The Philadelphia Center

Discover Your Direction in Life


Our History - The Philadelphia Center (TPC) is one of the nation’s oldest experiential education programs.  Founded by the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) in 1967 and managed by Hope College, TPC has helped more than 6,800 students from over 80 colleges and 50 countries discover their personal and professional direction in life. We have more than 800 internships available for almost any major and offer students a 16 week semester program and an 8 week summer program.  Students receive academic credit for the successful completion of their internship and academic coursework.  For more information read our online digital Story.

Our Value - TPC offer students independent urban living, a unique placement process, substantial internship learning, and a chance to live and study in one of the most culturally diverse, vibrant, and affordable cities in the country.

Mission Statement - The Philadelphia Center provides experiential education programs for undergraduate students that put into practice the liberal arts mission by integrating multidisciplinary seminars, comprehensive advising, and substantial internship opportunities in the context of an urban environment.

Who We Are - The Philadelphia Center is comprised of full-time faculty advisors and staff, and part-time elective faculty, offering a diversity of backgrounds, interests, and teaching styles.

Academics - At TPC, academics play a critical and integral role in the student experience.  As students work almost full-time at the internship of their choice and live independently in Philadelphia, they are also engaged academically by our full-time faculty advisors, who teach city seminars and closely advise students, and our adjunct faulty members, who teach elective seminars.

Internships - TPC’s database of more than 800 internships contains options for almost any major, from accounting to zoology.  Our unique and comprehensive placement process allows students an opportunity to work closely with our full-time faculty advisors and placement director, interview for various positions, and then select the placement that best meets their needs.  Upon completing this experiential-based component of the placement process, students then work 32 hours per week at the internship they selected. Through the use of learning plans, portfolios, and on-site meetings, TPC’s faculty advisors provide individualized guidance throughout the semester so each student has a substantial learning experience and receives the maximum benefit of participating in our program.

Programs - TPC offers students a 16 week semester program as well as an 8 week summer program.  Additionally, social work students can complete their practicum requirements and student teachers can fulfill their certification requirements while attending our semester program.  We also offer recent graduates an 8 week summer program to help them gain additional professional experience before they enter graduate school or launch their careers.

Independent City Living - Perhaps one of the most dynamic and rewarding components of our semester program is the independent city living arrangement.  Since 1967, students have located their own place to live in Philadelphia during the first week of the program through our guided housing process.  This process allows students to explore and answer a variety of questions such as: what neighborhood they want to live in, who they want to live with, and what type of housing they want to choose (apartment above store, high-rise apartment complex, row home, etc).  TPC provides a great deal of support during this process and monitors the progress of each student, providing assistance as necessary.  Every student is guaranteed a place to live.

High Impact - Since 1967, The Philadelphia Center (TPC) has provided a substantial academic learning experience to undergraduate liberal arts students. As an experiential education program, TPC complies directly with the Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education’s definition of an internship as a deliberative form of learning that involves doing, reflection, and feedback for improvement – all in support of learning goals and objectives.  To illustrate this accomplishment, the list below highlights TPC components, arranged by the six common elements of a high-impact program as defined by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).

Digital Liberal Arts - In response to recent advancements in technology, changing models of pedagogical instruction, and increased levels of global collaboration platforms, TPC has launched a concerted effort to deepen the student experience through the application of the digital liberal arts (DLA).