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Credit: Biruk Tibebe

Penn students will no longer be able to transfer to Wharton or add a dual degree with the business school at the end of their sophomore year or later. 

Until this past spring, students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Nursing, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science were permitted to apply to transfer to or add a dual degree from the Wharton School at the end of freshman year, mid-sophomore year, or at the end of sophomore year. Now, however, students are only eligible to apply after completing two or three semesters at Penn — not four. 

For many students who planned on transferring or pursuing dual degrees, this policy shift, which was never formally announced, has made it nearly impossible. To apply to transfer or to add a Wharton degree, students are required to complete six courses first, including Math 104, introductory economics classes, and either Management 101 or Marketing 101. 

College sophomore Vraj Shroff said he had planned to apply for a dual degree in Wharton at the end of this year. He noted that he only learned about the change from an Engineering advisor, by which point he had already registered for courses. 

Now, he is convinced he will not be able to complete the required classes in time. 

“It seems pretty unfair that [Wharton] would make this change and not tell us until we register for our classes,” Shroff said. “I don’t think I have all the requirements to transfer now.” 

Specifically, Shroff said he was unable to get into Management 101, in which it is notoriously difficult for College students to enroll. Wharton prioritizes its students in getting seats in the course, only allowing other students to register for the remaining spots about one week before to the start of the semester. 

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College sophomore Vikas Bommineni, who is thinking of pursuing a Wharton dual degree in statistics, is also having trouble completing the course requirements. Bommineni said he originally heard about the policy change from friends after the start of the semester. Like Shroff, he said he had trouble scrambling to get into the required courses. 

Bommineni said he “actually offered to pay someone” for a spot in Management 101, adding he was ultimately able to enroll without shelling out money. Nonetheless, he said he knows a lot of people who were not able to secure a place in the class. 

Jonathan Katzenbach, managing director of the Wharton Undergraduate Division, confirmed this policy change in an email statement. Although it was never announced to students, the Wharton website was updated to reflect the changes.

Katzenbach said the change is intended to ensure students pursuing a Wharton degree would have time to experience various academic departments and explore their interests, which he said would be difficult to do in just two years.

“Our faculty expect the Leadership Journey to be followed sequentially over the course of four years,” he wrote, referring to the Wharton curriculum. “While the Leadership Journey courses can be worked into a three-year plan, condensing them into a two-year plan runs counter to the exploratory intent.” 

The policy shift, which was made for the current academic year, was never formally announced to students. It is unclear exactly how many students will be affected by the change, since Wharton releases very few statistics concerning the number of transfer and dual degree applicants and its acceptance rates. According to data from a University report, 86 percent of all College students pursuing dual degrees from 1998 to 2008 sought the second from Wharton. Among dual degree holders in Engineering over the same period, 71 percent had a Wharton degree. 

“Students are welcome to take advantage of the Wharton curriculum to the extent allowed by their home schools and course-specific enrollment guidelines," Katzenbach wrote in response to a question about the issues sophomores now face in seeking to transfer to Wharton. "There are also opportunities to pursue a minor in Statistics or a University Minor, many of which have a curricular connection to Wharton.”

Both Shroff and Bommineni said they would have preferred an announcement of the policy. 

“I just wish they’d been more transparent about it,” Bommineni said. 

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