Wellness & Engagement

Attending graduate school represents a commitment to personal and intellectual growth. We believe that health and well-being are key to building a solid foundation for academic and personal success. The Grad Center supports you in maintaining a healthy balance through out Graduate Life programming and encouraging you to explore the many wellness resources and opportunities available to help you Thrive at Penn.

Wellness at Penn

Get Involved | Campus & Community Engagement

Social wellness informs community building and ensures that individuals feel fully supported at the University.

The Family Resource Center is a hub for information, resources, activities, and advocacy for students with children. The Family Center's resources web page includes information on local daycare options.

The Graduate Student Center is the only space specifically dedicated to graduate and professional students. The Graduate Center offers free coffee and tea, rooms for reservation, and personal enrichment activities.

Student Communities and Groups 
The individual students, faculty, professional staff, and administrators at Penn contribute to a diverse and rich community. Explore our lists of graduate student activities and groups and learn more about student governance to find out how you can participate in the broader Penn community.  

University Life 
The Vice Provost for University (VPUL) programs and resources are intended to stimulate shared interactions and connections among students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members. See a list of Penn student activities and cultural centers that serve graduate students. 

Be sure to check out the Almanac's monthly "At Penn Calendar" for university-wide campus events! Many of these events are  open to the general public as well as to members of the University, so you can bring your partner or friends - or meet new ones! 

Learn more about ways to get involved on campus

See Campus Student Centers and Activities

Physical and Emotional Health

Penn strives to promote physical fitness and emotional balance so that students prioritize their health.

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) provides professional psychological and psychiatric services to students who are having personal problems involving social, emotional, academic, or career issues. They offer counseling sessions by phone, video conference, and in person. Students are encouraged to call in advance to schedule an appointment. Dial 215-898-7021 and press 2 to speak to the Front Desk (M-F, 9am-5pm) or you can press 1 to talk to a clinician 24/7. For more information, visit https://caps.wellness.upenn.edu/.

Student Health Service (SHS) provides an array of services, including primary care, initial and follow-up treatment for acute injuries and illnesses, care for chronic health problems, routine and travel immunizations, and an array of screening and preventative health services. SHS also coordinates outside medical care that students need.

SHS Primary Care  offers evaluation, initial treatment and follow-up care for acute injuries and illnesses, provides care for chronic health problems, selected prescription medications, administers routine and travel immunizations, provides screening and preventative health services, and coordinates outside medical care that students need. Appointments for gynecological and reproductive care, including contraception, preventive care, and testing, are available to Penn’s gender diverse community.

**All full-time graduate students paying the student clinical fee have access to SHS, including unlimited nursing and doctor visits. Other students may elect to pay the clinical fee in order to be seen.

Campus Health Initiatives is the public health branch of Student Health Services that seeks to improve health and well-being across campus through advocacy, education, programming, and action.

Penn Campus Recreation is Penn's fitness center offering group fitness classes, one-on-one instruction, intramural sports, and more! They also have a remote resource hub to help keep the Penn Community active and connected to favorite Philadelphia area studios, Penn Alumni, and more! You can also learn more about individual programs and schedule virtual consultations by visiting the Campus Recreation member portal

The Office of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Program Initiatives oversees critical areas of health and wellness that can challenge the academic success of Penn students. The office comprises alcohol policy initiatives, violence prevention, data collection, strategic project management, and (in a collaboration with Student Intervention Services) proactive crisis management.

Penn Dental Plan for Students offers an inexpensive dental plan, which includes coverage for cleanings, fillings, crowns, orthodontics, and Invisalign, for students. All students receive an additional discount in the Dental School clinic for routine services like cleanings. 

Reach-A-Peer Help Line is an anonymous peer-support service founded and run by Penn student volunteers. The phone number is 215-573-2RAP (2727).

Penn Violence Prevention aims to prevent sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking on campus, by ensuring students have access to resources, and by providing preventative education focused on building healthy relationships, understanding consent, and being an active bystander.

One call to the HELP LINE can assist you in finding personal and mental health support, 215-898-HELP.

PhD Insurance Grants and Family Grants. The University offers four grant programs for PhD students to help offset the cost of insurance and family care. These grants are funded by the Office of the Provost and administered by the Graduate Student Center, Family Resource Center, and the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services.  

Spiritual Wellness

Spiritual wellness grounds students in their beliefs, and often helps them identify meaning in their lives.

Office of the Chaplain 
The Chaplain is the administrative officer of the University responsible to the Provost for the oversight and coordination of religious activities on the campus. In addition to providing individual support and counseling, the Office serves and supports a wide range of student organizations and activities on campus, and develops programming designed to improve interfaith understanding and build relationships across religious difference.

The Office of the Chaplain also runs the Spiritual & Religious Life Center (SPARC) provides a home on campus for religious and spiritual students and groups. SPARC provides space for regular prayer (including daily Muslim prayer space), scripture study, and meditation sessions for individuals and groups.  

Anglican & Episcopal Students at Penn and St. Mary's, The Episcopal Church at Penn, include activities centered on the Episcopal Student Association and the liturgical service at St. Mary's Church.

Lubavitch House at Penn provides a warm and stimulating environment for all Jewish students regardless of background or affiliation.

Penn Newman Catholic Center is the Roman Catholic Church's presence on campus, serving the entire community at Penn.

Arts and Recreation

Arts at Penn
From the one-of-a-kind museums on campus to accomplished student performances in music, dance, and theater, culture and the arts play a leading role in life at Penn. Check out a list of cultural institutions at Penn or see a list of upcoming arts & culture events at Penn.

Penn's Department of Recreation offers intramural sports, 2 on-campus fitness facilities, informal recreation, 37 sports clubs, group exercise classes, personal training, massage therapy, and outdoor adventure trips. On-campus fitness facilities require a membership fee:

  • The Pottruck Center offers fitness space, an Olympic sized pool and co-ed sauna, Energy Zone Juice Bar, locker/shower facilities, and the membership services office.
  • The Fox Fitness Center features fitness space for cardio and strength training as well as Circuit Training classes led by certified Personal Trainers.
  • PennPark is 24 acres of continuous open space that includes athletic and recreational facilities.

The Class of 1923 Ice Rink is a 2,900-seat facility that hosts figure skating and hockey competitions, among other events.

James G. Kaskey Memorial Garden (Biopond) is a cultivated retreat that includes a pond and a wide variety of plants and animals.

Penn Athletics give students the opportunity to cheer for Quaker football, basketball, baseball, rowing, soccer, and more!

World Café Live features two unique music venues and hosts live WXPN radio broadcasts on occasion.

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, located in Chestnut Hill, is a historic public garden and educational institution that promotes an understanding of the relationship between people, plants, and place. Admission is free with your PennCard!

Learn more about Arts & Culture at Penn

See arts and recreational activities beyond campus on our Living in Philadelphia page. 

Help and Support

Penn is committed to maintaining a safe environment where students feel valued and secure. Visit our Safety and Campus Conduct page for information about campus safety and security, campus conduct and community values, and reporting concerns and incidents. 

Need Assistance?

The Graduate Student Center is here to help you navigate the many resources at the University. Any graduate or professional student experiencing an issue or unsure where to turn can contact us for guidance. Dr. Meredith Wooten, the Grad Center's director, is also available to meet with students individually by appointment. 

The University's HELP Line 215-898-HELP (4357) is a 24-hour-a-day phone number for members of the Penn community who are seeking time-sensitive help in navigating Penn’s resources for health and wellness.