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The University Scholars (UScholars) program draws on the University of Pennsylvania’s unique resources as an exceptional international research institution in the liberal arts tradition to provide undergraduates with mentored opportunities for innovation, conversation, and collaboration within and across the disciplinary boundaries of their curiosity-based inquiries.

Through these opportunities, students develop the ability to conduct consequential independent research projects; to communicate their work’s premises, approaches, outcomes, and implications to both expert and non-expert audiences; and to participate in and contribute to professional settings within and beyond their specific fields of interest.

UScholars is premised on a definition of “research” in its broadest sense, which enables students to explore meaningful intellectual questions in all areas of study at Penn; to satisfy their curiosity through rigorous, evidence-based investigative methodologies; and to think critically about how their work is contextualized within broader scholarship as well as within the wider world. 



  • supports long-term, in-depth, original, independent, passion-driven undergraduate research;
  • cultivates diversity, including across subject areas, methodologies, and faculty and student participants; and
  • advances cross-disciplinarity, including the ability of students working within their own respective areas of burgeoning expertise to communicate and collaborate with others within and beyond their own disciplines. 


UScholars envisions a community of scholars committed to intellectual exploration in a spirit of curiosity, collaboration, and joy, who engage with research as a welcome encounter with the nuanced, ambiguous, unexpected, and unfamiliar as well as an enduring process of perseverance toward truth. 


The UScholars community values... 

Truth as an objective reality and goal that research seeks to know. Yet coming to know truth is not a straight and forward trajectory. Rather, it is an enduring process of discovery requiring perpetual responsiveness and adjustment – perseverance and a growth mindset – as any inquiry’s outcomes might differ from initial expectations. As such, research – the pursuit of truth – depends on the researcher’s integrity and ethical, responsible conduct, which aim, amid complex questions, unclear answers, and compelling motivations, to ensure accuracy in observation as well as respect for living participants. 

Accessibilityinclusion, diversity, equitycollaboration, and civility as necessary and intrinsic components in the research endeavor toward truth.  Research, with its challenges, setbacks, and provisional triumphs, is a grounding enterprise. No single perspective or effort can be sufficient or satisfactory when advancing the cause of human knowledge and enhanced understanding of the world.