Center is here to make sure you experience a seamless transition to Penn. The Grad Center will also be your home base at Penn long after orientation is over. So become part of the community right away!

Penn offers several orientation programs for incoming graduate and professional students. Take advantage of

We know you'll be busy, so we've organized the Grad Center activities à la carte. Pick and choose what's most convenient for you!  And please invite your spouse/partner to Grad Center orientation activities!

Before You Arrive: Online Sessions 2015

Incoming students from anywhere in the world are encouraged to log on to participate in these online sessions in order to get critical information before they arrive on campus. These are live, interactive, web-based presentations with experts from Penn. Students will be able to ask questions and receive real-time answers during the presentations.

Presentations are offered multiple times so students can sign up for the most convenient session. All of these presentation times are scheduled in Eastern Daylight Time, please adjust for your time zone accordingly. 

Health Insurance Online Information Session
Show dates

Join us for this online information session to gain a better understanding of your health insurance options and immunization requirements at Penn. This session will discuss the University's Health Insurance and Immunization requirements, the process for fulfilling those requirements, how to select your health insurance and an overview of how to use your health insurance at Penn's Student Health Service. This session will be led by representatives from Penn Student Health Service and is strongly recommended for all incoming students! There will be plenty of time for Q&A, so come prepared to learn and ask lots of question!

This same session will be offered multiple times; register for the one most convenient for you. Please note that all times are Eastern Daylight Time. Please adjust accordingly for your time zone.  When you register, you will be asked for your PennCard number.  Please enter 00000000

Academic Success Online Session

Thursday, August 06, 2015, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Register in advance for login instructions

Learn about the academic standards at Penn and the resources we have to support you, so you can be successful in graduate school.  Note that this session is scheduled in Eastern Daylight Time.  Please adjust for your time zone accordingly.  When you register, you will be asked for your PennCard number.  Please enter 00000000.

Information Sessions 2015

Forerunner: Pre-departure Leadership Program For New Penn Students in Beijing
Show dates

Incoming students in China are invited to participate in Forerunner. This one-day program will provide you with many opportunities:

  • Meet other new Penn students, current students, Penn officials, and alumni.
  • Experience what a U.S. classroom is like.
  • Learn about the campus resources available to you.
  • Prepare for your journey at Penn!

The program, held at the Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing, will be offered on two dates: choose to attend on Saturday, July 11 OR Sunday, July 12, 2015.

Many students have already signed up. Space for interested participants is running out, so hurry! If you are interested, please complete this form:

If you have registered but cannot commit to the program, please email so we may open seats for others on the waiting list.

Learn more at:

Orientation Extravaganza

Sunday, August 23, 2015, 11:30 AM - 03:00 PM
Cohen Auditorium in Claudia Cohen Hall, 249 South 36th Street

Join us for this one-day extravaganza--orientation crammed into a single day! We'll start with lunch, and then we will cover Philly Fun, Transportation, Safety, and more! We will also raffle off prizes that are designed to help you enjoy all that Philly has to offer. Stick around for our "Get to 'Gnome' Penn" scavenger hunt and happy hour afterward!

Tours 2015

First Friday Tours
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Enjoy the sights and sounds of Philly on this walking tour of the city. This tour will highlight historical landmarks, public art, and famous sights in Philadelphia. The tours will conclude in Old City for the First Friday celebration. On the first Friday of every month the streets fill with art lovers of all kinds who wander among the neighborhood's many galleries, restaurants, and bars.


Campus Tours
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Take a guided walking tour of campus to get to know the many resources that Penn has to offer. The tour will provide an overview of important spots on campus, and will give you a glimpse into Penn's history.

Schuylkill River & Museum of Art Tour

Wednesday, August 19, 2015, 03:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Common Room Back (1st Floor)
We need volunteers - volunteer now!

Walk along the beautiful Schuylkill River, an oasis in urban Philadelphia, while learning about all of the public art along the trail. The tour will end at the Museum of Art, which offers "pay what you wish" entrance on Wednesday after 5:00 PM. You will be free to run the steps like Rocky, and/or explore the inside of the museum at your leisure.

Philly Foodie Tour (SIGN UP FOR ONE ONLY)
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Students can choose one of three tours: Baltimore Bites, Eating Good in the Gayborhood, and Cheesesteaks & Chinatown.

The Cheesesteaks & Chinatown tour will offer students a glimpse into Philadelphia's Chinatown. Students will see Chinatown's Friendship Gate and will have the opportunity to taste some of the city's best Philly cheesesteaks in Reading Terminal Market. If cheesesteaks aren't your thing, the market offers a diverse array of food options!

The Baltimore Bites tour will introduce students to some of the amazing dining options near the Penn campus along Baltimore Street. Some of these establishments include Little Baby's Ice Cream, Desi Village, Gojo, and Clark Park Farmer's Market. This area has an abundance of Indian cuisine, Ethiopian cuisine, and coffee houses, so if these interest you, this is your tour!

The Eating Good in the Gayborhood tour will take students on a walking tour of the Gayborhood, which houses some of the best restaurants in Philadelphia. These classy restaurants cater to everyone, and they represent diverse cuisines. Students will see Philly staples like Woodies, El Vez, Sampan, Zavino, and Lolita.

Welcome Events & Fun Stuff 2015

Gnome Hunt & Happy Hour

Sunday, August 23, 2015, 03:00 PM - 05:30 PM
Cohen Auditorium in Claudia Cohen Hall, 249 South 36th Street
We need volunteers - volunteer now!

Get to "gnome" Penn during this hilarious scavenger hunt! The Grad Center's garden gnomes have taken off...again! Help us find our gnomes around campus. Afterwards, enjoy an awards ceremony and happy hour! The gnomes want you to know that you have to participate in the scavenger hunt to attend the happy hour, and that you need to show your PennCard to participate.

Penn Grad Students Night at the Penn Museum Summer Concert Series

Wednesday, September 02, 2015, 05:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Stoner Courtyard Garden, 3260 South Street

Penn Museum’s popular outdoor Summer Night Concert Series has declared September 2 to be Penn Graduate Students Night!  This event will feature the music of Animus, an internationally acclaimed ensemble offering up an exciting fusion of ancient and modern music with traditional elements of Greek, rock, Middle Eastern, blues, Indian, jazz, and African music. The Museum’s Pepper Mill Café sells happy hour drinks and light fare outdoors, and the Museum galleries stay open to explore. Program moves indoors in the event of rain. Best of all: this event is free with your grad Penncard!

LAGAPSA Bienvenida

Friday, September 18, 2015, 06:00 PM - 07:30 PM
3615 Locust Walk
Registration start: Saturday, August 01, 2015

La Casa Latina, LAGAPSA, and the Graduate Student Center welcome new and returning Latino/a grad students. Please bring your PennCard to be admitted.

Wine & Cheese Reception for New & Returning African-American Graduate & Professional Students

Friday, September 25, 2015, 06:00 PM - 07:30 PM
Common Room Front (1st Floor), Common Room Back (1st Floor), Graduate Student Center, 3615 Locust Walk
Registration start: Saturday, August 01, 2015

BGAPSA, Makuu and the Graduate Student Center invite new and returning African-American graduate and professional students to attend this event. Please bring your PennCard to be admitted.

Common Room Hours

May 19 - TBD: CLOSED for Renovations

Graduate Student Center

3615 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104-6221