Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management

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The Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management, commonly abbreviated as LSM, is a 4-year dual-degree undergraduate program of the School of Arts & Sciences and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Students of the program graduate with both a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School as well as a B.A. from the College of Arts & Sciences in a life sciences field of their choosing. Although not very common, there are LSM students who earn their degrees in 5 years.

LSM was originally proposed and funded by former Merck & Co. CEO P. Roy Vagelos. Each year, the program enrolls around 25 freshmen and offers them an opportunity to combine coursework in both management and the life sciences in preparation for careers in for-profit and non-profit organizations in the life sciences sector. This sector includes the chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries and organizations with innovative activities in animal health, agriculture, genetic, and biochemical research and development, the practice of medicine, and the implementation of other aspects of human health and welfare.


LSM enrolled its inaugural class in the fall of 2006 with the 2010 graduating class.

Before July 2008, LSM was a joint program that allowed students to pursue either the B.A. or B.S. in Economics in the life sciences track and management track, respectively. Students of the program admitted while this system was in use (the classes of 2010, 2011, and 2012) still have the option to pursue one of the track or the new dual degree option. The class of 2013 and beyond, however, will have to pursue the dual degree option.

Program Leadership[edit]

Advisory Board[edit]

The LSM Advisory Board is composed of 20 leaders in relevant industries and including medical experts and corporate executives. Dr. Roy Vagelos sits as an honorary member of the Advisory Board. Members of the board visit LSM students approximately each year.

Faculty and Staff[edit]

The program is led by two faculty co-directors, Dr. Mark V. Pauly (Bendheim Professor, Professor of Health Care Systems, of Insurance and Risk Management, and of Business and Public Policy, The Wharton School) and Dr. Philip A. Rea (Professor of Biology, School of Arts and Sciences), as well as by an administrative and advising director, Dr. Peter Stokes.


The LSM curriculum combines business, life sciences, and liberal arts coursework plus two distinctive classes offered exclusively for students of the program.

LSM Courses

  • Proseminar in Management and the Life Sciences (LSMP 121)
  • Life Sciences and Management Capstone Project (LSMP 421)

Life Sciences Coursework

  • See necessary coursework for B.A. in Biology, Biochemistry, or the Biological Basis of Behavior (Penn's Behavioral Neuroscience major)

Business Coursework

  • 2 Economics classes (Micro/Macroeconomics and Managerial Economics)
  • 2 Accounting classes (Principles of Accounting I & II)
  • 2 Finance classes (Corporate Finance & Monetary Economics and the Global Economy)
  • 2 Statistics classes (Introductory Business Statistics I & II)
  • 2 Management classes (Leadership and Communication in Groups & Introduction to Management)
  • 1 Marketing class (Introduction to Marketing)
  • 1 Operations & Information Management class (Introduction to the Computer as an Analysis Tool)
  • 1 Environment of Business class (Introduction to the Law and Legal Process, Corporate Responsibility and Ethics, or Business in the Global Political Environment)
  • 2 Business Breadth classes
  • 4 Business Depth classes

Liberal Arts Requirements

  • Calculus (MATH104, "Calculus I" at Penn but material covered is Calculus II)
  • Sector II: History and Tradition
  • Sector III: Arts and Letters
  • Sector IV: Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Sector VII: Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Writing
  • Foreign Language
  • Cross Cultural Analysis (2010 & 2011), Cultural Diversity in the U.S. (2012 and after)


A unique aspect of LSM is the internship component, through which students integrate their coursework with practical experience to prepare them for their careers. The paid internships take place in the summers before junior and senior year. One is a business internship that takes place in a corporate environment, and the other is in a science laboratory. The program guarantees that students will find a relevant internship by aiding in the recruitment and application processes.


Admission to LSM is extremely competitive. It is one of the smallest dual degree programs, enrolling only 25 students each year. Applicants are expected to have strong backgrounds in math and science and, accordingly, are expected to have taken advanced coursework in at least three of the following: biology, chemistry, physics, and Calculus. Additionally, applicants must submit two SAT Subject Test scores, one of which must be a science subject.The average SAT I combined score of admitted students is approximately 2310.

To apply, prospective applicants must complete the Penn application for undergraduate admission, supplemented with Form 1-C which asks for an essay elaborating upon the applicant's interest in combining life science and management curricula. The form also asks which single-degree option (the College of Arts & Sciences or the Wharton School) the applicant would like to be considered for if he or she were not admitted to LSM.

Internal Transfers[edit]

Beginning in Spring 2009, LSM has started considering internal transfer applications from current Penn students. Currently, only freshmen will be eligible to apply for admission in sophomore year. They have to fill the LSM application and the Penn Dual Degree Application to be eligible.

Penn's Other Joint- and Dual-Degree Programs[edit]

External links[edit]