The University Academy was established in 1849 as a preparatory school for male students to prepare them for admission into colleges. Associated with the University at Lewisburg, the University Academy was open to male students interested in pursuing some collegiate studies or portions of the Theological course and who were deficient in some elementary branches which were not taught in colleges or theological seminaries. Students interested in teaching in public schools were accommodated with a course of study designed to prepare them for teaching.
The University Academy's Classical and English divisions were separated into two distinct departments in 1869: the University Preparatory Department and the University English Academy. The University Preparatory Department was under the supervision of the faculty of the College and offered two years work as a preparation for admission into the Classical Program of the College. The University English Academy prepared students for admission into the Scientific Program of the College or for teaching in public schools. In 1879 the English Academy and the Preparatory Department were united to re-form the University Academy. In 1887, the University Academy was renamed the Bucknell Academy. By 1917, the Bucknell Academy closed as enrollments had declined significantly.