Penn State Mark    Bachelor of Philosophy


Students in the Bachelor of Philosophy work with a faculty mentor to develop an individually tailored undergraduate major that enables them to pursue academic and artistic discovery unavailable through traditional majors and program concentrations.  Each student completes a senior capstone project or thesis.  Students should apply for admission before their junior year.

The admissions process asks students to: identify and secure the support of a faculty member who will serve as a mentor and adviser; examine carefully whether their undergraduate educational goals can be met through an existing academic major, or whether doing so requires a unique program of courses and activities; develop a proposed course of study that provides the academic breadth and depth associated with the completion of a disciplinary major; and attend a Bachelor of Philosophy admissions interview during which each of these issues and others may be discussed.

Bachelor of Philosophy students must be self-motivated and able to engage in a sustained program of academic discovery culminating in a capstone project or thesis that is shared with others.  Students and their faculty mentors use the program to bring unique combinations of study and discovery, often interdisciplinary in nature, to bear on intellectual and artistic issues.  The Bachelor of Philosophy Degree Program is appropriate for the student whose intellectual or artistic approach to a way of knowing requires work beyond the scope or disciplinary approach associated with otherwise available majors.

Faculty mentors assist students in planning their academic programs and in achieving their Bachelor of Philosophy goals. A student’s written or oral presentations and courses, labs, fieldwork, theses, projects, and performances, may provide some of the means through which mentors direct the learning path to document academic success.

The Bachelor of Philosophy Degree Program is administered by an intercollege faculty committee working through the Office of Undergraduate Education.  The mentor need not be a member of the committee.  The intercollege faculty committee is responsible for admitting students, annually examining the progress of all students in the program, and approving the completion of degrees based on the certification made by a faculty mentor and the successful presentation of an appropriate capstone at a Bachelor of Philosophy seminar or other approved forum.

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