Come join us for our first virtual hackathon, applications are now live.

Let's continue to make history together!



In the context of a hackathon, the word "hack" is used to describe how multiple technologies can be used together in a new and innovative way. Teams of up to four people spend the weekend working on innovative software and hardware solutions to real-world problems. These projects range in platform and application, including elements of web development, mobile applications, drones, and more. However, many times the most important aspect of a hackathon is the community it generates and skills that inexperienced hackers walk away with.


Founded in the fall of 2009, PennApps was the nation's first student-run college hackathon. Since then, it has spurred a revolution in the way engineering students develop and showcase their skills, spawning an entire "league" of hackathons across the nation. In past years, over a thousand students from the U.S. and other countries like Switzerland, Canada, England, and Singapore have converged in Philadelphia for the spring and fall editions of the event for a weekend of creation and discovery. Both beginners and experts alike will work together, learn and compete to become better engineers and work on awesome projects.


At the end of every cycle, we ask the PennApps family if they would like to be a campus ambassador for PennApps. What this entails is spreading the word about PennApps at your local school, college or university. Campus ambassadors are an important part of the PennApps community and receive custom swag and perks at and before the event. Campus ambassadors have been announced.



PennApps is built upon the idea that everyone can participate, from individuals who have never written a line of code to experts who have been developing for years. We have a number of resources available at PennApps, including workshops, hacker gurus, and the ability to request a mentor. If you are not sure where to start, the mentorship team holds tech talks, introductory guides, and more. We are here to help! The PennApps Mentorship team can be reached at


Routes will continue this fall to provide you with additional and incentive when you hack on specific themes or just cool things to be a part of in addition to your hack. Think of Routes as a series of forks you can take, each adjusting your final destination by a bit. The right combination will help make your hack that much better, and each one you choose to take could lead to a very special payoff.


The finance industry increasingly relies on software. Show us how your project can intelligently invest in the stock market, improve personal financing, or find the best deals for the holidays. If you can create an awesome piece of technology related to finance, this route is for you!


Technology is becoming more and more important to the healthcare industry. We're eager to see everything from hardware hacks that make daily life easier for the disabled to mental health hacks that encourage healthier habits. Let's find a way to make our hospitals safer and our people healthier!


Don't make your computer think like a human -- make it think better than a human. Whether you're using Big Data to teach computers how to predict natural disasters or using NLP and Computer Vision to teach them how to read road signs, we're excited to see how this route will push the boundaries of artificial intelligence!



We don't expect everyone to have been to a hackathon before, in fact, we love first-time hackers having been there ourselves when we started! We're just trying to bring those who most want to really build something awesome and learn something new, and we're striving to continue building a community of diverse and amazing hackers at PennApps. Just show us what you've made, tell us about why you want to be at PennApps, click here to apply



Check out our live website for the most up to date schedule!


Check out our devpost for the most up to date prizes!


Will PennApps be online or in-person this year?

Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, PennApps has decided to host our first-ever online hackathon.

What platform will you be using to host the event?

We are considering a multitude of options, currently, including Zoom, Discord (which seems to be the platform other hackathons have chosen), and some new cutting-edge technologies!

Are you still looking for sponsors?

We definitely are still welcoming corporate sponsors! While this is a new hackathon experience, we are confident that PennApps can provide a meaningful and fulfilling experience for both hackers and sponsors.

How will you recreate the typical sponsor experience (booth/location to interact with hackers, potential info sessions, etc.)?

This mainly depends on the platform we end up using. If we use a platform like Zoom or Discord, sponsors can set up a room or channel where hackers can come in to hear about the company, ask questions, etc. With PennApps now being online, we will probably have the Zoom “rooms” set up for hackers to come in and out with questions, but set up specific times on the schedule for “info sessions” to avoid sponsors needing to repeat themselves/restart a session. We are definitely open to working with all of our sponsors to create options that suit you and provide the best possible experience!

How will swag/prize distribution work this year?

Typically, our Logistics Committee mails the prizes to each participant after the event. Sponsors have previously sponsored certain hacker routes (creating towards a certain theme) and provided the prizes for the winners in that category. This is something our sponsorship team would be happy to discuss with you!

How do you plan to keep the sense of community in an online event? How will people be able to form teams?

As with any hackathon, the most important way to foster community is through communication. We are planning to use our online platform to facilitate communication between hackers, time for forming teams, and opportunities to match with mentors. With the online event, we are foreseeing even more connections between hackers, and more meaningful interaction and guidance between hackers and mentors.

Working with PennApps as a sponsor provides companies a unique opportunity to reach some of the nation's most talented college students. Interested in sponsoring?

Send us an email at for more details!