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 4-5 year coordinated dual-degree undergraduate program between the School of Arts & Sciences and the Wharton School at 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.[1]

LSM was originally proposed and funded by former Merck & Co. CEO P. Roy Vagelos. Each year, the program enrolls approximately 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.[2] 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 had the option to pursue one of the track or the new dual degree option. The class of 2013 and beyond, however, are required to pursue the dual degree option.

Program Leadership[edit]

Advisory Board[edit]

The LSM Advisory Board is composed of 20 industry leaders ranging from medical experts to corporate executives.[3] Dr. Roy Vagelos sits as an honorary member of the Advisory Board. Members of the board visit LSM students approximately once a 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.[4]


The LSM curriculum is composed of business, life science, and liberal arts coursework along with two distinctive classes taught exclusively for LSM students.[5]

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 defining aspect of LSM is the internship component, through which students integrate their coursework with practical experience to prepare them for their careers. The required internships take place in the summers before junior and senior year. One is a business or policy-oriented internship, while the other is a scientific-oriented internship. The program guarantees that students will find paid opportunities in both fields.[6]


Admission to LSM is extremely competitive. It is one of the smallest dual degree programs, enrolling 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.[7]

To apply, prospective applicants must complete the Penn application for undergraduate admission along with an additional supplement asking the applicant to elaborate on his or her interest in bridging the gap between the life sciences and management.[8] All applicants must also apply to a backup, single-degree option (College of Arts & Sciences or the Wharton School) that will be reviewed for admission should the applicant not be admitted to LSM.

Internal Transfers[edit]

Beginning in Spring 2009, LSM has started considering internal transfer applications from current Penn students. Currently, only freshmen undergraduates are permitted to apply for transfer admission.[9]

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


External links[edit]