Since its inception in 1987, the University Honors College (UHC) has been granted the authority to award the Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) degree. The BPhil is a unique undergraduate degree jointly awarded by UHC and any undergraduate school/college at Pitt, which is the “home school” of the recipient, signifying the highest level of scholarship attainable by an undergraduate student. The BPhil is the degree title and not related to the academic discipline of philosophy; one can pursue the BPhil degree in any undergraduate discipline at the University of Pittsburgh. The BPhil degree replaces the standard bachelor's degree a student would receive; students do not receive a BPhil degree in addition to another undergraduate degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). Please note that in some professional schools the degree awarded will be a jointly-conferred BS or BA, not a BPhil; some professional schools may also give students the option of choosing between a BPhil degree or a jointly-conferred BS or BA degree.
In order to receive the BPhil degree, you must fulfill the degree requirements (major, general education, and/or other curricular requirements) of your “home school” (Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Swanson School of Engineering, College of Business Administration, School of Nursing, etc.) and maintain a 3.50 cumulative GPA. The honors college, then, adds two additional requirements: a demanding program of study proposed by you and approved by the honors college, and independent research culminating in the production of an undergraduate thesis.
Your program of study should have breadth, depth, and focus. Often, this is achieved through a double degree between schools or through double or triple majors in a single school. But even if you have only one major, you can meet the spirit of this requirement if your course work and related academic accomplishments are particularly noteworthy through their rigor. In sum, the program of study component is an indicator that you are willing to challenge yourself academically. To complete the thesis component, you identify and work closely with a faculty member to design and implement a research project related to your academic discipline (i.e., one of your majors) and write a thesis related to that research. You then defend your thesis before a faculty examination committee that includes a visiting external examiner from another college or university within the United States. Students should strive to have the same research experience -- and produce the same caliber of thesis -- as that of a graduate student at the master's level within your academic discipline.