Canvas Access and Course Sites

This is a quick overview of logging in to Canvas, finding your course sites, and adjusting notifications.

Before You Start 

You need the following: 

  • An active PennKey account (or authorized email address)
  • Enrollment in a current course site

Logging In

Log in to Canvas with your PennKey at

Please visit PennKey Support if you encounter difficulty with your PennKey login.

If you are a Canvas user without a PennKey, and you have already established a password to use with your email address, click Using e-mail to log in? 

PennKey login screen, arrow pointing to

This method will not work for those who have PennKeys, and will only work by prior permission of  a course instructor or Wharton academic program.

Finding active course sites

If your instructor is using Penn Canvas, you can find the course site by viewing your course list.  

Note: There is a slight delay between registration and access to Canvas, and you cannot access any course site until the instructor has published it.  Not all University of Pennsylvania courses use Penn Canvas.

If you are unofficially auditing a course, or if you want access to a site before you enroll, you will need instructor permission.  Please forward any emails of permission to the Courseware team, who can enable your access to the course site. 

Finding concluded course sites

Old course sites remain available, in a read-only state, for up to five years after they began. 

To access them, select Courses in the left navigation bar, and click All Courses. Past course sites will appear beneath Past Enrollments. Note that:

  • Class recordings are generally not available in Canvas after the end of a semester; instructors determine whether any extensions will be provided, such as for students taking make-up exams.  Your instructor may contact to request extended student access for recordings.
  • Instructors may also choose to close course sites earlier than five years afterward. Also note that Study.Net readings, library reserves, and other licensed materials typically expire within 1-2 months, even if the Canvas site itself remains available. Therefore, it is wise for students to download desired materials from Canvas as soon as possible.

After you graduate, you will use alumni computing services, many of which will continue to use your PennKey. Be sure to sign up for the PennKey Recovery Service so that you can easily reset your PennKey password after graduation.

Adjusting your notifications

Use Notification Preferences to tell Canvas when to notify you – ASAP, daily, weekly, or never – about course events.

Notifications will go to your University email address, but you may also receive notifications via other email addresses, text messaging, or other web services.

The following notification settings are recommended.

  • Course ActivitiesDue Date: Daily or ASAP
  • Course ActivitiesFiles:  Daily
  • Course ActivitiesAnnouncement:  ASAP
  • Conversations → All Categories: ASAP
  • Scheduling → All Categories: ASAP

Note: The grading notification preference Include scores when alerting about grade changes does work at Penn. Grade information will never be sent through insecure channels like email.