Questions About Student Life

Whom do I contact about an academic or physical accommodation?

  • If you need information about an academic or physical accommodation, the University’s Office of Students With Disabilities is available to speak with you. The School does not evaluate or approve these accommodations, but works in conjunction with the University to provide accommodations recommended by the Office of Students With Disabilities. Please see http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/lrc/sds/index.php.

I have questions about the admissions process...

  • Comprehensive information about Admissions can be found in the Admissions section of this site.

Do I need a car?

  • There is no public transportation to or from New Bolton Center, our large animal hospital facility located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania; however, students without cars often carpool with other students when they need to be at New Bolton Center. Students are required to be at New Bolton Center for varying amounts of time during all four years. Parking is difficult to find on Penn’s Philadelphia campus and expensive where available. The web site for parking is available at: http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/parking.

    Penn has a variety of free shuttle services that travel around campus and into the Center City area. The web site for Penn Transit is: http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/transportation.

What class requirements do I need to have as a first-year student?

    • A good quality stethoscope on the first day of class
    • A good quality microscope
    • Coveralls
    • Mid-calf rubber boots (Tingley Style 1400)
    • A dissection kit, a laboratory coat and surgical gloves
    • A relatively new laptop computer is strongly recommended

    Detailed information regarding these materials are sent to all incoming students.

Do you have student clubs?

  • There are many student clubs at the Veterinary School; these include lunch talks, trips, laboratories and speakers related to club interests. Whatever your specialty, there is a student club to meet your need.

Do you have counseling and psychological services?

  • The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers a wide range of services including: individual and group counseling and therapy, crisis intervention, structured workshops, psychological testing, medication reviews, and consultation. The Office is located on campus and the web site is available at: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/caps/


  • The Core portion of the curriculum extends over the first and second years, the fall of the third year and a portion of the fourth year with foundation clinical rotations. All students must complete this part of the program including successfully satisfying clinical competency requirements for their current class year.

    Elective courses are available through the entire four year curriculum; however, the majority of these courses are available in the third and fourth year. Students in their third year select an academic major: these include: Small Animal, Large Animal, Food Animal, Mixed (Small animal/Large animal), and Equine.

    Academic studies out of the School may earn credit towards graduation and each School department offers the opportunity for a limited number of students to participate in formal or informal research courses and Independent Study.

    Learn more about the Core and Elective Curriculum.

How do I defer my previous student loans?

  • At New Student Orientation, all forms to defer student loans will be collected, completed and mailed for you. Many of these forms will need to be completed every year. Once you have matriculated, we will continue to complete these forms for you. Continuing students bring their forms to the Office of Student and Curricular Affairs.

Do I have a Penn Vet email account?

  • Incoming students are provided with a special link to set up a personal Penn Vet e-mail account in early Summer.

What is the policy on taking/missing/making up exams?

  • Any student absent from a scheduled examination will not be permitted to take a substitute examination in the course unless the absence is owing to illness of the student, death of a relative, or to some other substantial reason satisfactory to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. The student should contact the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs prior to the examination for permission to be excused. In the case of an emergency the student should contact the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs as soon as possible to discuss his/her absence.

How do I finance my Penn Vet education?

    • All students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between January and June each year. You may view this at www.fafsa.ed.gov. A FAFSA must be completed and filed every year to receive Federal Loans, this includes the Direct Loan and the Direct GradPlus Loan.
    • Direct Loan ($40,500) each year for four years. Each student is guaranteed to receive this funding by completing the FAFSA on line and acceptance into veterinary school. You will receive $40,500 each year, during the four years of your veterinary education. You do not need any parent information for this loan.
    • Direct GradPlus Loan. This funding can be used if you need funding beyond the $40,500 Direct Loan. You do not need any parent information for this loan.
    • Students may borrow up to their educational budget: the budget for out of state students is higher than for in-state students to allow for the higher tuition paid by out of state students.
    • Perkins and Health Profession Loans are also available; however, this funding is based on the income and assets of your parents. Regardless of your age or status, if you apply for Perkins and/or Health Profession Loans, you must supply your parents’ tax information and complete the Penn Financial Aid Application Form.
    Learn more about your financial options...

Is there an honor code at the Veterinary School?

  • Penn Vet has a formal Honor Code Policy that every student must read and sign each year.


  • You may elect to live in University Housing (a dormitory) or you may live in a private apartment. Upon acceptance to the School, you will be given access to an Admissions Bulletin Board containing listings of current veterinary students seeking room-mates or seeking to rent apartments. The University also provides assistance through the Off-Campus Living Office: http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/offcampusservices/.

    Dormitory style living is available at no cost to senior students while on active clinical rotations at New Bolton Center, the School’s Large Animal Hospital Facility. This is not permanent housing, but because there is no public transportation to New Bolton Center, students on active clinical rotations may stay at the dormitory for the duration of their clinical rotation.

How do I receive information?

  • For current students, e-mail is the means of communication; students have individual @vet e-mail accounts, class listservs and course listservs.

    For incoming students, the majority of the information you need will be sent by the Office of Student and Curricular Affairs via e-mail, with the first e-mail sent in mid-May. We use the e-mail address you wrote on your New Student Data Form. We will often provide you with links where documents have been placed on our website. If paper mailings are necessary, these will be sent to the permanent address you wrote on your New Student Data Form.

Information Technology

  • The School’s IT group provides a wide range of technology services and technical support for the students, staff and faculty of the School. All PennVet students are provided with an e-mail account and class mailing list services, personal network storage, antivirus software, Web portal access to academic and administrative services, access to digital curriculum, Help Desk support, network connectivity throughout our campuses and access to computing lab facilities.

    You should be prepared to bring a newer model laptop computer to Class. Faculty do not provide paper copies of lecture handouts and students are encouraged to bring laptops to lectures (and lab, where appropriate). Lecture notes and handouts are posted electronically. The Computer Connection at the University of Pennsylvania has a storefront that sells computers at a considerable discount to students.

What if I am injured by an animal?

  • Students are not eligible for Occupational Health. If the injury occurs on the Philadelphia campus during normal working hours, students should go to Student Health at 3535 Market Street, Suite 100. After normal working hours, students should go to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Emergency Service. If the injury occurs at New Bolton Center, students should go to the closest available Hospital Emergency Room. Treatment costs are covered to the extent offered by the student’s individual health insurance provider. An Injury Report Form must be completed.


  • Course organizers/lecturers are asked to post all lecture notes, handouts, and PowerPoint presentations on Learn.Vet. Learn.vet is a centralized resource for finding course materials online and is the primary student/teaching/learning site. It has all courses with accompanying description, lecture/class notes and PowerPoint files, course evaluations, lecture audio services, resources for third and fourth year planning, Honor Code Policy, FAQ and a lot more. Only currently matriculated students have access to this site.

Do I need a microscope?

  • The use of a microscope for your first two years is mandatory. You will need a microscope on the first day of class. You may purchase a new microscope which meets our requirements; you may bring a current microscope to Orientation and we will determine if it meets our requirements; or you may rent a microscope from our selected on-site vendor.

What is Freshman Orientation?

  • Orientation for first year students takes place at the end of August over a three-day period. Orientation is mandatory for first year students.

What is a PennKey and password?

  • You will receive a letter from the University’s Information Systems and Computing (ISC) department regarding your PennKey and password after your new Student Data Form and Acceptance Deposit have been received and processed. It will provide you with your personalized Set Up Code which you must have to create your PennKey and password. Your PennKey and password are used by the University and the School for authentication to various online services which you will need to access before you matriculate and while you are a student at Penn. With your PennKey you will also have the opportunity to apply for your PennCard, which is your mandatory student identification card. You must have a PennKey and password to access the Penn Portal and Penn In Touch.

What is the Penn Portal and Penn in Touch?

  • The Penn Portal is a one-stop location that groups links to information for resources and services across campus. It also can display events, headlines, weather, class information, etc. The web resources and information for the portal tabs are grouped into what are called “channels.” Each tab has its own set of channels that contain the text, images, and links to other Penn web sites that pertain to the content or topic of that channel. The site is available at: http://medley.isc-seo.upenn.edu/penn_portal/view.php

    Penn InTouch is the University's secure online gateway for students to their academic, financial, profile and emergency contact information. We trust you will find the Penn InTouch system to be friendly, intuitive and informational, and that you use it frequently to stay in touch and keep your profile information up-to-date. You can access the following via Penn In Touch. The site is available at: https://medley.isc-seo.upenn.edu/pennInTouch/jsp/fast2.do?a=b&access=student&bhcp=1

    Academic Records: View your grades by term, see your full transcript and GPA, and order transcripts online using a credit card or charge to your student account.

    Student Billing Account: View monthly statements and new activity, and pay your bill online using Penn.Pay. Enroll in the Penn Monthly Budget Plan, and sign up for Direct Deposit of your student refunds to your bank account.

    Financial Aid: View information on how to apply for financial aid, the status of your application and any aid you may have been awarded.

    Student Loans: View information about federal and private loan programs, how to apply for them, the status of your loan application(s), and any activity related to your loan disbursements. Also view your cumulative borrowing history while at Penn.

    Profile, privacy & emergency: Update your addresses and your emergency contact information for use in the UPennAlert emergency notification system. You can also change your privacy preferences in order to authorize Penn to release academic and/or financial data to a parent, guardian, sponsor or other third party.


    • Pets are not permitted in any School classroom: This rule is strictly enforced in the Hill Building.
    • Pets are not permitted in the Ryan Veterinary Hospital, unless they have a medical appointment.
    • Pets are permitted in the Rosenthal Student Lounge after 5:00 pm.
    • Discounts are offered to students who have personal pets requiring veterinary care at either New Bolton Center or Ryan Hospital. This discount applies only to pets personally owned by, and living with, the student.

Do I need to have rabies vaccinations?

  • All first year students must be inoculated against rabies. There are no exceptions. If you have been vaccinated, we require proof of vaccination as well as a current rabies titer. If you have not been vaccinated, we schedule group appointments at the University’s Student Health Services to receive vaccinations in the early evening, after class. If you hold the health insurance plan offered by the University, these immunizations are covered under the plan and you will not need to pay out of pocket. If you have private health insurance you will be responsible for submitting a claim directly to your insurance carrier.

What about a rabies titer?

  • Students in their third year will have a blood draw scheduled for them as a group at Student Health. Students who have low titers are required to have boosters. There is no cost to the Student for the titer as long as they have their blood drawn during the scheduled group draw.

Campus Safety

  • The safety of all students is very important. The Office of Public Safety provides many types of services:http://www.publicsafety.upenn.edu

    Use common sense. Try not to walk alone or appear distracted by wearing headphones or talking on your cell phone. Being aware of your surroundings is an important factor when protecting your own safety. The below safety resources are also available for you to use as you work, study, play or visit Penn's campus.

    Blue Light Emergency Phones

    Trust your instincts. If something makes you uncomfortable or if you see a person displaying suspicious behavior, you can contact the Division of Public Safety from one of more than 200 blue light emergency phones on campus and in the surrounding community by picking up the receiver or pressing the button.

    Remember these emergency numbers:

    511 (on campus)
    215-573-3333 (off-campus)

    Be aware of your surroundings and proactively contact the Division of Public Safety if you notice a safety hazard. You can call our non-emergency line at 215-898-9441 or fill out the customer feedback form.

    Walking Escort Service (898-WALK)

    Walking escorts are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, between 43rd & 30th St. and Market St. to Baltimore Ave. Escorts are also available from 10:00am until 3:00am between 50th & 30th and Spring Garden St to Woodland Ave via the University’s partnership with the University District Ambassador Program.

    How to request a Walking Escort:

    Ask any Public Safety Officer on patrol or inside a building
    Call 215-898-WALK(9255) or 511 (from campus phone)
    Use one of the many building and blue-light ephones located on and off Penn's Campus.

    Riding Escort Service (898-RIDE)

    Penn Transit Services, 215-898-RIDE, operated by Penn's Division of Business Services, provides mobile escort services for all members of the Penn community, from 6pm - 3am daily (*on-call for emergencies, 3am-7am), operating within the following boundaries: 50th Street - 20th Street and Spring Garden Street to Woodland Avenue. A PennCard ID is required for use of these services.

    Residence Registration & Special Checks

    Register your residence for the Division of Public Safety’s Special Security Checks program if you plan to leave town for the holidays or semester break. Registering your residence enables the Penn Police and Penn Public Safety Officers to conduct daily checks on your residence during the length of the holiday or semester break.

How do I schedule a room at the school?

  • All current students may schedule a room for a student or club event via Inside. vet/Schedule.vet. There are guidelines regarding lunch talks and weekend events and students should read these guidelines carefully.

Are scholarships available?

  • School based scholarship funding is very limited and students finance their education primarily through loans.

    Recruitment Scholarships are offered to incoming students by the School’s Admissions Office. Information regarding these scholarships can be obtained at:  http://www.vet.upenn.edu/education/admissions/faqs


    The following Scholarships are available through the Office of Student and Curricular Affairs:

    Opportunity Scholarships in the amount of $12,000 ($3,000 per academic year) are awarded to first-year students based on academic merit, financial need and sponsor interests, regardless of state residency. Opportunity Scholarships foster scholarship support and mentoring opportunities by pairing a sponsor (or sponsors) with a single student for their entire four years. Applications for Opportunity Scholarships are accepted by The Office of Student Affairs during September and October of the first year and are awarded in January of the freshman year. The number of students selected is dependent on the number of friends and alumni supporting this program. Generally, the program strives to support 15 to 20 students per class.

    Scholarships offered by outside organizations and school-based scholarships are advertised to the entire student body as they are received.

What about student health services? Do I need student health insurance?

  • The mission of the Student Health Service is to promote the health and well being of students of the University of Pennsylvania.

    The Student Health Service provides quality health care that is accessible, affordable, culturally sensitive and student-focused. They are located on Penn’s Campus and appointments can be made by telephone as well as on-line at:http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/shs/index.php

Student Health History/Immunization Forms

  • The University of Pennsylvania requires all incoming students to be immunized against certain diseases and to submit this information to the Student Health Service Immunization Compliance Office. Information from Student Health Services regarding this compliance and submission of health forms (immunization record and medical history) is available at: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/shs

Student Health Insurance

  • All students are required to have health insurance and you may obtain health insurance through the University or you may elect to waive University insurance in lieu of private coverage. Not all private insurance is accepted at the University and private coverage does not guarantee acceptance. University Health Insurance Information and enrollment procedures are sent directly to you by the University during the summer.

    Additional information is available at: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/shs/insurance.php.

Do I need to purchase textbooks?

  • The Office of Student and Curricular Affairs provides students with recommendations for specific textbooks for each semester. Many textbooks are used as additional resources only, and all are available on reserve in the Library.