- What is the difference between a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degree?
- In addition to the courses for my major are there other requirements that must be fulfilled?
- What are the arts and humanities? The social sciences? The natural sciences and mathematics? What is engineering? What is management?
- What other options does Bucknell offer?
- What is the University Writing Program?
- What are Foundation Seminars? Do I need to take one?
- How flexible will my program be?
- Are there any restrictions on enrollments in specific degree programs or majors?
- I am interested in medical school. Should I major in science or some other area?
- What are the general requirements for medical school?
- I have been accepted for the curriculum I really want, but there are several other areas in which I have a strong interest. How can I follow them?
- I was accepted for the curriculum for which I applied, but now I am not sure that it is what I want. Can I change?
- How can I be sure I am taking the right courses so that I will graduate?
- Who will be my faculty adviser? When do I meet my adviser? How close will our relationship be?
- Who teaches introductory courses? Will I have to wait until I am a junior or senior to get the best professors?
- What is the credit system at Bucknell? What is a course?
- Will I get credit for college work taken before I come to Bucknell?
- Will I get credit for my Advanced Placement (AP) scores?
- In addition to the Foundation Seminars, are there any other special programs at Bucknell?
- Is ROTC available?
- Can I succeed at Bucknell? Is my background adequate? Will I be able to compete successfully?
- Is there help available for students who want to improve their writing?
- What academic accommodations are available for students with accessibility needs (i.e., learning, psychological, etc.)?
- What resources are available at Bucknell to help students explore their future career plans?
- What about graduate work?
- What if I have a question?
- When will I learn about which classes I will be taking for the fall semester? What happens if I want to change a course I was assigned?
The bachelor of arts degree represents a broad sampling of the liberal arts and sciences, with concentration in one discipline (the major), much of which is taken during the junior and senior years.
The bachelor of science degree (in the natural sciences and mathematics, education, management and various branches of engineering) provides a greater emphasis in the major field, usually beginning in the first year.
While both include broad choices in liberal studies, the bachelor of arts provides more electives and the bachelor of science more courses in and related to the major. Students who have a variety of interests and are undecided as to their future objectives will find that the bachelor of arts program has the flexibility to allow exploration of a number of fields. The five-year arts/engineering program permits concentration in any liberal arts study in combination with any branch of engineering.
Yes, you will be required to complete courses in the following categories.
Writing Requirement — All Students
All students must successfully complete three writing courses, to be selected from courses designated W1 (one course) or W2 (two courses). The required W1 course must be in the first year.
College of Arts & Sciences Students and Freeman College of Management
- Foundation Seminar (first year, first-semester course)
- Lab science
- Foreign language
- Integrated Perspectives (sophomore course)
Tools for Critical Engagement
- Diversity in the U.S.
- Environmental Connections
- Global Connections
- Quantitative Reasoning
Disciplinary Perspectives (two from each division; one course must meet the divisional learning goals)
- Arts and Humanities
- Natural Sciences and Mathematics
- Social Sciences
- The major(s), which includes Academic Conventions of Writing, Speaking & Information Literacy and a Culminating Experience
College of Engineering Students
- Engineering 100
- College Global Perspectives Requirement (The college global perspectives requirement is met through a Global Connections course or a foreign language course.)
- 4 course credits in mathematics (specified by department)
- 4 course credits in science (specified by department)
- 5 approved social science and humanities courses
(One of the five courses must be a social science course and one must be an arts & humanities course. Of these two courses, one may be further specified by the student's degree program. The remaining three courses may be fulfilled by any combination of social science, arts & humanities, university courses, residential college courses, or foundation seminarsConsult the 2019-20 Course Catalog for more specific information.)
3. What are the arts and humanities? The social sciences? The natural sciences and mathematics? What is engineering? What is management?
The arts and humanities are concerned primarily with the discovery and evaluation of our creations in art, religion, literature and social institutions. Courses are offered in Africana studies, Arabic studies, art (studio and history), Chinese, classics and mediterranean studies, comparative humanities, dance, East Asian studies, English (literary studies, film/media studies, creative writing), French, German, Greek, Modern Hebrew, history, Japanese, Latin, Latin American studies, linguistics, music, philosophy, religion, Russian, Spanish, and theatre.
Social sciences embrace the study of society and of individual relationships in and to society. Courses are available in anthropology, economics, education, international relations, political science, psychology, sociology and women’s & gender studies. Some environmental studies and geography courses also are considered a part of the social sciences.
Management at Bucknell integrates professional and liberal undergraduate education. Through an innovative curriculum that includes experiential learning, students work collaboratively to understand and analyze organizations and devise creative and morally responsible solutions to the challenges they face. The bachelor of science in business administration curriculum offers majors in accounting, business analytics, finance, global management, managing for sustainability and markets, innovation & design.
The course Exploring Management (MGMT 100) will help management students learn more about the history of management and the six majors within management. (See the MGMT 100 course description.)
The natural sciences and mathematics are based on objective and observable quantitative hypotheses, and include animal behavior, astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, neuroscience, and physics. Some courses offered in environmental studies and geography also are classified as natural sciences.
Engineering is the application of scientific principles to practical ends, as in the design, construction, and operation of efficient and economical structures, equipment and systems. Bucknell offers degrees in biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental, mechanical engineering or in computer science & engineering.
Whether you are in the College of Arts & Sciences, the Freeman College of Management or the College of Engineering, the course Exploring Engineering (ENGR 100) will help you learn more about engineering and technology. (See the ENGR 100 course description.)
For more information about the different branches of engineering, consult career guidance material in your local library or contact the College of Engineering at 570.577.3705.
If you are interested in the teaching profession, you may elect options in secondary or early childhood education. Requirements for teaching certification also may be met under the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science curriculum.
Under the bachelor of music degree program, students may choose a major in vocal performance and in music education.
Designated writing courses in the University Writing Program have two purposes: to develop expository skills and to teach the use of writing as a means for creating and processing knowledge. These courses will help you mastery of written language so that they may discover, organize and communicate your knowledge.
As part of the undergraduate program, you are required to complete three writing-intensive courses (known as “W courses”), i.e., a W1 course in the first year, followed by two W2 courses. These courses use writing to help you acquire both subject knowledge and writing proficiency. The W1 courses teaches expository skills and writing as a process and include Foundation Seminars and some introductory courses. The W2 courses are offered in most departments, and they may include courses required for a particular major, courses that help to fulfill a College Core Curriculum requirement and courses that a student may choose as electives. A complete list of W1 and W2 offered this fall is available here.
Not every course that contains writing, or a great deal of writing, will be a W course. Courses approved as W courses have certain characteristics, as follows:
- A W course provides explicit writing instruction. In writing and revising, you will receive advice from your instructor and peers. Writing instruction may take the form of written or oral responses to drafts and papers and also may include reading about and discussing writing.
- The W course instructors pay attention to and encourage the different stages of writing as a process: planning, drafting, revising and editing. Writing is treated as a dynamic process of expressing one’s ideas in words and revising one’s ideas and words by reconsidering them in light of feedback from others. Writing is, therefore, not merely a written end-product, but a tool for learning and critical thinking.
- W course instructors will teach the conventions of writing you will need to succeed in college. These conventions may vary from discipline to discipline and class to class. Students will be introduced to basic expository skills and the conventions appropriate to writing in the discipline of the course.
- In a W course, you will write multiple drafts of a few assignments to improve your writing. W courses provide the opportunity for the practice and feedback that are vital to writing effectively.
- You will write to learn the subject matter of the course. “Writing to learn” may take many forms: notebooks, journals, laboratory reports, fieldwork reports, essays and other formal and informal assignments.
W courses are offered widely throughout the University and may be taken in any department or program to fulfill the University requirement.
The seminars are small classes of up to 16 students taught by faculty from a wide-range of disciplines across the University. The small class size is important because the class serves as a social and intellectual support group during the student's transition into college life. A Residential Colleges (RESC) course counts as a Foundation Seminar and is available to all incoming first-year students.
Another important element of a Foundation Seminar is that for students in the College of Arts & Sciences, the instructor also will be the student's academic adviser for a minimum of the first semester. If you are in the bachelor of arts program, the seminar instructor will continue as your adviser for the first two years. If you are in the bachelor of science program in the College of Arts & Sciences, your Foundation Seminar adviser serves for the first semester, and you will have a second adviser in your intended major program to serve as your official adviser for curricular requirements. Your adviser will get to know you personally.
The focus of the Foundation Seminar is as much how you learn as what you learn. Each seminar has a different topic. Many courses are interdisciplinary, but all share the goal of cultivating the attitudes and skills necessary for students to make the most of their Bucknell education. You will be encouraged to become an active, independent learner, to participate in collaborative learning experiences and to develop your critical thinking and communication skills. You will learn how to use the resources in the library, along with technological skills, simulations, use of databases and data analysis, according to the topic of the seminar.
Each first-year student in the College of Arts & Sciences and the Freeman College of Management is required to enroll in a Foundation Seminar. Engineering students may enroll in Foundation Seminars connected to Residential Colleges.
The curriculum at Bucknell in most instances is flexible, yet rigorous. Within the bachelor of arts degree structure, you have great flexibility and many course options, and you will not declare a major before the second semester of your sophomore year.
Within the bachelor of science curriculum, there are specific requirements related to the major that you usually begin to fulfill during the first semester
In most, but not all, instances it is possible for students to change from one degree program to another. Due to extremely limited space, there are no opportunities for Arts & Science or Engineering students to transfer into the Freeman College of Management. Since enrollment limitations may require the exclusion of some qualified students from certain academic programs, the following policy has been adopted:
Admission to the University, to a college, to a degree program or to a major does not guarantee enrollment to any individual course, transfer from one college to another or registration in any particular degree program or declaration of a particular major. Registration in or transfer from one degree program to another, or declaration of a major, is authorized only with the approval of the University through the academic deans. The University reserves the right to cancel or limit enrollment in any individual course.
Many students interested in going to medical school major in one of the sciences, since it is easy to meet medical school requirements as a science major. However, this is not necessary. Remember that medical schools are more interested in the quality and depth of the work accomplished than in the field chosen by the student. All medical schools recognize the desirability of a broad education, a strong foundation in the natural sciences, highly developed communication skills, and a solid background in social sciences and humanities.
The humanities and social behavioral sciences are important and can help you understand individuals, societies and cultures. With careful planning a pre-medical student can select a number of courses in humanities and the social and behavioral sciences and thus be well prepared for the critical analysis and non-science portions of the Medical College Admissions Test. College is your opportunity to take courses in art, music, literature, economics, religion, history, philosophy and more.
Some students find that an undergraduate engineering education provides excellent preparation for further study in another profession such as medicine or dentistry. With careful planning, the engineering programs offer sufficient flexibility permitting you to fulfill the entrance requirements of medical or dental schools. If this is your goal, you should work out a preliminary plan with your adviser soon after you arrive on campus. For more specific information, consult bucknell.edu/pre-health.
Most medical schools require, as a minimum, one year of general biology, one year of general or inorganic chemistry, one year of organic chemistry, one year of physics, one year of math and one year of English. Current revisions of the MCAT exam also require a working knowledge of psychology, sociology and biochemistry.
Some schools require a foreign language. Some schools have additional requirements, such as behavioral science or quantitative analysis. It is essential that students examine specific admission requirements of the schools of interest to them and plan their college work to meet those requirements. Here at Bucknell, the pre-health adviser will assist the student in working out a curriculum to meet all the course requirements for medical school.
11. I have been accepted for the curriculum I really want, but there are several other areas in which I have a strong interest. How can I follow them?
Your interest in other programs may be explored by carefully choosing elective courses. Most curricula have sufficient flexibility to allow these exploratory courses to be counted toward degree requirements. Talking with your academic adviser can be extremely helpful in this process.
12. I was accepted for the curriculum for which I applied, but now I am not sure that it is what I want. Can I change?
It is usually possible to change your curriculum in the College of Arts & Science, either before or after you come to the campus to matriculate in the fall. However, some curricula have restrictions on the number who can be accepted because of space and facilities limitations. Due to extremely limited space, there are no opportunities for Arts & Science or Engineering students to transfer into the Freeman College of Management.
If you wish to change your curriculum before coming to campus, you must submit a written request to the Admissions Office. After enrollment, special forms are available in the Office of the Registrar.
BEFORE DECIDING ON A CHANGE, you are advised to consult someone knowledgeable about the options open to you:
- A member of the Bucknell faculty
- Admissions staff — 570.577.3000
- Associate Dean Lynn Breyfogle, College of Arts & Sciences — 570.577.3293
- Associate Dean Terri Norton, College of Engineering — 570.577.3705
- Associate Dean Ivy Kepner, Freeman College of Management — 570.577.1337
While the responsibility for satisfying degree requirements is yours, the University provides help and guidance for you in several ways.
For the first semester, you will follow the registration form for your degree program as included in the Class of 2023 Enrolled Students web area. Studying the appropriate section of the Course Catalog will help you visualize the entire four-year structure of your degree.
After your first semester, your adviser will help you select appropriate courses, and the associate/assistant dean of your college will be glad to advise you concerning your progress toward your degree. In addition, the Registrar's Office provides an on-line "Academic Progress Report" (APR) in myBucknell that will help you check your requirements.
Your APR will be available in August.
The advisory setting allows you and your adviser to establish a friendly relationship.
For bachelor of arts students, their Foundation Seminar instructor serves as academic adviser for the first two years. For students in the bachelor of science in business administration and various bachelor of science and bachelor of music degrees, the Foundation Seminar instructor will serve in an informal advisory capacity and another faculty member in the student's degree program will serve as the official adviser for curricular requirements for the major. Entering students will have the opportunity to meet with their advisers before beginning their fall courses to discuss their program of courses.
Engineering students are assigned advisers who are faculty members in the student's proposed program. Generally, an engineering student has the same adviser for three or four years.
15. Who teaches introductory courses? Will I have to wait until I am a junior or senior to get the best professors?
Bucknell is primarily an undergraduate institution. Our faculty and administration stress the importance of undergraduate education and the development of undergraduate students. Most members of the faculty teach at all levels, and you will not have to wait until you are an upperclassman to get the best professors. Although a few graduate students assist some faculty members, the faculty member (not the graduate student) is responsible for the teaching.
Bucknell uses the course credit system. One course credit is expected to require one-fourth of a student's time for a semester, including attendance at class and/or laboratory, required and related reading, class preparation, term papers and reports. Military science and private instruction in music for non-majors are taken in addition to credit courses.
For purposes of comparison with other colleges, one course credit is the equivalent of four semester hours or six quarter hours.
If, before coming to Bucknell, you have taken courses at another regionally accredited college, you will receive Bucknell credit for them, provided:
- The college coursework completed by high school students is equivalent to courses offered by Bucknell. (Decisions on comparability will be made by the Office of the Registrar and the faculty of the University. Grades of "C" or better are required for Bucknell credit consideration.)
- The courses are applicable to the degree at that college, i.e., that they were not simply enrichment courses for high school students.
- The subject matter was comparable to that offered at Bucknell and is applicable to your program here.
- You do not duplicate the course by taking a similar one at Bucknell.
- You request that the registrar at the college where the course was taken send an official transcript to Bucknell.
If you took an AP course in your secondary school and sat for the examination, as administered and certified by the College Entrance Examination Board, you may be eligible for credit and/or advanced placement. Learn more about Advanced Placement credit.
Bucknell, dedicated to the education of undergraduate students, has developed several special educational programs. Among them:
Nine Residential Colleges: Arts, Discovery, Environmental, Food, Global, Humanities, Languages and Cultures, Social Justice and Society and Technology are located in residence halls on campus. They accept approximately 350 first-year students. Each college focuses its activities on a particular theme. Lectures and films, classes and programs, seminars and coffee houses, special dinners, and celebrations elaborate this theme. Students in each college are required to take one Foundation Seminar associated with their respective college.
In addition to the usual departmental majors, students may develop an individual program under the interdepartmental major or the college major in the bachelor of arts curriculum. The interdepartmental major provides an option for the student who may wish to investigate subjects, topics, issues or interests that cannot be served practically within the program of a single department. The college major concentrates upon the intellectual interest and development of the student, rather than upon a field of study, and is structured in accordance with the student's special interests.
Optional minors are available in many disciplines. Interdepartmental minors are offered in American studies, arts entrepreneurship, children's studies, digital humanities, food systems, Latin American studies, legal studies, peace studies, public policy, race & ethnicity studies, social justice, and translation studies. For a complete list of minors offered please consult the Course Catalog.
Many departments provide opportunities for students to engage in independent study under the guidance of a faculty member, and there are opportunities for students to participate in faculty research programs. This research participation or independent study enables the student to pursue and gain experience in specialized areas.
The Office of Global & Off-campus Education facilitates off-campus opportunities that accommodate a range of disciplines throughout diverse regions of the world. The office strives to enhance students’ cross-cultural competency through global programs that facilitate a deep understanding of the cultural, social, political, and historical conditions of the host country while highlighting the students’ unique positions as responsible actors in a global context. Bucknell University offers many year-long, semester and summer off-campus study opportunities through external education abroad partners, Bucknell faculty-led programs and university exchange programs.
All academic departments and interdisciplinary majors of the University offer the possibility of departmental honors, coordinated through the University Honors Council, in which students in those majors may undertake special studies or investigations.
Students interested in departmental honors should consult the head of the department and must apply for honors in accordance with the procedures established by the Honors Council.
Among the many curricular and extracurricular options open to you during your college career at Bucknell is the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Program. This program provides training in leadership and management as well as preparing participants for possible service as a commissioned officer in the United States Army.
Enrolling in ROTC your first semester involves no commitment beyond the course itself. The decision is purely voluntary and one you should reach based on your own educational and career goals. If you would like more information about the ROTC Program at Bucknell, you may contact the Director of the Military Science Program.
Bucknell regards certain policies and practices of the Department of Defense and the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) as discriminatory against homosexuals, and considers these policies to contradict Bucknell's nondiscrimination policy.
The fact that you have been accepted for admission to Bucknell means that the University believes you are qualified to succeed in your work here. In fact, an unusually high percentage of our entering students complete their degrees within four years (87 percent). If you feel as if you need support, you can seek out advice from a number of resources available on campus.
The rest will be up to you. Have you established good study habits? Can you concentrate on what you are doing in the midst of other people doing other things? Can you budget your time to cover study and recreation, sleep and relaxation? Are you seeking help to support your success? A strong key to success is your interest in the subject you are studying and your seriousness of purpose.
You will find it important not to get behind in your daily and weekly work. If you do not understand something which has been presented in your textbook or in class, you should seek out your instructor and ask for help at once. If things begin to pile up, the associate/assistant dean of your college will help you reorganize your study plan or obtain special help.
The staff of the Writing Center will help you plan, compose and revise your writing. The Center is staffed by full-time professionals, along with peer tutors trained to work with writers. In a typical session, writers read their drafts out loud and discuss ideas with tutors. Tutors don't write your paper for you; rather, they provide feedback on the clarity of your draft, ask useful questions that will help you revise, and identify areas of your writing that might need further explanation or development.
In addition, the Writing Center offers numerous workshops for students each semester. Topics for these workshops include writing internship and graduate school application essays, writing resumes and cover letters, and writing honors theses. Bucknell faculty often bring their classes to the Writing Center for workshops, as well; these workshops address topics including writing as a process, peer response and oral communication.
Students are welcome to visit the Writing Center at any stage of their writing process. Students are also welcome to make appointments to discuss study skills, time management and "writer's block." Sometimes just taking the time to address these common issues with an experienced staff member helps students generate useful strategies to improve their study and writing habits.
23. What academic accommodations are available for students with accessibility needs (i.e., learning, psychological, etc.)?
The Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) at Bucknell University exists to ensure access, provide support, and help the student with a disability to navigate or remove informational, physical and attitudinal barriers. Necessary accommodations are dependent on the nature of the disability, the self-report from the student with a disability, as well as the supportive documentation. The most common necessary accommodations include the following (not to an exhaustive list):
- Extended time on exams
- Distraction-reduced testing environment (OAR Testing Center)
- Note-taking options (i.e., LiveScribe Pen, digital recording device, volunteer note-taker, etc.)
- Text-to-speech reader program (Read & Write Gold)
- Alternative format for texts/materials (i.e., Braille, large print, digital, etc.)
Individuals seeking accommodations must register with the OAR by self-identifying and providing documentation to support their request. Necessary accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis. For more information, please contact the director, Heather Fowler, firstname.lastname@example.org or 570.577.1188.
Career Development Center
The director and other professionals in this office are available to advise you in all matters pertaining to the world of work, including general occupational trends and your own future career development. You may wish to explore the possible relationship between summer plans and your future goals.
You are encouraged to discuss your future career plans with your faculty adviser and with other faculty members.
The academic deans are available to help you become more aware of possible relationships between curricular choices and future career plans.
Counseling & Student Development Center
Professional members of the Counseling & Student Development Center staff will work with you to help you better understand your values, personality traits and abilities.
Bucknell offers graduate work leading to a master's degree in many disciplines: animal behavior, biology, chemistry, education, engineering (chemical, civil, electrical, environmental and mechanical), English, mathematics and psychology. The presence of graduate students enriches our undergraduate programs. In general, graduate study is recommended for those students of high ability who plan to become specialists or intend to go into teaching or research.
At Bucknell, well-qualified students in several disciplines may integrate their undergraduate and graduate studies, beginning in their junior or senior year. This integrated program results in better preparation for advanced graduate courses and a longer period of time for the thesis project. For some students this may reduce the time necessary to complete all requirements for both degrees. Presently the departments of biology, chemistry, mathematics, chemical, civil, electrical, environmental and mechanical engineering offer this combined BS/MS degree program.
For further information you may contact the Office of Graduate Studies at 570.577.3655.
The Office of Admissions can answer many of the questions you may have about coming to Bucknell. For information in specific areas, your inquiries may be directed as shown below.
College of Arts & Sciences: Associate Dean Lynn Breyfogle 570.577.3293 or email@example.com
College of Engineering: Associate Dean Terri Norton, 570.577.3705 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Freeman College of Management: Associate Dean Ivy Kepner, 570.577.1337 or email@example.com
Stephen Apanel, Director of Housing Services 570.577.1195
27. When will I learn about which classes I will be taking for the fall semester? What happens if I want to change a course I was assigned?
Your classes will be available in myBucknell during the second week of August.
You will be permitted to make changes to your schedule if you have AP scores or transfer credit that already provide you credit for the course in which you were placed. Please contact the Registrar’s office at 570.577.1201.
You will also be permitted to change if you have a disability that will interfere with your success with this schedule. Please contact the OAR office at 570.577.1188.
Coaches will work with students’ academic schedules, so there is no need to change schedules due to athletic concerns.
If there is a different reason for your desire to change classes, you may talk with your adviser during orientation and can work together to make the change prior to the start of classes.