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One Dent Drive
Lewisburg, PA 17837
p. 570-577-2000
w. www.bucknell.edu

Bucknell University

Bucknell University Rating: 3.4/5 (22 votes)

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Ranks 2nd in Pennsylvania and 15th overall
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Located along the banks of the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania, Bucknell is just a few hours’ drive from some of the liveliest urban centers in the country: Washington, DC; Baltimore; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; New York City. But chances are you won’t miss the hubbub of the big city once you arrive on campus. While Bucknell has earned a national reputation as a leader in academics, athletics, social responsibility, extracurricular activities, and student engagement, ask a student or alum what it was that drew them to the university, and they’ll probably tell you that, first and foremost, it was the beautiful, pristine campus that attracted them to Bucknell. Set on 450-acres that adjoin the quaint town of Lewisburg, Bucknell’s buildings are a combination of historic gems and new, stateof- the-art facilities.

Since its founding in 1846, Bucknell has been recognized as an elite private liberal arts college. Originally dubbed the University at Lewisburg, the school was renamed for William Bucknell, a charter member of its Board of Trustees, in 1886. The university was an early advocate for admission of women and minorities: the first female graduated from Bucknell in 1885, the first African-American in 1875, and the first international student in 1864. Offering over fifty majors and sixty minors in its two colleges—the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering—Bucknell has established itself as a place of academic rigor and social variety.

Bucknell students take their academic improvement very seriously. The university is in the top four percent of the most selective colleges in the nation. All students are required to take a foundation seminar class in their first semester on campus; many also opt to join a residential college, a theme-based living and learning environment that combines classroom and co-curricular activities. Students also take a capstone course, either within their majors or across multiple disciplines, during their senior year. Bucknell student- athletes rank in the top five in the nation in graduation rates over a four-year period. In addition, the university offers a number of options for students to pursue independent research projects, scholarly studies, and coauthoring of papers for scholarly journals and conferences. Bucknell professors are committed to excellence in both teaching and research. Ninety-seven percent of full-time faculty members (ninety-two percent of all faculty) hold a Ph.D. or equivalent degree, and the student-faculty ratio is 11-1. The school’s academic program is based in the liberal arts and works to equip students with critical thinking, independent analysis, and problem-solving skills.

But while the primary goal of the university, and of any other higher education institution, is to provide a firm academic foundation for its students, Bucknell is unique in its ability to do so in a social environment that has so much to offer. Bucknell blends its rich heritage and competitive academics with a vibrant Greek life, a wide range of varsity and intramural sports, and numerous clubs and activities (and if you don’t find something you like, no problem—just create a new one). A Bucknell student is likely to be involved in an assortment of activities at any given time, from Ultimate Frisbee to comedy improv, from the Culture Couture fashion club to the BU jazz band, from the Japan Society to the Debate Team. The university provides all this in a community-oriented, collegial environment where individual goals and achievements blend with school spirit and common support.

Five years after graduating from Bucknell, I can still recall many of the lectures I sat through, the sporting events I attended, the conversations I had with professors and friends. This, to me, is what Bucknell is all about—providing a foundation that is solid and rich, with the liveliness and excitement to last a lifetime. While Bucknell’s academic reputation is constantly increasing, it is the combination of so many different opportunities at the university that makes it the ideal match for the student who wants to try it all, in a place where he/she is provided with every chance to succeed.

There are many colleges and universities in the United States that provide a solid academic foundation, an array of activities and social organizations, a chance to study abroad, and an array of services and networking after graduation. However, Bucknell graduates overwhelmingly agree that their school excels at all these things and more, in a spirited, social, engaged environment that allows students to connect to each other, to their professors, to their community, and to themselves.

Bucknell is a school suited to students who want a small, intimate campus that fosters a sense of community and school pride. While there are none of the perks associated with big-city colleges, students can enjoy the charms of a small town. The movie theater is on the historical register, one of the few art deco theaters in the country that are still in operation. There is a Victorian parade the first weekend in December and the annual Arts Festival in April. The university does an excellent job of providing cultural, educational, political, and literary events and speakers that allow students to broaden their perspectives and capitalize on their academic opportunities. Students at Bucknell are rewarded when they are motivated, active, and ambitious—and most Bucknell students are all these things. They come from different backgrounds and have many different goals for success, but their shared experience during their four years at Bucknell unites them in ways that are at once evident and unexplainable.

In the end, Bucknell is a school that provides its students with a rewarding, engaging all-around education. Bucknell students and graduates are among the most accomplished, thoughtful, dedicated, hard-working, and successful in the country. And, most of them will agree, they are also among the luckiest.


Bucknell offers more than fifty majors and sixty minors in its two schools, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering. All students must complete a Foundation Seminar in their first semester on campus; other requirements include four courses in the humanities, three in natural science or mathematics, two social science courses, one course in natural and fabricated worlds, one in human diversity, and a capstone seminar or experience during senior year. This may sound a bit abstract and extensive, but the university offers such interesting, multilayered courses (many of which fulfill more than one requirement), following the required course of study still leaves students with plenty of time to complete major and minor requirements, and even allows students to pursue classes that they find compelling outside of their majors. In addition to the requirements listed, Bucknell also calls for students to have a minimum writing competency for graduation. Popular programs of study include biology, management, and mechanical engineering.

My courses at Bucknell, whether requirements or fun options, were always thought-provoking, engaging, and interesting. I overwhelmingly liked and respected my professors, and felt that I was constantly being presented with new and incisive ways of looking at the material being studied. Oftentimes, the information that we discussed in an English class was also being studied in one of my history or French classes, and in each instance the conversations were both reinforcing and uniquely perceptive. I can still go to museums and remember terms and techniques discussed in the one art history course I took sophomore year. My interests were in the humanities, and yet I had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for introductory biology. From my foundation seminar to my capstone course, I always felt that I was getting my money’s worth from a Bucknell education.

Bucknell’s engineering program is highly acclaimed, which is especially notable for a school whose main focus is in the liberal arts. Engineering students are required to complete the Exploring Engineering course in their first semester. A total of thirty-two courses and a minimum GPA of 2.0 are required for engineering students to graduate. The university’s management program is also noteworthy. As part of a hands-on, practical approach to learning, the management and engineering departments offer a summer program called the Institute for Leadership in Technology and Management (ILTM), in which students attend workshops by faculty and corporate leaders, travel to industrial and business sites, and work with companies on realworld management and technological projects.

Special academic programs at Bucknell include a Washington semester, internships, study abroad, a five-year dual engineering/arts degree, and student-designed majors. There are twenty-three national honor societies on campus, including Phi Beta Kappa, and fiftyfive departmental honors programs. Students can also design their own majors and minors, provided they receive departmental and university approval.


Bucknell’s faculty members represent some of the brightest, most forward-thinking individuals in their fields. Ninety-two percent of faculty at the university hold a Ph.D. or terminal degree. Faculty members are regularly published in academic journals, make presentations at professional meetings worldwide, and receive prestigious research grants and awards. The student-faculty ratio is 11-1, and faculty members are known to go out of their way to offer one-on-one assistance to students.

In my four years at Bucknell, I was privileged to learn from and work with a number of devoted and energetic faculty members, in a rich variety of fields. I always felt I had sufficient access to professors outside of the classroom, and was able to discuss concepts at length in an open, collaborative environment with them. I had several classes with fewer than ten students in them, and felt very much a part of the academic process at the university.

Popular Majors

  • Economics
  • Business Administration
  • English
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Management
  • Mechanical Engineering

Unique Academic Programs

  • Common Learning Agenda
  • Seminar for Younger Poets
  • Philip Roth Writer-in-Residence Program
  • Stadler Semester (for Poetry)
  • Poet-in-Residence Program
  • Institute for Leadership in Management and Technology
  • Presidential Scholars Program
  • Undergraduate Summer Research Program

Academic Resources

Though its campus is small, Bucknell offers a number of state-of-the-art resources to contribute to students’ academic growth. The Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library houses over 800,000 total volumes, including books, magazines, periodicals, CDs, DVDs, and microform items, among others. There is a learning resource center, and computerized library services include interlibrary loan, database searching, Internet access, and laptop Internet portals. It also includes a Special Collections and University Archive section. Nearly all of the campus has wireless capability with the exception of only a few outdoor areas. Bucknell has a renowned art gallery, radio station, observatory, primate center, greenhouse, performing arts center, writing center, photography lab, and engineering structural test lab. Its poetry center, the Stadler Center for Poetry, recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary and is one of only a few poetry centers in the United States.

Study Abroad

Bucknell ranks in the top twenty among bachelor’s institutions nationwide in the number of students studying abroad, with about 300 juniors and first-semester seniors studying in another country each year (more than forty-five percent of eligible students). Students travel to more than sixty countries and focus on a variety of study programs. Bucknell-run programs include Bucknell en France (in Tours, France), Bucknell in London, Bucknell en España (in Granada), and Bucknell in Barbados (near the capital city of Bridgetown). The university also has summer programs in a variety of locations, such as Northern Ireland, Barbados, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Bucknell also offers students the opportunity to volunteer in Nicaragua through its popular program called the Bucknell Brigade. Founded in 1999 to provide emergency relief following Hurricane Mitch, the Brigade travels each year to Nueva Vida, a facility built from Brigade donations outside of Managua. During their trip, students and staff work together to provide residents with medicine and supplies, and to assist with manual labor projects, while learning about micro-enterprise initiatives, grassroots development, and the history and culture of Nicaragua. While not a program of study abroad, the Brigade has become a popular way for students to spend Spring Break, and is most certainly a learning experience for those who participate.

Special Facilities

  • Outdoor Natural Area
  • Primate Facility
  • Uptown (Alcohol-Free Night Club)
  • 7th Street Café (Coffee Shop)
  • Tustin Theater
  • 18-Hole Golf Course
  • Photography Lab
  • Race & Gender Resource Center
  • Multimedia Lab
  • Conference Center
  • Craft Center
  • Herbarium
  • Engineering Structural Test Lab

Greening the Campus

Bucknell students and leaders are very dedicated to making the campus more environmentally efficient. The university has implemented a Campus Greening Initiative to promote sustainability and environmental literacy among all members of the university community. The Initiative provides curricular and extracurricular programs using the campus as a learning environment and aims to transform the university’s green footprint.

A recent assessment project implemented by the Greening Initiative provided a thorough understanding of the strengths and accomplishments of the program thus far, as well as a blueprint for future improvement. The university’s power plant, which provides ninetyfive percent of Bucknell’s power, converted from coal power to natural gas more than ten years ago. While the school has undertaken a number of new construction projects and renovations over the last several years, its energy use has remained relatively consistent, reflecting the move to more efficient practices.

While there still remain weak spots in terms of greening the campus, Bucknell is dedicated to continuing to look for new ways to promote sustainability and provide real-world examples of environmental responsibility for students to take with them after they leave campus.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Financial Aid

In a recent issue, SmartMoney magazine ranked Bucknell as the fifth best long-term value among liberal arts colleges and universities, in terms of “return on tuition.” Kiplinger’s Personal Finance also recently ranked Bucknell in the top fifty nationally in terms of best value for private colleges. That said, the university recognizes that quality education has become increasingly difficult to afford for many families. Bucknell has a wide-ranging financial aid program to help students cover the costs of their education. The university offers eligible students a number of financing options, including scholarships, loans, grants, and on-campus employment opportunities.

In 2007–2008, sixty-two percent of full-time freshmen and sixty-four percent of continuing fulltime students received financial aid. The average financial aid package for Bucknell freshmen in 2007–2008 was over $25,000.

Over one-third of Bucknell students work parttime while on campus. Through the Federal Work- Study program, students can find jobs on campus and work eight to ten hours per week while classes are in session. There are also jobs available for students who do not participate in the Federal Work-Study program.

Additional information and specific financial aid package options are available at the university’s Financial Aid Office’s Web site.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 3597th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Pennsylvania.


Bucknell’s distance from major metropolitan areas and the insular nature of its campus would seem to indicate that finding things to do outside of the classroom is somewhat difficult. However, the university provides a wide variety of opportunities for students to participate in clubs, activities, athletics, and volunteer organizations. The Bucknell student’s social life is truly self-determined, and can be just as full and rewarding as those of students at big-city schools.

There are more than 150 clubs and organizations on campus at Bucknell, including music groups, varsity and club sports, performing arts organizations, ethnic groups, gay and lesbian clubs, honor societies, political associations, service groups, a student-run newspaper, and religious clubs, among others. New groups are constantly being created, and dormant ones brought to life again. Bucknell students are very active in volunteer organizations—eighty-five percent of seniors participate in some form of community service.

Bucknell also hosts a number of outside performance groups and speakers throughout the year. The 1,200-seat Weis Center for the Performing Arts regularly holds theater, music, and dance events, as well as political and social lectures and commentaries from some of the world’s leading authorities in their fields. The Bucknell Forum series has featured such prominent speakers as Jim Kramer, Doris Kearns Goodwin, F.W. deKlerk, and Tim Russert. The Janet Weis Fellow in Contemporary Letters award brings noted authors to campus each year, including past winners Toni Morrison, John Updike, Salman Rushdie, Tom Wolfe, Joyce Carol Oates, Derek Walcott, and David McCullough. Other popular activities on campus include the Chrysalis Ball, the student-initiated gala festivities each spring; the Christmas Candlelight service, the Emmy-nominated holiday event featuring the Rooke Chapel Choir and the Rooke Chapel Ringers; readings from world-renowned poets at the Stadler Poetry Center; rotating exhibits at the Samek Art Gallery; and annual student productions of theater and dance shows.

Fraternities and Sororities

Bucknell has a highly active Greek life. There are eleven national fraternities on campus, drawing fifty-four percent of eligible men, and six national sororities, drawing fifty-three percent of eligible women. Fraternity and sorority rush occurs first semester of a student’s sophomore year. These Greek organizations provide students with the opportunity to meet new people, develop their leadership skills, and participate in a number of community service projects.

Most weekends feature a number of fraternity parties and dual fraternity-sorority social events. However, although fraternity and sorority life is vibrant at Bucknell, students who choose not to go Greek are at no disadvantage when it comes to their social lives. They can still attend Greek-sponsored events and participate in a variety of fraternity and sorority functions.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


Bucknell has thirteen varsity sports for men and fourteen for women, along with eighteen intramural sports for men and twenty-one for women. Bucknell is a member of the Division I Patriot League, and has won the Patriot League President’s Cup, the league’s allsports trophy, in fourteen of the last eighteen years. Rival schools include Colgate, Holy Cross, Lehigh, Lafayette, and American. Bucknell ranks among the top schools in the nation in student-athlete graduation rates, according to recent NCAA surveys. In addition,

Bucknell ranks third nationally in terms of the number of student-athletes named to national Academic All-America teams.

Bucknell’s athletic facilities are state-of-the-art for a university of its size. The campus boasts an athletics and recreation center with an Olympic-size pool, a 16,000-squarefoot fitness center, a 4,000-seat basketball arena, a 13,000-seat stadium, hockey and lacrosse fields, baseball fields, and recreational fields for soccer, softball, and other activities, as well as tennis courts, a dance studio, climbing walls, and an 18-hole golf course.

Bucknell provided me with the rare opportunity to compete in Division I collegiate baseball while acquiring a first-rate degree. While my postgraduate path and that of many of my teammates has not included baseball, some have had the opportunity to play professionally. I believe those who participate in athletics at Bucknell embody the true meaning of the student-athlete.

More than seventy percent of Bucknell students played varsity sports in high school, and many choose to take advantage of the university’s extensive intramural and club sports program. Students can join men’s, women’s, or co-recreational teams, including basketball, golf, volleyball, squash, softball, bowling, and tennis, to name a few. There are also twenty club sports for students who want to participate in the competitive team atmosphere of athletics without the commitment of a varsity sports program.


Bucknell graduates are some of the most driven and successful in the nation. According to an August 2008 report in The Wall Street Journal, Bucknell ranked first among liberal arts schools in terms of the mid-career salary rates of its graduates. (The study was performed by PayScale Inc., an online compensation provider.) Bucknell graduates also rank in the top twenty nationwide for the number of graduates who go on to earn doctorates.

Eighty-nine percent of Bucknellians graduate within five years, which is among the highest rates in the country. Within six months of graduation, more than twenty-five percent of students are typically enrolled in graduate school, and almost seventy percent had found employment. The school hosts a number of career and graduate school fairs throughout the academic year, where students can meet and network with alumni and company representatives from a variety of industries, an occasion that often leads to internship and career opportunities.

Prominent Graduates

  • Kunitake Ando ’65, former president, SONY Corporation
  • Robert Andrews ’69, congressman
  • Susan J. Crawford ’69, former chief judge, U.S. Court of Military Appeals
  • Jane Elfers ’83, former president and CEO, Lord and Taylor
  • Edward Hermann ’65, actor
  • Bruce Lundvall ’57, president, Blue Note Records
  • Leslie Moonves ’71, president and CEO, CBS Corporation
  • Philip Roth ’75, author
  • David Scadden ’75, co-director of Harvard University’s Stem Cell Institute

Bucknell’s Career Development Center is dedicated to providing students with an array of services, and can be extremely helpful to students in finding internships and jobs after graduation, as well as continuing career advice and assistance to alumni. The Center’s services include career counseling, assessment testing, employment and networking fairs, internships and externships, job shadowing, resume assistance, interview preparation, and graduate and professional school information.

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