Benjamin Franklin Scholars: Integrated Studies Program

Deeply rooted in the liberal arts tradition, this is a residential academic program designed for highly-motivated students.

The Integrated Studies Program (ISP) provides the heart of the College freshman’s Benjamin Franklin Scholars experience. It is a rich introduction to the power of ideas in an innovative pair of double-credit courses, Integrated Studies 001, taught in the fall of the freshman year, and Integrated Studies 002 in the spring, which make up half of the typical course credits that Penn freshmen take. These courses fulfill a portion of the College’s General Education requirements, and provide a large piece of the solid foundation needed for any major area of study. In the spirit of great civilizations courses, these offerings explore powerful ideas over the common ground of the liberal arts. Further, following the model of Franklin himself, they range more widely than an exploration of this or that canon of texts. Integrated Studies brings together the humanities, social sciences, and sciences in a coordinated set of explorations around the great ideas that continue to drive our understanding of the world and the human place in it.

Each semester’s ISP course is comprised of three concurrent lecture-based streams, one each in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. None presumes specialized knowledge, and each is tailored to speak to talented students of all backgrounds and intellectual dispositions. Within the streams, faculty experts guide students through an introduction to a discipline’s content and habits of mind — whether that be English, anthropology, biology, classical studies, or history— but also steer the course to converge toward weekly Big Questions shared by all the streams. These form the basis for wide-ranging weekly discussions that are built into the course.

Integrated Studies is a residentially-based program. All students live together during the freshman year in Riepe College House in the Quad, and some parts of ISP are taught in house. All College students are encouraged to apply.

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