Individualized Concentration

Catalog Year: 2021-2022

The Bachelor of Individualized Study (BIS) Program in the School of Integrative Studies is an undergraduate degree completion program with a 42-year history of serving adult students. It offers students a distinctive educational opportunity that allows them to integrate previous experiences into university coursework. Recognizing that college-level learning may be acquired through varied professional, military, and personal experience, the BIS program provides mechanisms for translating experiential learning into academic credit. The program combines an interdisciplinary academic framework and a writing-intensive, research-based curriculum to provide students with individualized degree plans.

In this degree program, most students design their own individualized interdisciplinary program of study. Other students who are interested in early childhood education and who meet specific eligibility requirements can pursue a more prescribed curriculum that leads to a concentration in early childhood education studies.

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.

Honors in the Major

Highly-qualified students may apply to graduate with honors in the major. Students should apply the semester before they intend to enroll in BIS 390 The Research Process. If accepted, students must complete BIS 391 The Research Process for Honors in place of BIS 390 The Research Process, in addition to an individualized section of BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core). To graduate with honors in the major, students must complete these two courses with a minimum GPA of 3.50, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.75, and successfully present their research during the Senior Project presentations (by earning a grade of 2.0 or better in BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core))

In addition to satisying the Mason Core requirements for BIS students and BIS core courses, students pursuing this concentration must complete the following:

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) is taken when no more than 6 credits remain in the concentration.

BIS 300 Understanding Interdisciplinary Studies 3
BIS 304 Adult Student Transitions 1
BIS 390 The Research Process 3
or BIS 391 The Research Process for Honors
BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core) 4
Total Credits 11

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 also encouraged to include BIS 489 Directed Readings and Research and complete it before taking BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core).

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  
Lower Level Written Communication  
ENGH 101 Composition (Mason Core) 3
Oral Communication  
COMM 100 Public Speaking (Mason Core) 3
Social Sciences 6
Information Technology 3
Upper Level Written Communication  
ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (Mason Core) 3
Natural Science 3-4
Humanities (including 3 credits of arts) 6
Social Science 3
BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core) (synthesis) 4
Total Credits 37-38

Mason Core for Individualized Concentration

English Composition
ENGH 101 Composition (Mason Core) 3
ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (Mason Core) 3
Total Credits 6
Select three courses from the following: 9
Any course from a foreign language department
Total Credits 9
Social and Behavioral Science
Select three courses from the following: 9
Introduction to Women and Gender Studies (Mason Core)  
Total Credits 9
Mathematics or Statistics
Select one course from the following: 3
Quantitative Reasoning (Mason Core) (or any MATH course above 106)  
Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)  
Total Credits 3
Information Technology
Select one from the following: 3
Introduction to Computing  
Any course that fulfills the Mason Core IT proficiency requirement
Total Credits 3
Natural Science
Select any 3-4 credit lab or non lab course from the following: 3-4
Conservation Theory  
Physical Geography (Mason Core)  
GGS 309
Introduction to Weather and Climate  
Science in the News (Mason Core)  
Field-Based Work  
Conservation Biology (Mason Core)  
Total Credits 3-4
Synthesis Course
BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core) 4
Total Credits 4

Additional Electives

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