Penn LPS COVID-19 Update
LPS staff are not onsite, but we are still available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. by phone and online in case you need support: (215) 898-7326 or lps@sas.upenn.edu. Visit coronavirus.upenn.edu, the University's dedicated coronavirus COVID-19 web page, for the latest updates.
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Admissions and Eligibility

See yourself in the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences

Penn’s Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences is designed for students who have completed their undergraduate degree and professionals looking to bolster their careers in private and non-profit sectors. To fulfill the requirements for this degree program, you must complete nine course units (c.u.)* of on-campus study. Students can finish the coursework in one full-time academic year, using the summer to complete the capstone research project, or at a part-time flexible pace.

Our program is also an entry point for students who want to pursue a PhD or enter into business, medical or law schools. If you are already working and want to enhance your credentials or make a career change, we welcome you to bring your expertise into the classroom and grow with your peers. Future consultants, educators, policy-makers, community influencers, business analysts and more are made here.

After completing the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences, you join a global network of Penn alumni and leave with the tools to understand and influence behavior in your field and beyond. From humanitarian work in developing nations to helping your employees make better decisions, or working with urban communities in public health—the impact of behavioral and decision sciences casts a wide net of possibility.

What we’re looking for

Our Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach to evaluating applications. Along with a solid academic record, our program is looking for individuals who strive to make an impact in their chosen field through behavioral and decision sciences. We are seeking self-starters who will use their time at Penn to pursue internships, research opportunities and academic rigor beyond the classroom.

If you are a Penn undergraduate interested in this degree, we encourage you to contact your advisor to determine if you are eligible to submatriculate into the program. For students who have not taken the quantitative prerequisites for the master’s, Penn offers up to two summer courses in statistics and/or game theory/decision sciences to prepare them for admission.

Admissions requirements for the program reflect the high standards of the School of Arts & Sciences. Admissions criteria include:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA
  • TOEFL scores of at least 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT) or 600 (PBT) for international applicants (TOEFL scores are not required from international students who are attending or have attended English-speaking institutions or programs for their undergraduate or graduate degree)

COVID-19 and admissions reviews 

Recognizing the challenges of teaching, learning, and assessing academic performance during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Penn’s admissions committees for graduate and professional programs will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant. In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/Fail and other grading options during the period of COVID-19 disruptions. An applicant will not be adversely affected in the admissions process if their academic institution implemented a mandatory pass/fail (or similar) system for the term or if the applicant chose to participate in an optional pass/fail (or similar) system for the term. Penn’s longstanding commitment remains to admit graduate and professional student cohorts composed of outstanding individuals who demonstrate the resilience and aptitude to succeed in their academic pursuits.

Application deadlines

Admission Cycle Deadline
Fall 2021 February 1, 2021

Start your application now

Due to the high volume of applications received, we are unable to comment on a specific applicant’s status. We anticipate beginning to notify the first round of accepted applicants by the end of March 2021.

You may experience delays in the processing and review of your application due to the COVID-19 virus. We will work with any applicant who is missing documents due to testing delays and closings. Our team may be reached Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Please contact us if you have questions at (215) 746-6905 or lps-admissions@sas.upenn.edu.


*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

Program contacts

Our Associate Director can help you plan your path through the Master of Behavior and Decision Sciences degree.

Want to know more?

Join us on Tuesday, October 27 from 12 – 1 p.m. for a virtual information session to hear more about the program, curriculum, and application process.

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