College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences offers programs of study leading to five degrees: the bachelor of arts, the bachelor of science, the bachelor of science in business administration, the bachelor of science in education, and the bachelor of music. The programs are designed to carry out the educational objectives of the university through courses in the humanities, the social sciences, the natural sciences, and mathematics.
The curricula of the college are primarily organized around the several departments of instruction, each of which is based in turn upon one of the major disciplinary fields of inquiry traditionally recognized in the wider world of higher education, both in the United States and abroad. In each of its varied and diverse parts, the college offers challenging opportunities for general education and for intensive academic exploration, for breadth and for depth. Consequently, candidates for degrees in arts and sciences, regardless of the specific degree or major, are required to demonstrate high capability in general as well as in specialized study.
Although students will satisfy the requirements in different ways, each student must devise a program in accord with the Common Learning Agenda.
The Common Learning Agenda
Education for the 21st century should have as its goal the liberation of students to be critical and complex thinkers, lifelong learners, and free and original decision makers who have learned compassion, civility, and a concern for social justice as part of their educational maturation. The Common Learning Agenda was developed by the College of Arts and Sciences to give students the opportunity to acquire the education they will need in order to live and work successfully in the 21st century. The various components of the Common Learning Agenda help in different ways to realize this goal, but they all address a concern for how students learn as well as for what they learn. The six components are: (1) Foundation Seminar, (2) Disciplinary Breadth, (3) Broadened Perspectives for the 21st Century, (4) Disciplinary Depth, (5) Capstone Experience, and (6) Writing Competency.
1. Foundation Seminar
Each first-year student will enroll in a small seminar of about 15 students, usually in the fall semester. Foundation Seminars are offered by many different faculty and focus on a wide variety of subjects. Whatever the topics, they are designed to cultivate the attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary for students to benefit maximally from a Bucknell education and to negotiate the complexities of the modern world. The seminars will stress the following: active, independent learning; collaborative learning; development of students’ capacity for analysis, reflection, judgment, and creativity; multiple perspectives; and development of skills students need in order to engage in intellectual endeavors at Bucknell and beyond. These courses will address foundational skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking and also develop students’ ability to use the library effectively and to use computers (e.g., word processing, simulations, use of a database, or analysis of data).
For bachelor of arts students, the seminar instructor serves as academic adviser for the first two years; for students in the various bachelor of science and bachelor of music degrees, the 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.
2. Disciplinary Breadth
The general purpose of a distribution program is the broadening of intellectual and experiential horizons. Such results can be achieved by means of formal study in the three major divisions of the College of Arts and Sciences: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics. Students are required to distribute their courses of study throughout these major divisions in order to achieve disciplinary breadth.
In planning an undergraduate program, students should choose some courses that will introduce them to kinds of study, disciplines, cultures, and issues that are new to them or with which they have had little previous experience. They should seek courses that will enlarge their capacity to make informed and responsible decisions concerning "life interests": that is, their values — social, moral, political, and religious; their prospects for a career; and their knowledge of themselves.
It also is wise to select some courses that will take advantage of previous study. Particularly in language and mathematics, continuity is most important, and the student who is either interested in such subjects, or who will need them as prerequisites for future work, should continue these studies without interruption by taking appropriate courses during the first year. Entering students who continue a foreign language are placed in appropriate courses according to their preparation and proficiency.
In seeking to achieve disciplinary breadth, students will be guided in their selection of courses by the following divisional requirements and objectives. (Note that the humanities and the social science requirements may be fulfilled by any courses in the appropriate division; in the natural sciences, two of the courses must have laboratories.) These requirements should be completed by the end of the fourth semester unless the student’s degree program specifies a different timetable.
a. Humanities – four courses (no more than two in one department)
The humanities include: art, art history, Chinese, classics, dance, East Asian studies, English, French, German, Greek, history, humanities, Japanese, Latin, Latin American studies, music, philosophy, religion, Russian, Spanish, theatre, some women’s and gender studies.
The fundamental purpose of humanistic study is the development of the critical and creative faculties of each student. Study in the humanities allows students to explore their individual and collective identities, their positioning in history, and their relations to the various environments upon which human life depends. Courses in art, classics, creative writing, dance, music, history, languages, literature, philosophy, religion, and theatre allow students to discover and develop their creative and critical abilities. These disciplines also provide an opportunity to study texts, artifacts, and other products of human cultures in order to understand those objects as well as the peoples and cultures that produce them.
b. Social Sciences – two courses (in two different disciplines – that is, in two different departments, with the exception that sociology and anthropology count as separate disciplines)
The social sciences include: anthropology, economics, education, some environmental studies, some geography, international relations, linguistics, management, political science, psychology, sociology, some women's and gender studies.
The social sciences study the myriad dimensions of human behavior and human relationships from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. An adequate understanding of individuals, organizations, and societies requires careful research and analysis. In addition, through social science analysis we can begin to understand the profound social problems faced by humankind in the past, present, and future. Different branches of the social sciences employ different methodologies and define their scope of inquiry differently as they seek to comprehend individual and social life and to develop policies and other means of intervention. Thus, in order to gain a broad understanding of social science analyses, each student should be exposed to the content and methodology of at least two social science disciplines.
c. Natural Sciences and Mathematics – three courses (specifically, two natural science laboratory courses and one other course in natural sciences, mathematics, or computer science.)
The natural sciences and mathematics include: astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, some environmental studies, some geography, geology, mathematics, physics.
The study of any discipline would be incomplete without first-hand experience working with and interpreting the fundamentals of that discipline. Just as literature courses must analyze original works, courses in the division of natural sciences and mathematics must engage students in actually doing mathematics and science in ways typical of these disciplines. In general, it is particularly important that they know and understand
a. how science does and does not work
b. the application of scientific and mathematical principles
c. the distinction between science and dogma, and
d. sufficient fundamentals to be able to communicate with othereducated individuals about the wonders and beauty of our natural and theoretical worlds and to make informed decisions on issues affecting humans and their environment.
Laboratory courses reflect the principle that students most effectively gain their knowledge in the sciences through a hands-on approach. An additional course in mathematics or computer science or science (with or without lab) emphasizes the importance of continuing to develop math/science literacy to prepare for life in the 21st century.
3. Broadened Perspectives for the 21st Century
The world that our students will enter as they leave Bucknell is characterized by long-standing human and social problems such as war, poverty, and family violence; technological and scientific advances that have saved lives and enhanced our daily living and at the same time created or exacerbated environmental problems; an increasingly diverse population; and above all, a very rapid rate of change that makes it hard to predict what challenges will face us in the future. The goal of this component of the Common Learning Agenda is to prepare students intellectually for life and work in the 21st century by focusing their attention on two dimensions of our changing world: the interdependence of our natural and fabricated worlds and human diversity of race, gender, ethnicity, and culture.
In seeking to achieve broadened perspectives, students will be guided in their selection of courses by the following requirements and objectives. These requirements may be completed at any time during the student’s four years.
a. Perspectives on the Natural and Fabricated Worlds – one course (from a list of courses which is available at http://www.bucknell.edu under Course Information.)
Through courses addressing these perspectives, students will come to understand the connections among the human, natural, and fabricated worlds. Courses meeting this requirement focus on the influence and impact of technology on society and environment or principles that help us to live harmoniously with the natural world. These courses deal with topics such as: operations of natural systems and the effects of human interactions with these systems; new developments in technology that may have profound environmental consequences and that also promise to change our social lives and the ways in which we understand ourselves; the history of human attempts to understand our role in the natural and fabricated worlds and the ways in which we have constructed our relationships, both of dominance and of interdependence, with these worlds.
b. Perspectives on Human Diversity – one course (from a list of courses which is available at http://www.bucknell.edu under Course Information.)
Courses addressing these perspectives foster an appreciation for human differences grounded in knowledge of others, which is an essential precondition for tolerance and respect, values of central importance for our human community. Courses meeting this requirement focus on themes of human diversity within and across national borders. These courses treat such topics as: the meanings we attach to linguistic, physical, cultural, or social differences; the ways in which different societies have coped with racial or ethnic diversity; cultures or cultural products of countries or regions whose primary language is not English or developing countries or regions whose primary language is English; diversity along racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, and/or gender lines in the United States or in an international context.
4. Disciplinary Depth
While the disciplinary breadth and broadened perspective requirements seek to provide exposure to the range of human and educational endeavors, specialized study allows the student to explore the methodology and scholarship of a specific field of study. As such, one is able to understand and appreciate the value of focus in a particular discipline, thereby more fully understanding and appreciating the value of sustained study and scholarship. In pursuing the disciplinary depth objective – through fulfillment of the requirements of a major – it is possible not only to begin to master a field of study but also to begin to build connections to the disciplinary breadth objectives of knowledge integration and multiple perspectives.
Majors may be pursued in either the bachelor of arts degree program or from among the several bachelor of science and professional degree programs offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. When a major is available in more than one degree program, the choice of degree will likely depend upon the student’s overall educational objectives: those seeking to emphasize a broader grounding in the liberal arts may choose the bachelor of arts degree program; those seeking to emphasize more sustained study in the major field may choose one of the bachelor of science or professional degree programs. Regardless of the choice of degree program, however, students will have the opportunity to fulfill all of the objectives of a liberal education and of specialization and to prepare for future endeavors, including advanced study.
THE BACHELOR OF ARTS MAJORS
The bachelor of arts degree program provides both a minimal and a maximum number of courses to be studied in the major. Accordingly, in addition to meeting the College's Common Learning Agenda requirements and objectives, the student is encouraged, and has ample opportunity, to pursue electives which will supplement and further broaden the educational experience.
The end and aim of such an extended, and extensive, liberal studies education is the development and orientation of an intelligent and a responsible individual. The liberal studies are the starting point and constant preoccupation of men and women who are committed to the belief that knowledge is important for its own sake and that the pursuit of perfection is worth all the work that it requires. After college, students who have elected liberal studies may discover great practical advantage, for they have laid the foundations for an understanding of their cultural heritage, of the contemporary world, of the hierarchy of values, and of themselves. They also have learned much about their own abilities, their strengths, and their limitations.
For the student who has professional ambitions, and who therefore faces the prospect of spending from three to six years in specialized graduate study, the curriculum of liberal studies is invaluable. Graduate schools as well as training programs in industry are coming to expect a liberal education as a qualification for admission.
Liberal education is not incompatible with specialization. It is liberal education that gives a broader usefulness to specialization. Graduate and professional schools and employment training programs expect that specialized instruction be based on a liberal foundation. Because it establishes the conditions for development of an individual's potential, such a foundation becomes a means of achieving a higher degree of professional and technical competency. It stabilizes the balance of judgment and supports the resourcefulness and the creativity of the specialist.
The process of attaining the bachelor of arts degree serves in achieving the goals of a liberal education. Each student who is a candidate for this degree, with the assistance of a faculty adviser, is required to plan a personal program of study. It is obvious that the planning of such a program is itself a task of considerable difficulty and that it may well be the most demanding responsibility a student must face. When it is wisely carried out, it will represent a major achievement of the undergraduate years.
The major must be chosen no later than the second semester of the sophomore year. (Occasionally a student will undertake a double major, which entails meeting all obligations of each of the two fields selected.)
Three types of major programs are available:
The Established Departmental and Interdepartmental Majors
Students who wish to pursue a major in a discipline may do so by selecting from among many established programs: animal behavior, anthropology, art, art history, biology, chemistry, classics, comparative humanities, computer science, East Asian studies, economics, education, English, environmental studies, French, geography, geology, German, history, international relations, Latin American studies, mathematics, music, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religion, Russian, sociology, Spanish, theatre, and women’s and gender studies. Ordinarily, students select a major during the fourth semester of study, at which time the program of studies is established in consultation with an academic adviser and approved by the department or interdepartmental program chair concerned. A major normally requires a minimum of eight courses.
The Individual Interdepartmental Major
Students in the bachelor of arts curriculum who wish to investigate subjects, issues, or interests that cannot be served practically by the offerings of an established major may do so by proposing an interdepartmental major. This major shall consist of not fewer than eight or more than 12 courses chosen from among the offerings of two or more departments. This procedure will require also the completion for credit of a senior project to serve as a means of unifying the experience of the interdepartmental major. All proposals for individual interdepartmental majors are evaluated and approved by the Interdepartmental Major Committee. Any additional requirements or special adjustments in this program will be made by the Interdepartmental Major Committee in consultation with the student.
For an interdepartmental major, students should follow this procedure:
• In consultation with professors and advisers in the departments offering courses clearly related to their special interests, they should define the limits and the central purpose of a major program of interdepartmental study.
• Next, with the assistance of their advisers, they should prepare a formal proposal including (1) a statement of the reasons they wish to pursue an interdepartmental major, (2) a list of the courses that will constitute their program of study, and (3) a preliminary description of the senior project and the ways in which it will serve to unify and integrate the various courses of study. (A complete and detailed description must be submitted before preregistration in the spring of the student’s junior year.) This formal application normally is due before spring break of the sophomore year.
• Having satisfied these obligations, students should obtain endorsements of their proposals from those members of the faculty with whom they have conferred and from the heads of the departments in which they plan to complete their major.
• Finally, they should be assured that their advisers will continue to assist them, and that one of them will serve as principal adviser or sponsor.
The College Major
Whereas most majors are based upon a field of study and primarily emphasize mastery of the subject, the college major does not require competence in only one academic discipline, but focuses instead upon the overall intellectual development of the individual student. In so doing, it offers maximum freedom in meeting educational interests, but at the same time imposes unusual responsibility for designing a coherent program.
Students who declare college majors must fulfill all disciplinary breadth requirements and attend to the disciplinary breadth objectives for the bachelor of arts degree. In cooperation with their advisers, an acceptable course of study is prepared. They also must complete a senior project which will integrate the diverse material they have studied. This project is planned not later than the final months of the junior year.
To register as a college major, students must prepare a detailed statement of educational goals, projecting a series of courses for the ensuing semester and providing a rationale for their program. This statement must be endorsed in writing by three faculty members, one of whom will initially become the student’s adviser. At preregistration for each succeeding semester, another proposal specifying courses for that term must be submitted to the adviser and the dean. Admission to the college major program after five semesters of study requires approval of the dean. Additional information about the college major may be obtained from the office of the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Within the 32 courses required for the bachelor of arts degree, a maximum of 12 courses may be taken in a single department. However, this 12-course limitation does not apply per se to the following departments: classics; foreign language programs; sociology and anthropology; or theatre and dance. In these departments the limitation applies to each of the programs in which a major is offered.
In those rare instances in which serious deficiency in a student’s major program occurs, the student affected may submit a petition through the faculty adviser and department chair to the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences requesting that an exception be made to the 12-course limit. This right of petition is to be exercised only when a serious deficiency develops in a student's chosen major and after the seriousness of the deficiency has been assessed in the light of the student’s demonstrated pursuit of a broad, liberal education. Evidence of such pursuit should include the use of elective courses, which go beyond the minimal requirements, to more fully realize the disciplinary breadth and the broadened perspective objectives (as noted in the discussion of those requirements). The petition must be recommended by a faculty adviser and endorsed by the student's department chair.
The Bachelor of Science and the Professional Degree Majors
The bachelor of science and the professional degree programs require and permit greater specialization. Each of these programs has more extensive major and major-related requirements than do comparable majors in the bachelor of arts degree program. Unlike the bachelor of arts degree, each of these degree programs does not limit the number of electives which may be taken in the major beyond the minimal requirements.
Natural Sciences and Mathematics
The bachelor of science curricula are offered for those who seek an education founded upon the sciences but including instruction in the humanities and social sciences. These curricula, based on the requisites of scientific knowledge, provide a thorough preparation in the field of the student’s major interest without neglecting complementary study in other areas. After completing one of these curricula, the student is qualified to pursue graduate or professional studies, or to enter research positions in industry. Bachelor of science students generally enter Bucknell having already selected a major.
The College of Arts and Sciences offers bachelor of science majors in animal behavior, biology, cell biology/biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, environmental geology, environmental studies, geology, mathematics, and physics.
Professional Degree Programs
The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A.), Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.), and Bachelor of Music (B. Mus.) programs provide professional development that is strongly grounded in the larger context of a liberal education. Students in these programs, like those in other bachelor of science programs described above, devote a larger proportion of their studies to the major than candidates for the bachelor of arts degree.
Students pursuing the B.S.B.A. degree may major in management or accounting. Students pursuing the B.S.Ed. degree may major in early childhood education, elementary education or secondary education. The B. Mus. program offers majors in performance, music education, composition, and music history.
Satisfactory training for admission into schools of the medical sciences may be obtained through work toward either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree with a major in any department. Most graduate schools require a minimum of undergraduate work equivalent to one year each in biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. Students planning for such careers should consult the catalogs of the schools of their choice for specific requirements and suggested courses and register with the Premedical Advisory Committee as soon as possible after enrollment in Bucknell.
Integrated B.S./M.S. Degrees
Undergraduate students who have completed three years at Bucknell with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.80, and who show aptitude for graduate study, may apply for admission to the integrated bachelor of science/master of science degree program available in the departments of biology, chemistry, or mathematics. This program permits selected students to complete all requirements for both degrees in five years.
5. Capstone Experience
Advanced courses address the need for depth in students’ education; those in the major typically achieve depth partly through specialization as the student advances. Intellectual maturity also involves students understanding their field(s) of specialization in relation to other areas of study, understanding the broader issues for academic disciplines, applying what they know to real problems, and becoming prepared to make committed choices as participants in our complex world. Each student in the College of Arts and Sciences will satisfy the requirement of a Capstone course or an equivalent experience, usually in the senior year after all disciplinary breadth requirements have been completed. The goal of the Capstone Experience is to provide opportunities for students to: (1) integrate knowledge within and across disciplines; (2) reflect and evaluate their entire educational experience; (3) make connections between the topic of focused study and real-world problems and questions that will continue to engage them after they leave Bucknell; and (4) interact with students who have different perspectives in order to foster a collaborative approach to learning and creative problem-solving that will carry over into their future lives.
Capstone courses may be interdisciplinary seminars open to all Arts and Sciences students or they may be offered by individual departments or groups of departments for their own majors. In all cases, they will be small seminars of approximately 15 students in order to ensure maximum participation and interaction among class members.
Students also may fulfill this requirement through independent research projects, internships or other similar activities, or student teaching, provided that they include interaction with other students and are approved as meeting the goals for the Capstone Experience by the supervising faculty member.
The Capstone Experience requirement normally is fulfilled in either semester of the senior year. Although Capstone courses may sometimes be elected earlier, such courses will not count toward fulfilling the Capstone Experience requirement if taken earlier than the second semester of the junior year.
The Capstone Experience offers a unique opportunity within the Common Learning Agenda for realizing in a single academic endeavor the expectations of Bucknell's Mission Statement that "its students become both productive citizens and intellectually mature, self-aware individuals."
6. Writing competency
To satisfy the university writing requirement, a student must successfully complete three writing courses: one course designated W1 (which must be taken during the first year and which must be taken before the W2 courses) and two W2 courses (usually taken after the first year, but, in any case, at least one of which must be taken after the first year). Lists of W1 and W2 courses are available on the Bucknell home page (www.bucknell.edu) under Course Information.
Writing courses are designed to enhance the student’s understanding of the writing process and to emphasize that writing is a way of learning as well as a communication skill. They may be taken in any department, including the student’s major.
Common Learning Agenda Summary
1. Foundation Seminar
One course required of all students in their first year. Foundation Seminars on appropriate topics may count toward the Broadened Perspectives requirement; or, in some cases, Foundation Seminars may count toward the Disciplinary Breadth requirement.
2. Disciplinary Breadth*
a. Humanities – four courses (no more than two in one department)
b. Social Sciences – two courses (in different departments)
c. Natural Sciences and Mathematics – three courses (two laboratory sciences and one other course in natural sciences, mathematics, or computer science.)
3.Broadened Perspectives for the 21st Century**
Foundation Seminars and Disciplinary Breadth courses also may double-count as Broadened Perspectives courses if they address the relevant topics in a significant way.
a. Perspectives on the Natural and Fabricated Worlds – one course
Courses focus on the influence and impact of technology on society and the environment or principles that help us to live harmoniously with the natural world.
b. Perspectives on Human Diversity – one course
Courses address themes of human diversity either within or across national borders.
4. Disciplinary Depth
A departmental, interdepartmental, or college major.
5. Capstone Experience
One integrative course or equivalent experience during the senior year.
6. Writing Competency
One W1 and two W2 courses; also may count toward requirements for Foundation Seminar, Disciplinary Breadth, Broadened Perspectives, Disciplinary Depth, or Capstone requirements.
*The Disciplinary Breadth requirements may be fulfilled by any courses in the appropriate division. (Note that two of the courses in natural sciences must have laboratories.)
**Courses which fulfill the Broadened Perspectives requirement are available on the Bucknell home page (www.bucknell.edu) under Course Information.