Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) Degree

Only offered at a few universities worldwide, the prestigious Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) enhances your bachelor's degree in any major with an independent research thesis.

The BPhil is a highly regarded credential that requires a rigorous curriculum and independent research under the guidance of a dedicated faculty mentor. You will have the opportunity to defend your thesis before a committee of leading scholars in your field, including an external examiner at the forefront of your topic.

The BPhil degree replaces your standard BA or BS degree,* jointly awarded by the Frederick Honors College and the undergraduate school/college of your major. Before beginning the planning process, be sure to review the BPhil requirements.

Getting Started

There are very specific steps one must follow to apply for the BPhil degree.

1. Start Planning

How you begin your planning depends on whether you're a first-year or upper-division student. The key to getting involved in research as an undergraduate is finding the right faculty member with whom to work. There is no "list" of faculty members who are willing to work with undergraduates on the BPhil research project, so becoming involved in research requires some effort on your part by taking the initiative to approach faculty members working in an area of special interest to you.  

2. Choose a Thesis Advisor 

The expectation that BPhil candidates have a research experience similar to that of a graduate student — and produce a thesis of the same caliber as a graduate thesis — is ensured by proper guidance from the student's BPhil thesis advisor.

3. Apply for BPhil Candidacy

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but students must submit their application prior to beginning their last semester of enrollment at Pitt. Students should apply for BPhil degree candidacy as soon as they have identified a faculty member willing to serve as the thesis advisor.

4. Seek Institutional Review Board Approval

If your BPhil project involves human participants, you are required to obtain approval from the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to beginning data collection for your research project.

5. Enroll in Research Credits (optional)

Once admitted to BPhil degree candidacy, you have the opportunity to enroll in Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) thesis research credits through the Frederick Honors College.

6. Apply for funding to support your research (optional)

You can apply for funding directly related to your research project. These funds can be used for "consumable" items related to your research, such as chemical reagents, single-use survey forms, and incentives for research participants. 

Thesis Defense and Graduation  

Follow the BPhil defense and graduation procedures guide as you plan your thesis defense and graduation.