Penn Model Congress strives to enhance political awareness and responsible citizenship through the research and debate of public policy issues in an intellectual setting. Founded in 1997, PENNMC has promoted these goals by providing high school students with a unique opportunity to participate in simulated sessions of the United States Congress.


Penn Model Congress is designed to help delegates develop expertise in a specific legislative area as well as expose them to a broad array of political issues. The Congress is divided into a Senate and House of Representatives, which, like the real Congress, is composed of individual committees that focus on particular legislative topics.

View entire list of committees

Delegates split their time roughly evenly between committees and full session. Committees consist of approximately 20 delegates each, and full sessions have between 80 and 100 delegates. Legislation is first debated in committee session, and selected bills that pass committee then move on to be debated and voted on by the full assembly. Bills that are passed in full session become part of official Penn Model Congress “law.”

View full schedule of conference sessions


A major element of the conference is delegate legislation. Each delegate gets the opportunity to introduce his or her own bill in committee session. Prior to the conference, delegates are expected to research and prepare for debate on their bill. Delegates may choose any bill topic they want, as long as it falls within the jurisdiction of their assigned committee. At the conference, each bill receives approximately 30-45 minutes of debate in committee.

Learn how to write your legislation


PENNMC would not be possible without its highly dedicated and enthusiastic staff. The conference is organized and run entirely by Penn students. The Executive Board and Conference Board are responsible for planning the conference throughout the year. Each committee is chaired by Penn undergraduates, who in addition to moderating the debate, usually possess a strong interest and expertise in that particular legislative area. Our staff is eager to learn and interact with delegates throughout the conference.

Meet our Executive Board


Penn Model Congress is also distinguished by its integration with the University of Pennsylvania and the historic city of Philadelphia. Staffed by Penn students and held directly on Penn’s campus, the conference allows high school students unique access to one of the nation’s premier Ivy League institutions. In addition, students have ample opportunity to explore Philadelphia and its many historical attractions, including Old City, Independence Hall, the Constitution Center, the Liberty Bell, and the U.S. Mint, just to name a few.For more information Visit Penn  or Exploring Philly


Each year, Penn Model Congress staff honor high performing delegates with conference awards, acknowledging superior debaters in committees, full sessions, and special programs. Committee chairs look for delegates who are well-versed in parliamentary procedure, who are willing to speak on issues that may be outside their comfort zone, and who provide clear, precise, and well-constructed arguments. Delegates must display a consistent willingness to participate fully in the debate process. In addition, a positive interaction with other delegates says much about the caliber and character of the delegate. Coming to committee session prepared with research and facts on the issues to substantiate arguments is the mark of an outstanding delegate. Finally, a thoughtful and well-written bill speaks volumes about the knowledge and preparedness of the delegate.

Committee Awards

In each committee, chairs select three delegates to receive the following awards:

• Best Delegate in Committee (one delegate)

• Honorable Mention in Committee (two delegates)

• Some chairs may choose to poll committee members, asking each delegate to name who they feel should earn awards. Conducting this type of poll is entirely at the discretion of the committee chairs, and the results will be used only as one factor of many in determining who wins an award.

Full Session Awards

In each full session, the chairs select six delegates to receive the following awards:

• Best Delegate in Full Session (one delegate)

• Outstanding Delegate in Full Session (two delegates)

• Honorable Mention in Full Session (two delegates)

• The increased number of awards in full sessions allows PENNMC staff to reward more delegates who deserve recognition for their debate prowess.

Special Program Awards

In each special program, delegates will be eligible to win awards. In the National Security Council, chairs select three students for the following awards:

• Best Delegate in National Security Council (one delegate)

• Honorable Mention in National Security Council (two delegates)

In the Executive Branch, chairs select three students for the following awards:

• Best Delegate in Executive Branch (one delegate)

• Honorable Mention in Executive Branch (two delegates)

In the Supreme Court, chairs select four teams of students for the following awards:

• Best Team in Courtroom A (two delegates)

• Best Team in Courtroom B (two delegates)

• Best Team in Courtroom C (two delegates)

• Best Team in Courtroom D (two delegates)

Best Delegation (Large and Small)

Throughout the conference, various actions and accomplishments will earn points for your school. At the end of the conference, the large and small delegation with the highest points-per-delegate ratio will be declared Best Large and Small Delegations of Penn Model Congress. We are excited to offer a trophy to the winning large and small delegations. The following criteria contribute towards your school’s point total:

• Individual delegate awards won in committees, full sessions, and special programs.

• Legislative accomplishments (bills passing in committee, being selected for full session docket, passing in full session, and becoming law).

• Participation in special programs (National Security Council, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch).