Bucknell University Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Alexandra

challenging

Lauren

i really enjoyed my professors, who were really supportive in my unconventional studies (using bucknell standards). there are definitely some bad professors at bucknell, but more so, there are better ones, and in my department, i'm so lucky to have all really amazing professors, who have taken the time to meet my academic goals and cater to my intellectual interests. bucknellians don't really have intellectual conversations outside of the classroom (depending who you are and who your friends are), but ive definitely had some and even maybe one or two heated arguments. if you're really looking for one, it's there. if you expect to have a group of friends that will stimulate you intellectually, "broaden your horizons", do drugs with you, pull an all-nighter, hit up an off-record frat party, and wear the most expensive designer brands, you are probably kidding yourself, painfully. as i did. i feel like most bucknellians are worried about getting a decent job than they actually just want to learn for learning's sake. i especially get that from students in engineering. the people that typically major in business tend to be the most pretentious and i really wonder what they are paying $50k a year for. otherwise, once in a while, you'll meet someone who is genuinely enthusiastic about their academics/curiosities, and it's very refreshing. those type of people are also at bucknell - if someone is willing, again, to look.

Alex

I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the thing I like most about Bucknell (besides from my awesome group of friends! Love you guys). School here means getting to know both your classmates and teachers. The school isn’t that large, about 3500, so you will start to realize who is in your major pretty quickly, which makes it easier to find people you can study with. The teachers here are always more than willing to help you with any problems or questions you have. It always shocks me how much the teachers want to help you. I’ve never been one to ask for help, and I always assumed that if I did, I would seem stupid to my professor, but after getting over that fear (this will be necessary for most of you) I realized that everyone of my teachers were caring, understanding and very helpful. And you have every opportunity to get help if you need it. For example, we have Calculus tutor hours from 7-9 every night of the week, where you can go to ask for help on HW from experienced math majors. Great deal, huh? Plus, what better way to learn than to get involved in research. I can’t believe how easy it was for me to get involved in research with one of my professors. I literally looked through different teachers’ research and found a project that really interested me and I emailed the teacher, explaining what my interests were, and how I thought her/his research would help me develop those interests. And to think, my heart was never really into school before college, but now I have this unquenchable thirst for learnin’ (yah, I’m not quite there yet!). Basically, I can’t explain to you how much I enjoy classes here.

Jamie

As I said before, due to Bucknell's size, my classes have so far been pretty small, and I'm just entering as a sophomore this year! The professors I have had are all nice, extremely intelligent, and have a genuine passion for wanting their students to learn (however, I will say that I've utilized ratemyprofessors.com for each one. Probably saved me a ton of stress). They are not only active researchers in their discipline but active teachers, too. I absolutely love that. My favorite class so far has got to be HUMN/PHIL/ENGL 098 (it's cross-listed), also known as Myth, Reason, Faith. It was my freshman seminar I took as part of the Humanities College. My instructor was Professor Larson, who is also my adviser, and to this day she's my fave. Take her if you can! My least favorite class so far was CSCI 203, or Intro to Computer Science I. Let's just say that I know now that I don't want to be a CSCI major... As a student of the College of Arts and Sciences, I would say that the education at BU is geared toward learning for its own sake. The core requirements are minimal, allow you so much freedom to explore different fields, and learn what you want to learn. I don't know how it is for the engineering college, though.

Sarah

By the end of the semester, most of my professors will know my name since most of the classes max out at 20 students. It mght be harder in a class with closer to 100 students like an intro level science class like Biology. My favorite class and most unique class was called "Fatal Attractions". It was a 18th century lit and delt with topics such as Libertines, Gothic Novels and sexuality in Literature. My professor loved teaching these topics and was so enthusiastic, even at 8am.

Robert

The Psychology and Physics departments at Bucknell are amazing. All of the teachers know an amazing amount of information about their respective fields and they make sure to cover as many details as possible, even when talking about something that may seem inconsequential. Their aim is to make you learn, as that will always make for a better resume and a better person. All of the faculty warmly welcome you into their office at all times, and I have come to know a few on a firsthand basis. They're fun and intelligent! As a friend once said, "They're like inquisitive kids in a grown-ups body."

Lauren

Academics here span the spectrum. Some of my classes, mostly introductory lectures, have been 100 or more students, while many of my upper level classes have been less than 15 students. By the end of my time here, I've been able to form a close bond with 3 or 4 professors, but sometimes it seemed as though students who weren't exceptionally outgoing (as most students at Bucknell are) were overlooked. The motto "work hard, party hard" has never been more appropriate than here at Bucknell. Students study throughout the week, and on Sunday nights, but always manage to have a good time. One of the good things about Bucknell is you can choose your path in almost anything -- you can choose to be job-oriented, or you can choose to learn for the sake of learning. You can enter without a clue of what you'll be doing in 4 years, and come out feeling like you've earned an amazing education. The general education (Common Learning Agenda) snaps you out of your focus of study and gives you the opportunity to embark on new journeys any way you choose.

Robin

My professors are amazing. I've gotten to be very close to so many of them, from taking small seminars and from their willingness to work with me outside of class time. Although a lot of students try to skate by without doing much work, and that can sometimes detract from my own experience, when I've reached out to a professor they've always reached back. The general requirements are very broad, so you are able to make your time here geared toward whatever interests you - either preparing for a job or learning for learning's sake.

Gaby

Actually I think every professor I've had knew my name. My favorite thus far was History 247 with Prof. Dym. I'm a history nerd and it was on crime and punishment in premodern europe, a new topic for me. Least favorite has been Geology...I hate lab sciences. Hah on any given night you can find half of my team (at least) in the library or study somewhere on campus. I'd say class participation is pretty common, at least for the classes I've been in . Intellectual conversation outside of class: yes, sometimes. Yea we're pretty competitive, pretty driven to due well at least. Most unique class: History of witchcraft. I love being a history major. It's what I'm interested in, and my professors are just as interested. Don't spend time with professors outside of class, but I know people who do. I'd say the university requirements are pretty well rounded. Probably geared towards both between the professors teaching and the cdc working with you to get a job or internship.

Allison

All of my professors know my name and make an effort to get to know each of their students. Bucknell students are competitive, but there isn't a cut-throat atmosphere at all.

Dylan

Yes Its not interesting, you dont wana know Any other major except engineers has a jolly fun time. Yes Yes. Or at least we try. Constant smell of the cow poop in the air makes it hard to think. Ok. Good balance between those. You will get a job most likely if you graduate.

Tommy

Great, I can't compare it to another college since this is the only place I've been. But I'm only a freshman and I'm in a class of about 15 when my professor asked me to work on a project with him.

Michael

I'm a computer science student. The department is small, but that's one of its strengths. I know all of the professors by name -- and, perhaps more importantly, they know me by name, too. Most of them have been accessible during working hours, and I see a good number at department-related events outside of classes. I've even been invited to dinner by some of them! The program is great, although I don't agree with the inclusion of all the required courses. My only real complaint is that the department is geared towards getting a job, and not encouraging students to pursue their own interests in computer science. I'd personally like to see more theory. A good percentage of students at Bucknell study very hard, but some don't study a whole lot at all; there's a good mix. Most of my courses are lectures, so I look forward to seminars in which there is more discussion than lecturing. Class participation varies: last spring I took a course on Greek comedy that had a lot of interesting discussion, whereas this semester I have an interdisciplinary course on technology and information ethics in which few students say provocative. Intellectual conversations outside of class are, for me, few and far between; if you go to the library, you're more likely to hear students talking about how much they drank the night before than anything approaching intellectual discussion. However, if you find the right people, you can certainly find fun discussion. I do think students at Bucknell are a bit too competitive and focused on what job they'll have after graduation and how much money they'll make, rather than pursuing education for education's sake.

Meg

The professors at Bucknell are wonderful! Most of them are available for outside help, the classes are pretty small too so you can get one-on-one time with your professor. Class participation is usually a must. The average Bucknellian has a "work hard, play hard" attitude in regards to the academic/social life balance. You definitely have to study to do well, but that's just college in general. Bucknell has a great alumni base which is great for networking for jobs and things like that, but Bucknell's recruiting benefits mostly for the engineering and finance industries.

Devin

All of my professors know my name and we call most of them by their first names, which I think creates a great atmosphere for learning as mature adults. My department (Physics) is really great. It's very small, with a graduating class of about 10 majors per year, so classes are very small and we get alot of individual attention from professors. Our labs are also really wonderful - we do alot of very interesting experiments that I don't think other schools do. The professors int he department also know all of the majors and are very willing to help us with anything - from reccomendation letters for internships, help with finding grad schools, to homework help or even supplementary math help. If you need help they are always there and willing to help - even if you're not in their class. I think Bucknells academic requirments are very reasonable and allow you enough freedom to have plenty of electives and explore things outside of your major, but at the same time you don't have to spend alot of time doing general requirments and can really get into the material important to your major right away. Something I also think is great is that we are always taught by real professors. A friend that goes to a bigger school has alot of classes taught by grad student TAs, and I think that if you are paying so much to go to college you should get real professors who are willing and excited to teach students rather than just do research all the time and leave the teaching to TAs.

Drake

Some classes are a little large, but you still get personal attention if you seek it out (and sometimes even if you don't)! I entered and had two sizeable classes, but dedicated professors who helped me to transition to college and make the experience wonderful! Students all are driven to succeed, but aren't competitive at the expense of others. Most professors don't grade on a curve so that we're encouraged to help each other to perform at our best by studying together or sometimes collaborating on homeworks. That has been wonderful. Participation is common, especially depending on the department and professor.

Kris

Professors are usually pretty good about knowing names. I've had coffee or lunch with more than a couple of them, not necessarily to talk about class. The "big" classes usually only have about 60 students in them, and that really only happens at the introductory level (in the sciences). After that, classes are rarely ever bigger than 25 people, and in seminars, class size ranges from 6-15 people.

Michelle

My major only has four professors and they all know me by name. They are extremely friendly and accessible. Not all are like that of course, but they are accessible and at least courteous. Engineers seem to get close to their professors. Bucknell professors really are great. Classes are great because students actually participate. In many of my classes, great discussions get started and it's even taken out of the classroom. But attendance at lectures, educational films, and discussion groups outside of class is slim.

Joe

Once again, in general, I am extremely pleased with the academic personality of the university. Bucknell does a good job helping students with a wide variety of interests, at least as long as those students are in the college of arts of science. As long as you are active in class discussion, professors will know you by name, which is so comforting at times. There are better professors than others, but that is simply life at work. Outside of class, the competitiveness of students changes from student to student, clique to clique. There are many students that begin worrying about GRE's sophomore year, but I have felt no pressure like that personally. Some of my best learning experiences have come from just talking in a friend's dorm room, exploring the world's vast array of problems. As for career help, I am planning to attend seminary, which needless to say is an area that I explore through my pastor and other Christian leaders.

Rebecca

I love my professor and my classes. Even the ones I had to take, such as baby-bio and geography. The classes and professors for my majors are fantastic. They are engaging, interesting, educational. My professors all know my name (I am a huge suck up) and we actually have conversations after class. My favorite class was, hmm....jeeze, dunno. Ancient technology? Early English Novel? City of Athens? Roman and Etruscan Art and Archaeology? Contemporary American Novel? US Fever Fantasy and Desire? Its too hard to say. I love the classes that are discussion based, although City of Athens was purely lecture...he is an awesome lecturer. I hate boring lectures and classes where no one talks...those are killers. I study all the time, but some say they never do, I guess you will never know. My friends and I have intellectual conversations (we had one yesterday about the viability of cannibalism) and I am assuming others do too. I don't think we are an overly competitive campus, unless you are talking about beer pong. I love being an English and Classics majors, the classes are always intellectually stimulating, although classics courses are more interesting. the classics department is much cooler (smaller) and I know all the professors; english, not so much. And education is geared towards learning for learning's sake, not getting a job (I'm bitter about that right now...what the hell do I want to do with all this worthless knowledge?)

Quinn

Logic with professor Fleming is perhaps the most fantastic class I've ever taken. He has been teaching it for decades and I believe that his class is truly part of the Bucknell experience. He has a dry sarcastic sense of humor which he demonstrates often, but he really knows his stuff and draws students in. There are many students who get a philosophy minor which is really a minor in Fleming, because they just take all four of his regularly offered courses. Students here don't always seem like it, but are mostly very smart and interested in their fields. They didn't come here just to party or because it was convenient (it certainly isn't cheap). If a student chooses Bucknell, it is because they want to do well in their lives, so they are committed to not screwing up and throwing away all of that money. My major is Animal Behavior, which is what I came to the school for. It is a truly phenomenal program. There are three species of primate on campus and tons of other animals that the different professors work with, or that are used in the labs. This semester, I started working with one of the grad students on her study of post-conflict behavior in our Hamadryas baboons. I get to go to a lunch almost every Friday where faculty present research that they have been conducting in the field of animal behavior and discuss their work with us.

Casey

the language programs are amazing! they're really hardcore...but you feel really prepared afterwards! students are really open to studying outside of class in groups. so are professors! students don't seem really competitive, they just work really hard. i've heard history of sexuality is a great class...but i don't think it's for me... more about learning for its own sake rather than just getting a job. getting a job seems secondary. im an east asian studies major with a concentration in Japanese. asian languages are hardcore and you hit the ground running!

Allison

All professors know the names of their students, because classes are very small. My favorite class was US Foreign Policy in the Persian Gulf by Professor Massoud, in which we discussed the current situation with the US in Iraq and what that means for our involvement with the rest of the region. It was a small seminar and there was a ton of student involvement. The academic requirements sound like a lot, but really are not overwhelming at all.

Reese

I'd say 95% of my professors know my name, but that's because I take smaller size classes. Some of my favorite classes have been linguistics 210, Logic, Russian. They have all been great classes. I also really enjoyed 3rd World Development...it gets you to think in a different perspective. Students care about their grades and participate in class. I think the academic requirements are good. Having a language and an environmentally geared class could be additional good requirements. I have friends (especially BS majors) that complain about the requirements though because they think that it's a lot easier for BA's to meet requirements than BS majors to meet them. Some of the majors are not necessarily geared very well towards getting a job (more the learning phase) but I know that several departments are currently changing their major requirements.

Blake

All my professors know me by name and I have a lot of the same professors over again because of the subjects that I am interested in. They go out of their way to try to help students. I really appreciate the extra things they will do for a student. Bucknell educated students know a lot about a lot and I think it's fantastic.

Dale

Professors are amazing at Bucknell, they really are here for the students, to teach. They know your name, even years after you took their class. Most classes are discussion based, there is some lecture, but open thought and opinion is encouraged.

Parker

Academics at Bucknell are amazing. Our professors are dedicated, and our class sizes are ideal. We boast of our reputation as the largest liberal arts college that is able to maintain great student-teacher relationships and small class sizes. I am an English major, and have overall been satisfied with my classes. One particular professor, who taught Medieval literature, would schedule office hours with all of his students every week to talk about paper topics and the reading material. He held a few classes downtown in a restaurant and bought us breakfast, courtesy of the English department. He actively tries to help students publish their work and attain internships in the community. Additionally, I am a member of the English club, and our funding is amazing. Several times per semester, we all get copies of a book of our choice, and then the English department sponsors an outing at a local restaurant, during which we eat and talk about the book. Unfortunately, my experience with my other major, East Asian Studies, has been less than satisfactory. This is due, for the most part, to deficiencies in funding rather than to the efforts of the professors. The East Asian Studies department is fairly small, and I have taken classes with only 4 professors throughout my four years here. I am forced to take an introductory class that is intended to be a cross-cultural analysis of all of East Asia; however, the professor who teaches it is under-qualified, using class time to channel the textbook, both in terms of language and content. He fails to answer most question that are asked, simply because he does not know the answers. It is the most useless and infuriating experience that I have had thus far at Bucknell.

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