2024 BGS Recruitment Visits - Guidelines for Applicants

We are looking forward to your visit! Below please find information about your travel arrangements, hotel stay, travel reimbursements, and Covid-related requirements.


Airline Tickets:

You may arrange travel through World Travel Inc., a Penn approved travel agency, to avoid paying for your airfare out of pocket and waiting for reimbursement.  You should contact World Travel at least 14 days in advance.

The World Travel Inc. contact information is as follows:

  • 1-888-641-9112 (Penn dedicated line)
  • Fax: 610-458-3981
  • Email: uofpenn@worldtravelinc.com

You should identify yourself as a BGS applicant, indicating your graduate group* and providing BGSFINANCE@LISTS.UPENN.EDU email address as the approver. This is critical, as the agency will then forward the itinerary to Finance for approval, which must occur before the tickets can be processed.

*Graduate groups:

  • Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics (BMB)
  • Cell & Molecular Biology (CAMB)
  • Epidemiology & Biostatistics (GGEB)
  • Genomics & Computational Biology (GCB)
  • Immunology (IGG)
  • Neuroscience (NGG)
  • Pharmacology (PGG)

When booking a reservation online or through an agent, please make reservations between Sunday night (for Monday approval and ticketing) and early Friday morning (for the close of Friday ticketing). This allows Finance to approve the travel reservation and the travel agent to finalize your travel during regular business hours. If you require a RUSH reservation later on a Friday during business hours, please get in touch with us to approve it before 3:30pm on Friday. World Travel agents will ask you for your personal credit card information. Your credit card will only be charged for costs associated with any changes once your ticket has been purchased or if you cancel the flight altogether.

AMTRAK Tickets:

To have Amtrak tickets purchased on your behalf please email the following information to the Finance Office staff member for your group:

BMB, CAMB, GCB Applicants: jennifer.lu@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

IGG. NGG, PGG Applicants: Sherita Blair at blairsh@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

GGEB Applicants: Regina Medlock at medlock@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

  • Travel dates: arrival and departure
  • Train number(s) for the round trip, arrival and departure time(s)
  • Name of city departing from and returning to
  • Cell Phone number
  • Working email address
  • Full name as spelled out on your passport or other ID
  • Date of birth

If you decide to change your ticket or cancel it altogether, you should let Tracey, Sherita, or Regina know before you cancel this with Amtrak. Any additional costs incurred by this action will be your responsibility.

Making Your Own Travel Arrangements


If you are going to make your own travel arrangements, then as always, please purchase tickets at least 7-14 days ahead of time to ensure that you get the cheapest available tickets.  Additional details regarding e-tickets etc. are in the reimbursement packets discussed next.  Please be reminded that BGS will reimburse for the cheapest and most practical mode of travel.  If you are personally purchasing your ticket and it will cost more than $500 for the round trip, you need to get clearance BEFORE purchasing the ticket; otherwise, full reimbursement is not guaranteed.  For permission of tickets costing more than $500, contact BGSFINANCE@LISTS.UPENN.EDU with your name, visit dates, city traveling from, and graduate group.

Examples of non-reimbursable travel:

  • Difference in cost between tickets purchased less than 14 days in advance of your trip and the cost of tickets purchased 14 or more days in advance
  • Cost of round-trip tickets in excess of $500 that are not approved In advance
  • Flying to Philadelphia from New York City or Washington DC
  • Taking a limo to get to the nearest airport, when less expensive options are available
  • First class or business class tickets and ticket upgrades
  • Additional expenses incurred due to changes in travel dates and/or times, unless weather related
  • Airport parking, if it is not long term or economy
  • More than one checked bag and any bags weighing more than 50 pounds
  • Special seating requests unless ADA related
Transportation to and from the Airport or Train Station using Cab/Lyft/Uber

Expenses incurred in the process of getting to and from your home base airport/train station will be reimbursed. You must attach the receipt from vendors, which clearly includes the following details:

  • Date of trip
  • Time of trip
  • Map with start and end point of the trip
  • Amount paid for the trip, including the tip
  • Names of other students and/or guests with you on this trip


You will be staying at the Sonesta Hotel.  Please be aware that you will be assigned to a double occupancy room according to gender. (NOTE: If you are concerned about the room assignment or are traveling with a companion, you will need to check in with your graduate group coordinator regarding arrangements.) The room cost is covered by BGS.  Incidentals, including phone calls/movies/room service/mini-bar/laundry, etc. will be directly billed to your credit card. Note that the hotel places a hold of $150 per day on each guest’s credit card to guarantee for incidentals. This hold is released in full upon checkout if no incidentals are used. The hotel provides complimentary internet access as well as access to computers/printers in their business center for printing out boarding passes.

Hotel parking:  

Applicants staying at the hotel can park at the garage associated with the hotel via valet parking located on Market Street between 19th and 18th Streets. At check-in, you should identify yourself as a BGS guest and let the front desk know that they parked your car in the garage and that it is to be billed to their room. Upon check-out, if your bill has parking charges, you should ask for Lauren Nicholes or Kelly Herbert to be contacted for the bill to be corrected.


The reimbursement packet includes all the forms you will need to be reimbursed for your travel related expenses, along with a cover note that explains how to fill out the forms and the rules regulating reimbursements at Penn.

Be sure to download the forms for your graduate group. Use of incorrect graduate group forms causes confusion and will delay your time to reimbursement.

BGS will not consider requests for meal reimbursements on the days that meals are provided for by the graduate group.

You will need to use the forms in the reimbursement packets (unfortunately, Penn’s Concur system is not available for applicants).

If you are a Non-US citizen, you will need to fill out additional paperwork.  Please note that payments to non-resident aliens for travel related expenses are generally subject to 30% federal income tax withholding in accordance with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. Such payments may be exempt from withholdings if a tax treaty exists with the country of citizenship of the non-resident alien. Tax treaties may provide for the exclusion of some or all of the payment from taxation. Non-resident alien students may exclude reimbursed travel expenses from gross income (without any withholding) if you:

  • Complete a W-9 (if the applicant has a US social security card) or a W-8 (for those who do not have a US social security card) and
  • Your paperwork is approved by the Corporate Tax office for processing

Note that your reimbursement check will be mailed to the address you provide.

Reimbursement Packets 
Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics (BMB)

US Students (link to packet pdf)
Non-US Students (link to packet pdf)

Immunology (IGG)

US Students (link to packet pdf)
Non-US Students (link to packet pdf)

Cell and Molecular Biology (CAMB)

US Students (link to packet pdf)
Non-US Students (link to packet pdf)

Neuroscience (NGG)

US Students (link to packet pdf)
Non-US Students (link to packet pdf)

Epidemiology and Biostatistics (GGEB)

US Students (link to packet pdf)
Non-US Students (link to packet pdf)

Pharmacology (PGG)

US Students (link to packet pdf)
Non-US Students (link to packet pdf)

Genomics and Computational Biology (GCB)

US Students (link to packet pdf)
Non-US Students (link to packet pdf)