PennDesign is an inventive place of learning where the many fields of architecture, planning, preservation, landscape and the fine arts come together on shared ground. At PennDesign, we are dedicated to design that is creative in nature and transformative in impact. In a collaborative environment that fosters inquiry and experimentation, faculty and students seek to recast the distinction between theory and practice, expand knowledge and invention through research, and contribute works of value and beauty.

Formerly the Graduate School of Fine Arts, in fall 2003, the School officially became the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Our new name—familiarly PennDesign—describes what we are now, a single school, within a great university, dedicated to promoting excellence in design across a rich diversity of programs—Architecture, City Planning, Landscape Architecture, Fine Arts, Historic Preservation, Digital Media Design and Visual Studies.

The change in our name underscores our belief in the centrality of design to all aspects of creativity. A dual challenge is offered to our students: explore a broad range of possibilities through both practice and theory. Students at PennDesign seek the critical balance between art and practicality, the why and the how, the left brain and the right.

As our students and their work impact our global environment through the making of thoughtful places and objects, our new name celebrates the future of PennDesign as a leading center for design education and practice in the 21st century and beyond.

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Penn & Philadelphia

Located in the second largest city in the eastern U.S.—and one of the easiest to negotiate—PennDesign is situated near the heart of the Boston-Washington, D.C. corridor, immediately across the Schuylkill River from downtown Philadelphia.


Professional degree program accreditation.


Learn about the research organizations conducting work in the graduate disciplines at PennDesign.

Resources at the School

Links to facilities and resources at the University.

History of the School

Architectural courses were first offered at the University in 1868, making this the second oldest architecture program in the U.S.  

Certificate & Dual Degree programs

PennDesign offers a multitude of interdisciplinary programs including dual degree options and certificates.


School-wide publications