Majoring in college

By Meghan Finlayson

Writer

University students can choose from 47 majors and 62 minors in the College of Arts and Sciences, with the option to apply to the University’s College of Engineering and School of Management.

“The six most popular majors over the last five graduating years are biology, economics, English, management, political science and psychology,” associate registrar Dennis Hopple said.

“In 1925, the economics and political science departments separated,” said Sherri Foster, academic assistant in political science.

The two departments have become very popular among students.

“With 12 faculty members, the department of political science at Bucknell is considerably larger than those at most liberal arts colleges,” said Amy McCready, associate professor of political science.

“At present, 154 students are majoring in political science. Approximately 45 students declare a major in political science each year,” McCready said.

About 100 students major in economics each year, and the economics department continues to grow.

“We will soon be inviting economists from other universities to come to Bucknell to examine our list of courses and recommend areas where new courses would benefit today’s students,” said Thomas Kinnaman, associate professor of economics and chair of the economics department.

“I think a lot of students come into Bucknell undecided, but after taking certain requirements freshman year get a feel for what they really want to pursue as their major,” Betsy Rosen ’13 said.

The most popular minors are economics, Italian studies, mathematics, philosophy, religion and Spanish, according to Hopple.

“Bucknell’s College of Engineering is among a handful of schools focused on an excellent undergraduate experience within a liberal arts context,” said Karen Marosi, associate dean of engineering.

Mechanical and civil engineering are the most popular majors in the College of Engineering. Math, physics and biomedical engineering are popular minors among engineers. The College of Engineering may soon add minors in sustainability and energy.

“Engineering is a very prescribed degree and has many requirements,” Marosi said.

The School of Management is a separate program created for those who hope to pursue careers in management or accounting.

“Approximately 70 percent of B.S./B.A.s are management majors; the other 30 percent are accounting majors. We also offer a five-year joint degree with the College of Engineering,” said Michael Johnson-Cramer, associate professor of management.

“We admit about two-thirds of each class directly as first-years and an additional third at the beginning of their sophomore year. Bucknell B.S./B.A.s bring a rare combination of competence, perspective and responsibility to their work,” Johnson-Cramer said.

The School of Management is currently undergoing many changes, including the implementation of a new curriculum with inter-disciplinary programs.

“This curriculum will be in place for the incoming class of 2015; however, much of the energy and new thinking that our curricular efforts have inspired is already reshaping the courses we offer, the new faculty we hire and the general climate in the School of Management,” Johnson-Cramer said.

The School of Management is also applying for accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

“Receiving AACSB accreditation would recognize Bucknell’s outstanding management program as one of the elite (top five percent) management programs in the world,” Johnson-Cramer said.

Generally, the options for majors and minors are growing and changing to fit students’ needs.

“Curriculum committees have the responsibility of reviewing and approving all changes to majors and minors, and, in addition, the reviewing and approving of new major or minor proposals,” Hopple said.

Most recently, Italian Studies has been added as a major.

“Revision of majors is a fairly consistent and on-going process,” said Robert Midkiff Jr., associate provost and dean of the University’s summer school.

“As departments and programs undergo external reviews and consider the future of their programs, they make changes that reflect the dynamic nature of the disciplines. In recent years, for example, English has added the concentration in film studies, and sociology has added the concentration in culture, media and leisure studies,” Midkiff said.

Students also have the option to create his or her own major.

“Students in the Bachelor of Arts curriculum have two options pertaining to individually focused majors. The [first] is the Interdepartmental major. The proposal is evaluated and approved by the associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. The second major is the College major. Students selecting the College major are required to complete a detailed statement of their educational goals, as well as selecting the courses they wish to have satisfy the major,” Hopple said.

There are many programs offered to students, such as the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy, the Environmental Center and the Stadler Center, all of which exist so students can be more engaged with their majors and minors.

“Bucknell is unique when one considers other liberal arts institutions and when one considers the breadth of majors and minors available to students. In addition to majors that one traditionally finds in the liberal arts, Bucknell has the advantage and distinction of offering professional and pre-professional majors in areas such as engineering, management and education,” Midkiff said.

No majors or minors have been removed at the undergraduate level yet.

“Small departments and programs also are a hallmark of Bucknell. There are no plans to eliminate small departments and programs. Enrollments in departments and programs wax and wane over long periods, and there are departments and programs that have had lower enrollments in one period only to rebound and experience high demand and enrollment later,” Midkiff said. “Part of my job is to take the long view when working with departments and programs, asking questions about where we are at one point and where do we want to be three years, five years, 10 years from now.”

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