About the Program

Empowering Adult Students for Nearly 50 Years

Mason's Bachelor of Individualized Study (BIS) program meets the needs of adult students. We have been working with returning adult students for nearly 50 years. Since our program’s founding in 1975, we have helped thousands of students finish their degrees. With dedicated advisors and supportive faculty, we help adults come back to school and complete their bachelors’ degrees.

We Make Going Back to School Easy

In the BIS degree program, students earn a Bachelor’s degree. Most students design their own individualized interdisciplinary program of study, which is their concentration. With the help of your academic advisor, you’ll focus your BIS degree on a concentration that aligns with your interests and career goals. 

Our students interested in early childhood education and who meet specific eligibility requirements can pursue a more prescribed curriculum that leads to a concentration in education studies. 

Unsure where to start?  We also offer popular options “pre-built” for your convenience. 

With concentrations focusing on leadership, data analysis, cybersecurity management, and more, you can get a head start on creating a degree to match your goals.  

Want to learn more? Click the button below to view BIS Concentration pathway details.  All of these may be completed online.

We Serve Returning Adult Students

We serve a diverse range of returning adult students from 22 to 76 years of age. We have helped learners who are looking for professional advancement, a career change, preparation for graduate school, and personal satisfaction. 

Our students have completed some college work already. Many of our newly admitted students come to us with around 60-70 credits already completed.  

Learn more about how we can help you finish your degree.

We Support Our Veterans 

We work with veterans to make the most of the academic work and military credit you have already. BIS accepts ACE credits from military veterans' Joint Services Transcripts up to a limit of 45 counting toward graduation. 

“I am so thankful for the Office of Military Services for directing me to the program and for the support I received from my advisors and instructors with the BIS program. They kept me inspired when things were hard, and I almost quit. I cannot recommend this program more highly!” -- Carl Willis, 2020

Mason's Office of Military Services provides tailored benefits counseling and admissions support to members of the military, veterans, and their families.  The Office of Military Services team has experience in the military and in academia. They can help you meet admissions, financial aid, and academic requirements and answer any questions you might have.  

Where Do BIS Graduates Go Next?  

Our students go on to successful careers, as well as graduate and professional study. 

Our recent graduates are employed in a variety of fields for employers such as the U.S. Department of Labor, Fairfax County Schools, Navy Federal Credit Union, Loudoun County, George Mason University, national associations such as the Arthritis Foundation, and many more.  

For adults who plan to go on to graduate school, BIS has you covered there too. 94% of BIS graduates report that their degree prepared them well for further study. 53% of our BIS graduates go on to pursue additional graduate-level and professional education.  

How Do I Get Started?  

Explore our site and then sign up for an online Info session.

We have advisors on hand to help you map out a plan to complete your degree. We also host regular online information sessions. Join us for a virtual information session to learn more.  

You can also email us at bis@gmu.edu. A real person will get back to you.  

We look forward to meeting you and helping you decide if the BIS program is the right program to help you finish your degree!   

BIS By the Numbers 

  • BIS students range in age from 22 to 76

  • 71 is the average number of transfer credits accepted toward graduation

  • We accept 95% of our applicants
  • 100% of BIS students develop research and presentation skills as part of their degree, skills our BIS graduates tell us impress future employers in the interview process.

  • 97% of graduating BIS students report that the BIS program prepared them well for their chosen profession

  • 94% of BIS graduates report that their degree prepared them well for further study

  • 53% of BIS graduates pursue further graduate or professional education after obtaining their BIS degree


Sources: Mason's Graduating Senior Survey: https://oiep.gmu.edu/data-analytics-research/survey-results/graduating-senior-exit-survey/  Pulled July 14, 2023 for 2020-2021 includes “very well” and “well” and Mason's One Year Out Survey: https://oiep.gmu.edu/data-analytics-research/survey-results/one-year-out-career-survey/  Pulled July 14, 2023 [Includes Excellent and good.]