More information will be posted here when it becomes available.

Self-Defense Courses

The Department of Special Services within the Division of Public Safety offers free-of-charge self-defense classes to ALL Penn affiliates. These self-defense trainings empower individuals through communication and physical defense. Special Services provides separate courses for women and men, private classes, and classes for nonbinary affiliates. They also offer a special DPS Kids Safety Day to teach children important information about how to deal with strangers, how to call for help and how to stay out of dangerous situations, to name a few.

Special Virtual Sessions are now available. These sessions will cover many of the same topics and moves of our in-person classes only without the physical contact. All sessions will be held via Zoom. Please see below to register.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Special Services at 215-898-4481 (215-898-6600 off-hours) or email Tracey Cardella at .

Register below:

  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RISK AND RELEASE FROM LIABILITY In consideration of my being permitted to participate in the University of Pennsylvania Division of Public Safety Virtual Self-Defense training, the sufficiency of which I hereby acknowledge , for myself and my heirs, executors and administrators, I hereby release and hold harmless The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and all of its divisions and their respective , trustees, officers, employees, agents, insurers, successors and assigns from any and all claims, liabilities, demands or causes of action related to any injuries or losses I may sustain as a result of my participation in the Virtual Self-Defense course, including any loss or damage claimed to be caused by the University. I understand that the course involves verbal and physical engagement over a total period of two (2) hours and I understand that the physical engagement includes air striking using hands, elbows, knees, and feet. I acknowledge that there are unavoidable risks associated with participation in this course, that bodily injury (including serious bodily injury), disability, and damage to property are among the risks to which I may be exposed, and I hereby agree to assume all risks associated with my participation in the course. Further, I agree to comply with all procedures and instructions for the course and I assume full responsibility for any injuries or damage that result from my failure to follow such procedures or instructions. By completing my registration for this course, I affirm that I have no physical or medical condition that would preclude my full participation in the course. By submitting my registration for this course (clicking “I agree” below), I affirm that: I am at least 18 years of age; I have read and fully understand the terms of this Acknowledgement of Risks and Release from Liability; I am aware of my right to consult with an adviser or attorney of my choice regarding it; and I am agreeing to its terms voluntarily and with the intent to be legally bound.

Self Defense Courses

Special Services within the Division of Public Safety offers a variety of Self-Defense courses all free of charge to Penn affiliates. Each semester we offer a set schedule of courses and are always willing to schedule a private course for 8+ people.

See below for course descriptions and registration:

BASIC SELF-DEFENSE: A 6 hour customizable course created specifically for Penn affiliates to empower individuals through communication and physical defense. Course can be gender specific or gender inclusive.

RAPE AGGRESSION DEFENSE (RAD): A 9-12 hour course, the RAD system is a comprehensive course for women identified affiliates that begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction, and avoidance, and progresses to the basics of hands-on defense training.  See more about RAD at:

RESISTING AGGRESSION WITH DEFENSE (RAD for Men): A 9-12 hour course, RAD for Men aims to raise individual’s awareness of aggressive behavior, recognize how aggressive behavior impacts their lives, learn steps to avoid aggressive behavior, consider how they can be part of reducing aggression and violence, and practice hands-on self-defense skills to resist and escape aggressive behavior directed toward them. See more about RAD for Men at


Interested in take a course? Register using the form above. For further information or to schedule a private course, call or email Tracey Cardella, at 215.898.4481/.


Twice a year, Special Services hosts Kids Safety Day training sessions. This free course for children or grandchildren of Penn Affiliates teaches kids important safety practices such as how to stay safe when confronted with strangers, what to do if they are lost, and how to call 911 for help to name a few.

Other topics include:

  • Safety: What it means & how to stay safe inside and outside
  • Strangers: Good vs Bad Strangers
  • 911: What it is, how to use it and why to never use 911 for play.
  • Code Words: Words parents give to other people for child pick up. Words for emergencies.
  • Physical Defense
  • Touching: Good touching vs Bad Touching
  • Abuse: What it is & who to tell
  • Emergencies


  • General Information


  • Campus Phones


4040 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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