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  

We make it easy because we are different. We offer supportive advising and individualized guidance. We offer flexibility with undergraduate degree options that are individually tailored to each student's situation. The Bachelor of Individualized Study program has generous transfer credit options. It also features a distinctive opportunity to integrate other college-level learning, such as professional credentials and military experience, into university coursework credits. 

We know adults are self-directed and learn best when they can determine their own interests, so the BIS program allows you to create interdisciplinary concentrations to meet your own educational needs.  

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.  

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. 

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.]