Penn has many resources available to help and support students. Some are listed below. If you cannot find what you need or if you see information that is listed incorrectly, please email the GCB coordinator

It's recommended that students also check out the comprehensive lists of resources provided by: Hub@Penn (has a searchable function), the Grad Center and Wellness at Penn.

  • I need help right away, it’s an emergency. 

  • Includes information on immediate confidential assistance. 

Immediate Assistance 

If you need immediate emergency assistance or to report a crime call 911.

To reach the Penn Police call (215) 573-3333 or 511 from any campus phone.

Immediate Confidential Assistance

For 24/7 confidential consultation with a health care provider or counselor, students may call Student Health Services at (215) 746-3535 orCounseling and Psychological Services at (215) 898-7021.


  • Academic resources/forms specific to GCB students.

For academic resources/forms specific to GCB students, please visit the following pages: 


  • Services/programs available to help students

What can this office help with?
The mission of the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Program Initiatives is to reduce harm related to alcohol and other drug use at the University of Pennsylvania.  Key efforts focus on education, prevention and confidential, non-judgmental brief interventions for both individual Penn students and student groups.

Getting help
This office has put together the following resources issues relating to alcohol and other drugs.


  • This form may be used to report incidents of bias involving Penn students, faculty, or staff.

What happens next?
Every effort will be made to evaluate your report promptly, however, the timing and manner in which Penn addresses the report will depend upon the information provided and whether you wish to remain anonymous. Penn does not guarantee it will respond to reports.

Is this form confidential?
You are not required to provide your name or contact information. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible. However, the information contained in this report will be shared with appropriate University officials involved in any subsequent monitoring, investigation, or resolution of the incident.


  • Confidential offices/groups that are not required to inform the AVP/Title IX Officer of incidents students share with them.

When students inform the resources below of incidents of sexual violence, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual harassment, these resources are not then required to inform the AVP/Title IX Officer.  


  • How to make an appointment
  • CAPS counselor for BGS
  • Support for international students
  • Let’s talk initiative

How do I make an appointment?
Call 215-898-7021 anytime (24/7) to make an appointment or talk with a licensed counselor. You will need your PennID number to make an appointment. 

More details on appointments here - 

Are the sessions confidential?
As mentioned on their website, CAPS strictly protects the confidentiality of information shared during sessions. There are exceptions which you can view here along with other important policies -

CAPS Counselor for BGS Students
Dr. Tiffany Brown is the embedded CAPS counselor for BGS. You may schedule appointments with her directly [] or by calling 215-898-7021 (press 2). 

Support for international students
Visit here for resources and programs available to international students. 

What is Let’s Talk?
Let’s Talk provides an easy access to informal consultations at different locations around campus for undergraduate and graduate UPenn students. No appointments are needed. It’s important to note that Let’s Talk is not a substitute for formal counseling or psychiatric care and does not constitute mental health treatment. However, counselors will listen closely to your concerns and provide insight, support, help you explore solutions and suggestions for resources.

Virtual Hours for Let’s talk. Use 215-898-7021, press 2, to schedule your Let’s Talk session.

Other resources provided by CAPS:
STTOP (Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention)
International student programs and resources
Career related services


  • Support for parents at Penn


  • Funding support for conferences and information regarding the reimbursement process

Support for conferences


  • BGS offers travel funds for BGS students to help offset the cost of conferences
  • Details (including necessary paperwork) here under “travel funds” 


Association of Women in Science-Philadelphia Student Travel Awards 

Reimbursement process for travel

  • We understand that paying up front for travel to conferences or meetings can be a hardship. Especially if it takes awhile for you to get reimbursed for these expenses. 
  • If you experience issues with receiving your reimbursements in a timely matter, please email the GCB coordinator.


  • This office provides support for international students and guidance on matters related to immigration, employment authorization, etc.
  • This office provides support for international students and guidance on matters related to immigration, employment authorization, etc.
  • BGS works closely with ISSS to ensure students obtain the necessary immigration documents to enter the US.
  • Information for new students
  • Information for current students


  • What to do if you need to request a leave of absence for personal, medical or family reasons.

It is sometimes necessary for a graduate student to request a leave of absence for personal or medical reasons.  The University allows graduate students to take leaves of absence with the permission of the graduate group chair and the graduate dean. Students must write to the graduate group requesting the leave; if the chair approves, the request will be forwarded to the graduate dean (i.e., the BGS Director) for approval. The main types of leave are medical, family, and paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child.

Under medical and unpaid family leaves, stipends are suspended during the leave period and are guaranteed upon return from leave under the conditions of the original award guarantee, i.e., as long as the student remains in good academic standing; students who wish to continue their health insurance coverage past the current cycle may arrange to do so through Student Health Services, and financial assistance for health insurance may be arranged through BGS. Note that students who have passed the candidacy exam may need to arrange fellowship support from a mentor in order to return; there is no guarantee that the original mentor will be able to provide financial support when the student returns from leave. Students receiving NIH NRSA support in the form of a training grant appointment or individual fellowship must also obtain permission for a leave from NIH.

Leaves of Absence for Medical Reasons

Students who wish to take a leave for medical reasons should submit a request to their graduate group chair, including the leave start date and anticipated return date. The student should consult with their lab advisor regarding the timing of the leave, if possible. The graduate group chair will forward the request to BGS, which will follow up with Student Health Services (SHS) and/or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to obtain a recommendation for the leave. Students who are being treated outside of SHS or CAPS should arrange for a letter from the treating professional(s) justifying the leave to be sent to SHS or CAPS.

Medical Contacts for Students on Leave

  • Student Health Services: Erika Gross

  • CAPS: Jane Kotler

Students on medical leave are expected to seek and follow the advice of the graduate group chair or his/her designate to remediate any work and to devise a course of study for re-enrollment. Students are also expected to make appropriate arrangements to continue any necessary treatment during the leave and to arrange for an appropriate support system. In order to return from medical leave, students should contact their graduate group chair, advisor, and BGS at least 60 days prior to the expected date of return. Students must also submit paperwork (links to forms below) and arrange for their treating professional(s) to provide documentation of treatment and progress to CAPS and/or SHS. Students may not return from leave until arrangements are approved by the graduate group to resume the course of study and until BGS approves the return, in consultation with SHS and/or CAPS.



Students may use this this form to request a leave of absence. Questions regarding the processes for leave approvals and returns from leave may be sent to the BGS Administrative Director, Judy Jackson.

Family Leave and New Parent Accommodation

University policy allows PhD students to take an unpaid Family Leave of Absence for the birth or adoption of a child, child care, or care of an immediate family member (spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent) with a serious health condition. PhD students who are eligible for up to 8 weeks of paid time off in association with the birth or adoption of a child; the process is managed by the Family Center.  Details for Family Leave and New Parent Accommodation are provided here.


  • How to get help - Includes info. on Safety, Medical, Support, how to report an incident.  
  • Resources for support, not only at Penn but in Philly.

Penn Violence Prevention (PVP) engages the Penn community in the prevention of sexual violence, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual harassment on campus. PVP works closely with a team of colleagues across campus to provide education and outreach. The staff also serve as confidential resources for students affected by sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking.

Get Help (Includes info. on Safety, Medical, Support, how to Report)
Resources (at Penn, in Philly, National groups, Online)

Penn Violence Prevention page has a very informative FAQ page that includes important information including:
What is Title IX?
Will it be confidential if I talk to a Penn staff or faculty member?


  • Collection of policies that relate to student life at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Pennbook is a collection of policies that relate to student life at the University of Pennsylvania. These policies govern academic activities such as grading and exams, provide guidance on the use of campus resources, and explain expectations for membership in the university community.


  • Emergency help line, walking escort services, training programs, etc.

Penn’s Division of Public Safety provides comprehensive safety initiatives, including:


  • What to do if you suspect research misconduct.

Although research misconduct is rare, it’s important to know the policies in case the issue arises in your lab. 

Details on Research Integrity

  • Overview of Penn’s policies. Important to review the pdf on the website to be sure that the allegation involves misconduct. 

Research misconduct involving a faculty member

  • Steps for reporting misconduct involving a faculty member
  • Includes detailed steps re: the process

Research misconduct involving non-faculty (students, lab members, postdocs, etc)

  • Steps for reporting misconduct involving non-faculty
  • Includes detailed steps re: the process


  • How to report sexual misconduct.
  • Penn’s sexual misconduct policies/procedures.

The University has established a wide range of policies, educational programs, resources, support, and reporting systems to respond to complaints of sexual misconduct made against students, postdoctoral or other trainees, faculty, and staff. Sexual harassment, sexual violence, and other forms of sexual misconduct will not be tolerated.

Penn’s Sexual Misconduct Policy

How do I report sexual misconduct?

In all cases where a member of the community, or other person, wishes to initiate a complaint against a member of the community (student, faculty, or staff) for sexual misconduct, the complaint should be brought to the Associate Vice President for Equity and Title IX Officer (“AVP”). The AVP will be responsible for determining the appropriate procedures to be followed and will be charged with overseeing the process.


  • Student Disabilities Services works closely with students who self-identify in order to ensure equal access to all University programs, activities and services.

Policies and procedures have been developed to provide students with as much independence as possible and to promote self-advocacy. Student Disabilities Services works closely with students who self-identify in order to ensure equal access to all University programs, activities and services.

How do I self-identify with the Office of Student Disabilities Services (SDS)?
Any student who has a disability or medical condition and wishes to self-identify, can complete a self-identification form by signing in to Penn’s MyWLRC Student Portal.  Submission of this form is the first step in the self-identification process. For step-by-step directions, visit the Documentation Guidelines page.

Any student who is requesting accommodations will also need to submit documentation of the disability and schedule meeting with an SDS staff member as part of the collaborative process in determining eligibility for accommodations. Students will be invited by email to schedule a meeting by using MyWLRC after the submission of the self-identification form.

How do I continue to use my approved accommodations throughout my time at Penn?

Once approved for accommodations, students must log in to MyWLRC and submit a semester request. It is recommended that students complete this process at the beginning of each semester. For detailed directions, visit the Current Students page.


  • Provides learning resources and helpful workshops.

Learning resources

  • Information on how to schedule an individual consultation to discuss study strategies and approaches to a variety of academic assignments and assessments.
  • Helpful resources for online learning
  • Time management
  • Exam help
  • Available study groups