Individualized Study
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Concentrations

BIS in Individualized Study

The Bachelor of Individualized Study (BIS) Program at George Mason University is an undergraduate degree completion program with a 42-year history of serving adult students. The program combines an interdisciplinary academic framework and a writing-intensive, research-based curriculum to provide students with individualized degree plans. The BIS Program offers students intensive support services, course flexibility, and generous transfer credit options.  Students create interdisciplinary concentrations to meet their own educational needs:  to advance in their current employment, to prepare for graduate or professional programs, or to plan a path toward a career change.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Students pursuing a bachelor of individualized study degree must complete four required courses and one concentration.

Core Courses in the Major

Students must complete each of the four core courses with a minimum grade of 2.00.

In BIS 390 The Research Process (or BIS 391 The Research Process for Honors for students pursuing honors in the major), students develop a project proposal. An approved proposal from BIS 390 The Research Process or BIS 391 The Research Process for Honors is a prerequisite to enroll in BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core).

In BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core), students complete a senior capstone project that varies according to the individual program of study. It may be an investigative or creative project, and must be appropriate to the student's interdisciplinary concentration. This course requires significant writing and fulfills the Mason Core synthesis requirement. It is a research intensive course designated RS by OSCAR. The project is evaluated by the BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core) instructor in consultation with the student's faculty mentor and others as determined by the BIS director.

BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core) and BIS 491 Senior Project Presentation are taken concurrently when no more than 6 credits remain in the concentration.

BIS 300 Understanding Interdisciplinary Studies 3
BIS 390 The Research Process 3
or BIS 391 The Research Process for Honors
BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core) 3
BIS 491 Senior Project Presentation 1
Total Credits 10

Concentrations in the Major

Students must complete one concentration of 24-42 credits. Of the credits applied to the concentration, at least 15 credits must be at the 300 level or above and a maximum of 6 credits can have grades of C- or D (grades below 2.00). The total credits applied to the concentration must represent a minimum GPA of 2.00.

Courses applied to a concentration may not also be used to fulfill Mason Core requirements.

Individualized Concentration (IND)

Students may do an individualized concentration to meet their own academic needs and interests. The concentration is developed in close consultation with BIS staff and a faculty mentor. Students may incorporate into their individualized concentrations up to 9 credits of previously earned college course work or previously earned nontraditional credit from other institutions. In addition to the 4 core courses, students complete between 24 and 36 credits, depending on the topic and the student's preparation.

Select 24 to 36 credits from a minimum of two disciplines 24-36
Total Credits 24-36

Students are encouraged to include UNIV 304 Bachelor Individualized Studies Transfer Transition in the concentration. Students are also encouraged to include BIS 489 Directed Readings and Research and complete it before taking BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core).

Concentration in Early Childhood Education Studies (ECES)

This concentration offers students holding a Northern Virginia Community College associate's degree in applied science in early childhood development the opportunity to obtain a BIS in early childhood education studies and a minor in business or other relevant minor. This concentration does not lead to teacher licensure in early childhood education.

To receive this concentration, students complete a minimum of 34 credits beyond the associate's degree in addition to the four core BIS courses, electives, and Mason Core requirements needed to reach at least 120 credits.

Admission Requirements

Students are eligible for this concentration if they have an associate's degree in applied science in early childhood development. Unlike the individualized concentration, there is no age restriction regarding admission into this BIS concentration.

Interdisciplinary Courses
Human Growth and Development
EDUC 302 Human Growth and Development 3
Course Focused on Diverse Young Learners
ECED 402 Foundations of Language and Literacy for Diverse Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Learners 3
or ECED 403 Inclusive Curriculum for Young Learners: Planning Instruction and Guidance
Linguistic Development of Infants and Toddlers
ECED 422 Developing Language, Literacy, and Communication of Diverse Infants and Toddlers 3
or ECED 423 Early Intervention for Infants Toddlers with Disabilities: Collaborative Consultative Approaches
Research Methods
GOVT 300 Research Methods and Analysis (Mason Core) 4
or SOCI 303 Methods and Logic of Inquiry
Electives at the 300-400-level
Select 6 credits of electives relevant to the concentration in consultation with their faculty mentor 6
Total Credits 19

Optional Self-Selected Minor

Select 15-23 credits of self-selected minor 15-23
Total Credits 15-23

Mason Core

BIS students complete a modified Mason Core program of 36 credits. The Mason Core requirements may include courses not listed here; consult the BIS program for more information. Courses used to meet the Mason Core requirements cannot be used to meet a requirement for a concentration.

Students pursuing the concentration in early childhood education studies meet Mason Core requirements as specified in the advising agreement between NVCC and Mason.

Mason Core for Early Childhood Education Studies Concentration

NVCC Coursework
ENGH 101 Composition (Mason Core) (lower level written communication) 3
COMM 100 Public Speaking (Mason Core) (oral communication) 3
Social Sciences 6
MATH or STAT 3
Information Technology 3
Mason
ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (Mason Core) (upper level written communication) 3
Natural Science 3-4
Humanities (including 3 credits of arts) 6
Social Science 3
BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core) (synthesis) 3
Total Credits 36-37

Mason Core for Individualized Concentration

English Composition
ENGH 101 Composition (Mason Core) 3
ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (Mason Core) 3
Total Credits 6
Humanities
Select three courses from the following: 9
Any course from a foreign language department
Total Credits 9
1

Except for ENGH 100 Composition for Multilingual Writers (Mason Core), ENGH 101 Composition (Mason Core), ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (Mason Core) 

2

Except for PHIL 173 Logic and Critical Thinking, PHIL 376 Symbolic Logic

Social and Behavioral Science
Select three courses from the following: 9
Introduction to Women and Gender Studies (Mason Core)
Total Credits 9
1

Except for GGS 102 Physical Geography (Mason Core), GGS 309 Meteorology and Climate

Mathematics or Statistics
Select one course from the following: 3
MATH 106
Quantitative Reasoning (Mason Core) (or any MATH course above 106)
STAT 250
Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)
Total Credits 3
Information Technology
Select one from the following: 3
IT 104
Introduction to Computing (Mason Core)
Any course that fulfills the Mason Core IT proficiency requirement (all components including ethics)
Total Credits 3
Natural Science
Select any 3-4 credit lab or non lab course from the following: 3-4
CONS 401
Conservation Theory
GGS 102
Physical Geography (Mason Core)
GGS 309
Meteorology and Climate
Science in the News
Exploring Virginia's Watersheds
Field-Based Work
Conservation Biology
Total Credits 3-4
Synthesis Course
BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core) 3
Total Credits 3

Additional Electives

Any remaining credits may be completed with electives to bring the degree total to 120.
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