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Jake Friedman and Mark Grenader are two students in Penn's M&T dual degree program.

Credit: Joy Lee

Demanding but engaging, Penn’s dual-degree programs offer students a chance to diveinto multiple interests during their undergraduate career.

Penn has six coordinated dual-degree programs. They include the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, which grants students degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School; the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management, also granting degrees from the College and Wharton and the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology, which grants students degrees from Wharton and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Wharton and Engineering freshman EJ Murphy, who is in the Jerome Fisher program — frequently referred to as M&T — likes that the program teaches students how to approach topics "from different angles.”

Students in M&T “master the technical and managerial skills needed to excel in modern technological society,” according to the Penn Admissions page. M&T, the oldest of all the dual-degree programs, accepts approximately 50 to 55 students each year, and has more than 1,900 alumni.

Murphy said learning about the same topics in different classes gave him new insight into the subjects.

“I learned about game theory in ECON 10 [in Wharton] and in NETS 112 [in Engineering] from different perspectives and for different applications,” Murphy said. “It painted a far more vivid picture.”

He said the workload is “manageable,” but that it was important to maintain a balance between Wharton and Engineering classes.

“For M&T, it’s important to keep this balance because engineering classes have a lot of weekly problem sets and quizzes while most Wharton classes won’t have heavy homework but will have a huge ramp up in workload around exams,” Murphy said.

The Vagelos LSM program is another popular dual-degree program.

Peter Stokes, the director of administration and advising for the LSM program, said the program accepts about 25 students each year.

The program also takes in a few students who apply to transfer in at the end of freshman year.

LSM senior Milan Savani said he appreciated the LSM program for allowing him to pursue multiple interests at Penn. Like Murphy, he highlighted that the program helped him to identify intersections between life sciences and business.

Savani added that the sense of community among LSM students is strong and that many LSM students spend their time in the LSM lounge in the Levin building.

Another advantage to the LSM program are the opportunities to interact with leaders in business and life sciences, Savani said.

He said his favorite moment of his senior year at Penn was giving a presentation to a group of distinguished people in the life science industry — including the CEO of Kite Pharmaceuticals.

The Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research is another double-degree program. Enrolled students spend four years engaging with issues related to energy while working towards degrees in the College and Engineering.

Managing director of VIPER Kristen Hughes said students are required to conduct research every summer as part of the program. She said there are 48 undergraduate students in the program, 25 percent of whom are women.

College and Engineering senior and VIPER student William Zhou majored in physics in the College and materials science in Engineering.

“VIPER was a really good experience because it exposed me to both the science and the engineering aspects of not only energy technology, but technology in general,” Zhou said. “I think it’s a good combination.”