Individualized Study
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

About Concentrations

The initial draft of a BIS concentration is assembled by the student as part of a BIS course, with feedback and support of BIS staff. Upon approval of the proposed concentration by the BIS Program Director, the student begins the process of selecting a faculty mentor. The faculty mentor is responsible for reviewing the proposal with the student, providing appropriate feedback and suggestions, and helping the student develop the proposal into a formal educational contract.

The following guidelines should be referenced and adhered to when developing the proposed concentration and educational contract:

Concentration Title

  • The concentration must not duplicate a traditional major at George Mason University, either in spirit or in title.
  • The concentration title must be expressed in academic language and must reflect the composition of the concentration courses.

Credit Hours

The BIS concentration must contain 34 to 46 credit hours (to include BIS 300, 390, 490, 491).

** Note: Students following a catalogue prior to Fall 2000 are required to have a concentration of 33 to 45 semester credit hours, including BIS 490.

Concentration Requirements

Students enrolled under the GMU catalogue for Fall 2000 or later must include the following courses in their concentration:

  • BIS 300 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies
  • BIS 390 The Research Process
  • BIS 490 BIS Project
  • BIS 491 Senior Project Presentation

Integrated Course Content

  • Coursework representing at least two integrated disciplines must be included in the concentration.
  • Coursework from the disciplines represented, must be fairly balanced; i.e. 50% of each of two disciplines, 33% of each of three, etc. No one discipline should constitute more than 50% of the total concentration.
  • At least 25 core credit hours must be upper division
  • At least 25 credit hours must be from GMU.
  • The concentration may include coursework already completed at GMU and other accredited institutions.
  • Both traditional and non-traditional credits may be applied to the concentration.
  • The concentration should not include more than 6 hours of 500-600 level credits.
    • NOTE: Graduate courses taken for undergraduate credit cannot be applied to a subsequent graduate degree. Please see Undergraduate Catalog, under section Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduates, for more details.
  • The concentration generally should not include any 100-level foundational courses.
  • Alternative courses should be listed to accommodate possible or necessary adjustments to the concentration course list.
  • If necessary, an amendment to the concentration may be made with the approval of the faculty advisor and BIS Director

Once the faculty mentor and student have agreed to the educational contract, the student is responsible for submitting the contract to the BIS office for review.

Educational Contract Deadlines

Each BIS student is encouraged to confirm a faculty mentor and submit an educational contract as early as possible in their studies at GMU.  However, all students must have an approved BIS Educational Contract prior to enrolling in BIS 390.

Contract Amendments

A contract amendment is required whenever the student and faculty metnor agree that a change to an approved educational contract is warranted. Permissible changes include improvements to the student's concentration by the addition of newly offered courses, substitutions for deactivated courses, etc. Contract amendment forms are available on this Web site under Forms/Information.

Contract Amendment Deadlines

Once an approved educational contract is on file, contract amendments can be submitted at any time during the student's program of study.

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