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://cms.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://cms.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 laptop computer is required

    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 are collected, completed and mailed for you as long as a mailing address is provided. Some of these forms may need to be completed every year. Once you have matriculated, we will continue to complete these forms for you. Continuing students can email their forms to the School's Associate Director for Financial Aid.

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 make-up examination in the course unless the absence is owing to illness of the student, death of a relative, death of a pet within 24 hours of the scheduled exam, other family emergency, or another substantial reason satisfactory to the Executive Director of the Office for Students. The student is responsible for communicating with the Executive Director of the Office for Students regarding the absence from a scheduled exam. In the case of illness, student must provide the OFS with documentation from their health care provider.

     Excused absences include attendance at scientific meetings where the student is making a scholarly presentation, receiving an award, or is representing the Veterinary School in an officially approved capacity (e.g., SAVMA delegate, President of a national organization). Adequate documentation of the student’s role must be provided, and the student must submit a written request to the Executive Director of the Office for Students at least 4 weeks before the planned absence. In the case of planned excused absences, the student must take the exam before the regularly scheduled exam.

     Examples of exam postponements that are not acceptable are the following: illness of a pet, the wedding of a friend, and attending a conference (see exceptions to that in above paragraph).

    In the case of an emergency the student should contact the Executive Director of the Office for Students as soon as possible to discuss his/her absence and to arrange for a make-up test. A student may not return to any class until the re-exam has been taken. The Executive Director then notifies the Course Organizer.

How do I finance my Penn Vet education?

    • All students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) 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.
    • The Direct Loan is available 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 do not need any parental information for this loan.
    • The Direct GradPlus Loan is available to supplement the Direct Loan amount. This loan is based on credit-worthiness, but you do not need any parental 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.
    • The Health Professions Loan is also available; however, this loan is based on the income and assets of your parents. Regardless of your age or status, if you apply for the Health Professions Loan, 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. Once you have accepted a seat as a member of the incoming class, you will be invited to join a Facebook group created for your class where you may communicate with your classmates and current veterinary students regarding roommates and rental opportunities. 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 listserves and course listserves.

    For incoming students, the majority of the information you need will be sent by the Office for Students 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, and network connectivity throughout our campuses.

    You must 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.


    • Personal pets are prohibited from all areas of the Hill Pavilion, the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and the New Bolton Center campus. Pets are permitted in some areas of the Rosenthal and Quadrangle buildings. Dogs must be on leash with proper identification at all times in all public areas. This includes weekends and evenings.
    • 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 and be re-titers before entering their clinical year. 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 schedule.vet.upenn.edu. 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 for Students:

    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 for Students in October of the first year and are awarded in February. The number of students selected is dependent on the number of friends and alumni supporting this program. Generally, the program strives to support 10-12 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/compliance.php.


Do I need to purchase textbooks?

  • The Office for Students 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.