UPenn vs Brandeis: A Comprehensive Look at the Universities

July 11, 2023
By AdmissionSight
University students checking something in a notebook.

UPenn vs Brandeis: A Comprehensive Look at the Universities

In today’s world, choosing the perfect university can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it’s important to properly research and compare universities to ensure you make the best decision for your education. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at two leading universities, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) vs Brandeis University, to help you weigh up the pros and cons of both institutions.

Location and Campus: Differences between UPenn and Brandeis

One of the significant differences between UPenn and Brandeis is location. UPenn is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while Brandeis University is situated in Waltham, Massachusetts. UPenn’s campus is vast and spread out, with a mix of modern and historical buildings, while Brandeis’ campus is compact and known for its mid-century modernist architecture.

Both universities are situated in highly desirable locations, with access to major cities. Students at UPenn have easy access to Philadelphia’s vibrant cultural scene, while those at Brandeis are only a short distance away from Boston’s museums, restaurants, and sports stadiums.

Another difference between UPenn and Brandeis is the size of their student bodies. UPenn has a much larger student population, with over 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students, while Brandeis has a smaller student body of around 5,000 students.

This difference in size can impact the overall campus experience, with UPenn offering a wider range of academic programs and extracurricular activities, while Brandeis provides a more intimate and personalized learning environment.

Academic Programs Offered at UPenn and Brandeis

Both UPenn and Brandeis offer a wide range of academic programs. UPenn has a strong reputation for its business, dentistry, law, and medicine programs, while Brandeis is well-known for its liberal arts, research, and social sciences offerings.

UPenn offers over 100 graduate and undergraduate programs across 12 schools, including the renowned Wharton School of Business, which offers a top-ranked MBA program. Brandeis offers over 40 undergraduate majors and minors and more than 50 graduate programs across five schools, including its nationally recognized Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

In addition to their academic programs, both UPenn and Brandeis offer a variety of extracurricular activities and resources for students. UPenn has over 450 student organizations, including clubs for community service, cultural interests, and sports.

Brandeis has a strong focus on social justice and offers opportunities for students to get involved in activism and advocacy through its Social Justice and Social Policy Program. Both universities also have extensive libraries and research facilities, providing students with access to a wealth of information and resources to support their academic pursuits.

Faculty and Student Ratio: UPenn vs Brandeis

The faculty-student ratio at both universities is impressive, with smaller class sizes allowing for more personalized instruction. UPenn has a student-faculty ratio of 6:1, while Brandeis boasts a student-faculty ratio of 9:1.

Both universities have esteemed faculty members who are experts in their fields, with many holding prestigious awards and publications.

Group Of Students Working Together In Library With Teacher

However, there is another factor to consider when comparing the faculty and student ratio of these universities. While both universities have impressive ratios, UPenn has a larger student body compared to Brandeis. UPenn has a total enrollment of over 25,000 students, while Brandeis has a total enrollment of around 6,000 students.

This means that even though UPenn has a lower student-faculty ratio, there may still be more students per class compared to Brandeis. It’s important to take into account the overall size of the university when evaluating the faculty and student ratio.

Admissions Criteria: Comparing Acceptance Rates, GPA, and SAT Scores

The acceptance rates for both universities are incredibly competitive, with UPenn admitting approximately 9% of applicants and Brandeis admitting approximately 31% of applicants.

For the class of 2025, the average high school GPA for admitted UPenn students was 3.94, and the average SAT score was between 1440-1560 out of 1600. For admitted Brandeis students, the average high school GPA was 3.77, and the average SAT score was between 1350-1520 out of 1600.

Aside from academic achievements, both universities also consider extracurricular activities and community involvement in their admissions process. UPenn values leadership roles and community service, while Brandeis looks for students who have a passion for social justice and activism.

It is important to note that while these statistics provide insight into the admissions process, they do not guarantee acceptance. Admissions decisions are based on a holistic review of each applicant, taking into account their unique experiences and qualities.

Campus Life at UPenn vs Brandeis: Clubs, Sports, and Social Activities

UPenn and Brandeis both have active student life and offer a wide variety of clubs, sports, and social activities for students to participate in.

UPenn is known for its strong sports teams, with many Division I athletic teams and one of the oldest and most prestigious football programs in the country. Brandeis offers a diverse range of sports and clubs, with strong offerings in club and intramural sports.

Aside from sports and clubs, both UPenn and Brandeis have a vibrant social scene. UPenn has a bustling Greek life, with many fraternities and sororities on campus. Brandeis, on the other hand, has a more laid-back social scene, with a focus on community events and cultural activities.

Additionally, both universities offer a range of resources and support for students. UPenn has a robust career services center, with many opportunities for internships and job placements. Brandeis has a strong focus on social justice and activism, with many resources for students interested in community service and advocacy work.

Tuition and Financial Aid: UPenn vs Brandeis

Tuition fees for both universities are high, with UPenn being slightly more expensive based on tuition alone. However, both universities offer generous financial aid packages, including scholarships, grants, and work-study programs, to help offset the cost of tuition.

UPenn’s total cost of attendance for the 2020-2021 academic year was $78,416, with approximately 50% of students receiving financial aid. Brandeis’ total cost of attendance for the same academic year was $72,324, with approximately 70% of students receiving financial aid.

In addition to financial aid, both universities also offer various resources to help students manage their finances. UPenn has a financial wellness program that provides workshops and one-on-one counseling sessions to help students with budgeting, debt management, and financial planning. Brandeis has a student employment office that helps students find part-time jobs on campus to earn extra income.

Portrait of young nerdy student studying with textbooks and write quotations on a book

Another factor to consider when comparing the two universities is the availability of merit-based scholarships. UPenn offers a range of merit-based scholarships, including the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program and the University Scholars Program, which provide full-tuition scholarships and other benefits to high-achieving students.

Brandeis also offers merit-based scholarships, such as the Presidential Scholarship and the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship, which provide significant financial support to students who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership potential.

Career Opportunities for Graduates: UPenn vs Brandeis

Both universities have a strong reputation for producing successful graduates. UPenn has a high employment rate, with graduates being recruited by top companies in a variety of industries, including finance, consulting, technology, and healthcare.

Brandeis graduates also have a successful track record of finding employment, particularly in the social sciences and non-profit sectors.

Additionally, UPenn has a strong alumni network that provides graduates with valuable connections and networking opportunities. Many UPenn alumni hold influential positions in various industries and are willing to help fellow graduates in their career pursuits.

On the other hand, Brandeis offers a unique program called the Hiatt Career Center, which provides students with career counseling, job search assistance, and networking events. The center also offers internship and job opportunities exclusively for Brandeis students and graduates.

Research Facilities at the Universities: A Comparative Analysis

Both UPenn and Brandeis have world-class research facilities and are known for their significant contributions to scientific research. UPenn has a strong focus on biomedical research, with its School of Medicine consistently ranked amongst the best in the country.

Brandeis’ research focuses on the social sciences and humanities, with its research facilities including the world-class Volen National Center for Complex Systems.

Additionally, both universities have recently invested in new research facilities. UPenn has opened the Pennovation Center, a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship that provides state-of-the-art labs and equipment for startups and researchers. Brandeis has recently completed construction on the Sachar International Center, which houses research facilities for global studies and international relations.

Alumni Network of UPenn vs Brandeis University: Which is Stronger?

Both universities have a strong alumni network, with graduates from both institutions often going on to become successful individuals in their respective fields.

UPenn’s alumni network is particularly extensive, with renowned names such as Donald Trump, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffet amongst its notable graduates. Brandeis’ alumni network is also impressive, with graduates often going on to become leaders in the non-profit, government, and academic sectors.

Laughing indian female student with group of multi ethnic young adults outdoor

However, when it comes to the size of the alumni network, UPenn has a clear advantage. With over 300,000 alumni worldwide, UPenn’s network is one of the largest in the world. This extensive network provides graduates with a wide range of opportunities for networking, mentorship, and career advancement.

On the other hand, Brandeis University’s smaller alumni network has its own advantages. With a more tight-knit community, Brandeis alumni often have a stronger sense of connection and loyalty to their alma mater. This can lead to more personalized networking opportunities and a greater willingness to help fellow graduates in their career pursuits.

Student Diversity at the Universities: A Comprehensive Look

Diversity is an essential aspect of student life and is something that both universities strive to promote.

UPenn has a diverse student body, with approximately 50% of undergraduate students being students of color, and approximately 14% being international students. Brandeis is also known for its diverse student body, with approximately 44% of undergraduate students being students of color.

However, the two universities differ in terms of the types of diversity represented in their student bodies. UPenn has a higher percentage of African American and Hispanic/Latino students, while Brandeis has a higher percentage of Asian American and multiracial students. Additionally, UPenn has a larger population of LGBTQ+ students, with a dedicated center for LGBTQ+ students and allies on campus.


In conclusion, both UPenn and Brandeis University are excellent institutions that offer students a diverse range of academic programs and opportunities. When choosing between these two universities, students should consider their location, career aspirations, and personal preferences.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your individual needs and priorities, but by taking an in-depth look at both institutions, students can make an informed and thoughtful decision about their university education.

View of a female student holding her things.

It is important to note that both UPenn and Brandeis University have strong alumni networks that can provide valuable connections and resources for students after graduation.

UPenn has a large and active alumni community, with notable alumni including Elon Musk and Warren Buffett. Brandeis University also boasts a strong alumni network, with graduates working in fields such as law, medicine, and business. These networks can be a valuable asset for students as they navigate their post-graduation career paths.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what we offer.

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