FAQs for Prospective Students

Why should I consider the Bachelor of Individualized Study (BIS) degree program?

The BIS degree program began in 1975 and is designed to meet the needs of the adult learner. Personal fulfillment, job/career advancement, a career change and more have been the motivating factors for individuals returning to complete their bachelor’s degrees.  Part-time or full-time study, evening courses, excellent faculty, a challenging curriculum, individual faculty advising, small class size, affordable tuition, and a GMU degree – these are just some of the reasons why students enroll in the BIS program. 

How will employers and graduate schools view a non-traditional degree?

BIS alumni have all continued on to graduate degree programs, job promotions, published books, started businesses and more!  For more information on our alumni, how they found their way to BIS and what they’re doing now, visit our Meet an Alum page.

How much will it cost?

The tuition cost is based on the number of credit hours that the student takes each semester. Details can be found at the Student Accounts website.

Is there financial aid available?

Yes.  Financial Aid information and application steps can be found on the Office of Student Financial Aid website.

Where and when are BIS classes held?

BIS core classes are taught at George Mason University in Fairfax, however depending on the coursework included in a student’s individual concentration, courses may be held at any of Mason’s four (4) campuses.  BIS core classes are typically offered one night per week in the evening or online.  The schedules for a student’s individual concentration courses are determined by the respective departments, not by the BIS department.  

Can I take classes at another college or university to fulfill my BIS/GMU requirements?

Yes, however once you have enrolled at George Mason, you need permission from the Dean’s office to take courses elsewhere and have them transferred back to the university.  George Mason is part of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area (CUWMA) which allows George Mason students to take a limited number of courses at CUWMA member institutions, pay the GMU tuition rate, and have the course(s) count toward their degree program.

How long does it take to complete the degree?

On average it takes a student 2-3 years to complete the BIS program. However, each student comes to the program with differing amounts of transfer credits, experiences, and the time available to take courses.  Therefore it is impossible to state a definite length of time for degree completion.  The opportunity to take courses in the fall and spring semesters, as well as during the summer sessions have lead students to degree completion more quickly.  A total of 120 semester hours is needed to graduate from George Mason University, 45 of which must be in the upper division (300-400 level). A minimum of 30 hours must be taken at George Mason University. 

How do I schedule an appointment to talk about admission to the program?

Prospective students must attend a BIS information session  before scheduling a pre-admission appointment. Following the session, please send an email to bis@gmu.edu to request a phone or Zoom appointment with a BIS Academic Advisor.

How do I apply?

Applying to the BIS program is easy. 

  1. First, attend an information session.
  2. Second, have a pre-application advising session to give you an estimate of the number of courses you might have to take to complete a degree.
  3. Apply to George Mason University via the transfer application.

University application deadlines can be found on the Office of Admissions website but special circumstances might apply to transfer applications to the BIS program.  Feel free to check via email:  bis@gmu.edu