Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media

Philadelphia University

Philadelphia University

Founded in 1884

Head of institution

President Stephen Spinelli

Visiting Address

4201 Henry Avenue, 19144 Philadelphia, USA

Phone 215.951.2700

Fax 215.951.2907



Main Campus in Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia University Research Center in Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA
Bucks County Campus, PA – Accelerated B.S. Degree Completion Programs

Cumulus Contact person

Provost and Dean of the Faculty Randy Swearer
4201 Henry Avenue, 19144 Philadelphia, PA
Phone 215.951.2796, Fax 215.951.6819
E-mail swearerr[at]

Contact person for inquiries on study programs

College of Design, Engineering and Commerce - Dr. Ronald Kander, kanderr[at], (215) 951-0252
College of Architecture and the Built Environment – Dr. Louis Padulo, padulol[at], (215) 951-2899
College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts – Dr. Matt Baker, bakerm[at], (215) 951-2677

Other contact persons

Gwynne Keathley, 215.951.0151, keathleyg[at]



Philadelphia University is a student-centered institution that prepares graduates for successful careers in an evolving global marketplace.

By blending the liberal arts and sciences, professional studies, interdisciplinary learning, and collaborations in and out of the classroom, students learn to thrive in diverse and challenging environments.

Our students are encouraged to form supportive relationships with each other as well as faculty, staff, and alumni in an academically rigorous setting that is focused on intellectual and personal growth.

Philadelphia University is an experiential learning community where integrity, creativity, curiosity, ethics, responsibility, and the free exchange of ideas are valued.

International role

Collaborating with international universities is a great opportunity for both students and faculty to experience different cultures and marketplaces, and to influence and be influenced.

We have partnered and continue to partner with a variety of international universities. Currently, most of our foreign students come from India and China. We have agreements with the following: Donghua in China for the M.S. Textile Engineering program and are working on expanding the agreement to the B.S. Textile Design program; the National Institute of Fashion Technology in India for the MBA program; and Heriot-Watt in Scotland for the B.S. Textile Design program. We are always looking to expand our international partnerships and are pursuing a number of other international agreements.

Philadelphia University also has a lively Study Abroad program, in which many students opt to participate in their third year of study. The most active study abroad programs are with the University of Arkansas Rome Center in Italy, the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milano in Italy, and the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. We also offer dozens of other opportunities to study abroad in many different countries such as the United Kingdom, Thailand, Korea, France, Australia, Africa, and Hong Kong.

National role

The University emphasizes teamwork and collaboration throughout its curriculum, which seeks to prepare students for successful careers. Our students engage with their communities and external constituents to facilitate positive change, gain awareness of social issues, and to identify areas for innovation. Students work on projects that involve product and service design, materials exploration, packaging design, market research and ethnographic studies, prototype design and development, and more.

A few of the numerous examples of regional and national engagement are as follows: Industrial Design students exhibit yearly at Design Philadelphia; Textile Design will be hosting FiberPhiladelphia this spring; Fashion Design is partnering with the new Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s; Graphic Design partnered with EnergyWorks, a comprehensive energy program for home, commercial and industrial building owners; Graphic Design and Interactive Design and Media collaborated on the CUE project for autism in our community; Industrial and Graphic Design partnered with Sustainable Design and the School of Business Administration on the Service Station of the Future for the Design Management Institute; the School of Business capstone project required collaboration with Toys-R-Us and Target; Fashion Design worked with QVC on a MomMe clothing line; the Physician Assistant program is collaborating with Richard Stockton College and Reliance Medical Group to create a clinical site in Atlantic City, NJ; Disaster Medicine and Management has affiliations with the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and more; and Occupational Therapy partnered with the Philadelphia Prison System on a Langeloth Grant.

Likewise, our faculty and administration pursue collaborations regionally and nationally with the assistance of grants and awards. The importance of external collaboration to our teaching pedagogy is so great that the University hired a Director of Innovation to manage partnerships between the university, industry and government for the development of specific research or consulting projects.

Additionally, our research facilities, including the Philadelphia University Research Center, the Engineering and Design Institute (interdisciplinary research focusing on green materials, sustainable design and community outreach), the Institute for Textile and Apparel Product Safety, The Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection, the MAG Composites Institute, and the Materials Evaluation Laboratory all engage with local and national businesses on significant projects.

Main focus

Philadelphia University is a comprehensive institution that offers degrees from the bachelor’s level (B.S.) to doctoral studies in design, engineering, architecture, business, science and health, and liberal arts. However, the majority of the University’s programs are in design fields, including industrial design, architecture, sustainable design, interior architecture, interior design, graphic design, digital design, animation, fashion, and textiles. A range of supporting disciplines complements these programs in business (for example, Fashion Industry Management, Marketing, General and Mechanical Engineering, and a range of activities in materials sciences focusing on composites, materials testing, and sustainability.)

The University emphasizes teamwork and collaboration throughout its curriculum. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborations are common and encouraged. Departments frequently collaborate with industry partners on a range of projects. A few examples are design and healthcare, design and solar energy, design and fashion, design and prosthetics, design and assistive devices, design and furniture, design and new materials, design and composites, and design and apparel.

Next year, the University will launch a number of new design-oriented programs, including an MBA in Strategic Design.


Faculties and departments

College of Architecture and the Built Environment
College of Design, Engineering and Commerce
College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts
Continuing and Professional Studies
Honors Program
Learning and Advising Center
Paul J. Gutman Library
Study Abroad

Bachelor level programs

Accounting (4 year)
Animation (4 year)
Architecture (5-year B.Arch)
Biochemistry (4 year)
Biology (4 year)
Biopsychology (4 year)
Chemistry (4 year)
Construction Management (4 year)
Engineering (4 year)
Environmental and Conservation Biology (4 year)
Environmental Sustainability (4 year)
Fashion Design (4 year)
Fashion Industry Management (4 year)
Fashion Merchandising (4 year)
Finance (4 year)
Graphic Design Communication (4 year)
Health Sciences (4 year)
Historic Preservation/Visual Studies (4 year)
Industrial Design (4 year)
Interactive Design and Media (4 year)
Interior Design (4 year)
International Business (4 year)
Landscape Architecture (4 year)
Law and Society (4 year)
Management (4 year)
Marketing (4 year)
Mechanical Engineering (4 year)
MBA (5-year BS/MBA program)
Pre-Medical Studies (4 year)
Professional Communication (4 year)
Psychology (4 year)
Textile Design (4 year)
Textile Materials Technology (4 year)

Master level programs

Master of Business Administration
M.S in Construction Management
M.S in Disaster Medicine and Management
M.S in Fashion Apparel Studies
M.S in Industrial Design
M.S in Interior Architecture
M.S in Interactive Design and Media
M.S in Midwifery
M.S in Occupational Therapy
M.S in Physician Assistant Studies
M.S in Sustainable Design
M.S in Taxation
M.S in Textile Design
M.S in Textile Engineering

Dual Degree
Health Sciences, B.S/Occupational Therapy, M.S (5 year)
Health Sciences, B.S/ Occupational Therapy, M.S (5 year)
Physician Assistant Studies (5-year B.S/M.S program)
Psychology, B.S/Occupational Therapy, M.S (5 year)


Research activity and main areas

All disciplines maintain active research programs. The University is well-known for its work in engineered human protection, nano-fibers, bio-medical engineering, highly-engineered fabrics, sustainability, and hybridized composite materials. Our business faculty conduct research in a range of areas, including financial markets, marketing, bio-metrics with fashion applications, management, merchandizing, supply chain, and globalization. The health sciences produce work with design in the area of prosthetics, with architecture on issues such as aging, and with fashion for developing clothing for autistic children and adults. Designers maintain research programs and continue to practice. The University maintains a high-profile in research areas such as: sustainability, industrial design, fashion and textiles, architecture, interior design, and graphic design.

Our research is extensively funded by industry, the state and federal governments, private foundations, and private donors.

Doctorate level programs

Ph.D. in Textile Engineering and Science


Subject areas for exchange students

Currently, our international students are enrolled in architecture, design, engineering, fashion, health sciences, and business programs. We have international students pursuing the following degrees:
Architectural Studies, B.S.
Architecture, B.Arch.
Biochemistry, B.S.
Construction Management, M.S.
Disaster Medicine and Management, M.S.
Engineering, B. S. E.
Environmental and Conservation Biology, B.S.
Environmental Sustainability, B.S.
Fashion Apparel Studies, M.S.
Fashion Design, B.S.
Fashion Industry Management, B.S.
Fashion Merchandising, B S.
Finance, B.S.
Graphic Design Communication, B.S.
Industrial & Systems Engineer, B.S.E.
Industrial Design, B.S.
Industrial Design, M.S.
Interactive Design & Media, M.S.
Interactive Design & Media, M.S.
Interior Design, B.S.
International Business, B.S.
Landscape Architecture, B.L.A.
Management, B.S.
Marketing, B.S.
Master of Business Administration
Pre-Med Studies, B.S.
Psychology, B.S.
Sustainable Design, M.S.
Taxation, M.S.
Textile Design, B.S.
Textile Design, M. S.
Textile Engineering Technology, B.S.
Textile Engineering, M.S.

Application deadlines

We generally ask for 6-9 months prior to the beginning of the semester to process and enroll students. This is a joint effort between Admissions and the director of the International Students Program. For more information, contact Hannah Bar-Giora, 215-951-2660

Teaching languages

Courses at the University are taught in English; therefore, all students are required to have proficiency in English. All international students are required to take English reading and writing placement tests before registering for any courses. The placement tests are scheduled during orientation before classes begin.

Semester dates

The fall semester typically begins in the fourth week of August and ends in the third week of December. The spring semester typically begins in the second week of January and ends in the second week of May. For the 2012-2013 academic year, the fall semester begins on August 16th with Convocation; classes begin on August 20th. The fall semester ends on December 13 with the end of final exams. The spring semester begins on January 9th and ends on May 8th with the end of final exams.

Cost of living per month (studying and living)

We have tuition and housing by semester, not by month. The tuition price varies by whether the student is applying as an undergraduate or a graduate. In general, international students pay the full tuition. Tuition and fees for 9 credits or one semester during the 2011-2012 academic year was estimated at $15,500.00 USD. The estimated total of for one year of study is over $31,000.00 USD.

Additionally, we do have some housing available for international students. Undergraduate students may apply to live on-campus in the University’s various resident halls. Also, there are many off-campus housing options for students who choose it whether they are graduate or undergraduate.



  • Bachelor: 2872
  • Master: 608
  • Doctorate: n/a

Exchange students

  • 113 incoming
  • 275 outgoing
  • 99 other (continuing education, post-experience courses, other)

Teaching staff

  • 121 Professors
  • n/a Lecturers
  • n/a Other permanent teachers
  • 300 Part-time teachers