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Penn History

This virtual web tour was created by Steven Morgan Friedman C '98.

The annual catalogue is prepared by the Provost and faculty and published by the Trustees. It is made available to all prospective and current students, as well as to all others with a special interest in the University.

The catalogue is the best documentary evidence available on the organization and curriculum of the college and medical school, and of membership in the University community.

The following text of the regulations and courses of the College is transcribed directly from the University Catalogue of January 1831.


To be admitted into the Freshman Class, a student must be at least fourteen years of age. He must be qualified for examination in the following subjects and authors:–

  • Latin.–Cæsar, Virgil, Sallust, Odes of Horace.
  • Greek.–New Testament, the Four Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles of Peter. Xenophon, first three books. Græca Minora, or Jacob’s Greek Reader.
  • Quantity and scanning in each language.
  • Arithmetic, including fractions and extraction of roots.
  • The elements of English grammar and modern geography.

No student is admitted to advanced standing without the fullest preparation for the class into which he applies for admission.

Courses of Instruction in the College

Freshman Class.
With the Prof. of Mathematics. Arithmetic reviewed. Algebra, to quadratic equations inclusive. Euclid’s Elements of Geometry.
With the Prof. of Languages and the Tutor. Horace, (Odes reviewed and Satires.) Graeca Majora, Vol. I. Epictetus. Latin and Greek exercies. Roman and Grecian antiquities.
With the Assistant Professor of Moral Philosophy. English Grammar and Geography reviewed. Grammar of Rhetoric. Readings in Prose and Poetry. Written translations from ancient authors. Declamation.
Sophomore Class.
With the Prof. of Mathematics. Elements of Algebra and Geometry completed. Application of Algebra to Geometry. Plane trigonometry, (the demonstrations analystically.) Surveying and Mensuration. Spherical Geometry and Trigonometry.
With the Prof. of Languages and the Tutor. Cicero (de officiis et de oratore.) Terence. Cicero’s Orations, Horace’s Epistles. Graeca Majora, Vol. I completed. Homer’s Iliad. Latin and Greek exercises.
With the Prof. of Nat. Philos. and Chem. Elements of Natural Philosophy and Chemistry.
With the Assist. Prof. of Mor. Philos. History. Rhetoric. Elements of Criticism. Elocution. English Composition.
Junior Class.
With the Prof. of Mathematics. Perspective Geography, including the use of globes and construction of maps and charts. Higher Algebra. Analytical Geometry, including conic sections. Differential Calculus, (Fluxions.)
With the Prof. of Languages. Art of Poetry. Juvenal. Perseus. Livy. Graeca Majora, Vol. II.
With the Prof. of Nat. Philos. and Chem. Mechanics.–The doctrines of rest and motion as applied to solids and fluids. Application to machines.
Physics.–Electricity. Magnetism. Electro-magnetism. Chemistry.
With the Assist. Prof. of Mor. Philos. History and Criticism continued. Moral Philosophy. Logic. English Composition. Forensic discussion.
Senior Class.
With the Provost. Evidences of Natural and Revealed Religion. Metaphysics. Natural and Political Law. English composition. Forensic discussion.
With the Prof. of Mathematics. Integral Calculus. Analytical Dynamics, with the application to physical astronomy.
With the Prof. of Languages. Former authors reviewed or completed. Longinus. Tacitus.
With the Prof. of Nat. Philos. and Chem. Physics–Optics. Astronomy. Steam-engine. General review of the course of Natural Philosophy. Chemistry completed. Elements of Mineralogy and Geology.

Spanish, French, and German, may be pursued if required by parents.

The Senior and Junior classes recite three times, and the Sophomore and Freshman classes four times, each day, except Saturday, on which day each class recites once.

All classes, except the Senior class, recite both in the morning and afternoon.

The instructions of the College are conveyed in part by lectures, but principally by the study of the most approved text books, aided by the explanations of professors. The diligence of the student is tested by rigid daily examinations. The character of e ach recitation is recorded, and the results communicated to parents or guardians in the middle or at the end of each term. At the end of each term, public examinations of all the classes are held by the Faculty; and the students are classed in the order of merit.

Defective students are not allowed to proceed to a higher class, and incompetent students are dismissed from the institution.

The terms for instruction in the regular studies of the College already enumerated, are $ 25 per term, payable in advance.

The modern languages are taught by approved instructors, at a moderate additional expense.

Proper boarding, including washing, &c. can be had in the city, for from $ 2 1/2 to $ 3 per week.

Students not from the city of Philadelphia, will, if it be requested by their parents, have one of the faculty appointed as a guardian, who will take charge of the disbursements and attend to the comfort and well-doing of the individual.

The degree of Master of Arts may be conferred on the alumni of the University, bachelors in the arts of three years standing, who shall apply for that honour. Any master of arts upon taking his degree, may deliver a public dissertation, at the commencement at which his degree is conferred, under the direction of the provost.

A public commencement for conferring degrees is held on the 31st of July, unless that day fall on Sunday, in which case it is held on the preceding Saturday.