Sep 28, 2020  
Undergraduate Record 2013-2014 
Undergraduate Record 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

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The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.) degree program is tailored to adults who wish to pursue an undergraduate degree through part-time study. Approved in 1999 by the Board of Visitors and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the B.I.S. program makes it possible for students with earned college credits to complete undergraduate degrees. The B.I.S. program offers a challenging and intellectually stimulating curriculum with evening and weekend courses drawn from those already offered at the University or approved by University faculty specifically for this degree program. The program maintains a full course schedule in the summer as well as during the fall and spring semesters.

The interdisciplinary curriculum of the B.I.S. program includes upper-level courses in academic fields that bring together both the range of learning implied by a liberal arts degree and the depth of knowledge associated with study at an advanced undergraduate level. The program emphasizes critical thinking, clear articulation of ideas, and the habits of individual and collective learning that develop and sustain life-long learners. Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies Seminars unique to the program are required of all students. Students will pursue an academic concentration within the degree program and must complete a Proseminar and a Capstone Project to synthesize their educational and professional experiences and demonstrate the depth and breadth of their educational experience. Students have seven years (twenty-two semesters, including fall, spring, and summer) after admission to the program to complete all requirements for the B.I.S. degree.

B.I.S. students are governed by the student-run Honor System and the Standards of Conduct described in the University Regulations section of the University Record, subject to revision from time to time by authorized University offices. Policies and procedures can be obtained from the University Honor Committee and the University Judiciary Committee. Academic policies and regulations of the B.I.S. program are under the aegis of the BIS Academic Oversight Committee, the dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and the BIS director. To learn more about this undergraduate degree program, or to obtain application information, individuals should contact:

B.I.S. Degree Program

University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies
Zehmer Hall 
104 Midmont Lane
P.O. Box 400764
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4764
(434) 982-5274 Fax: (434) 982-5335

Degree Requirements To be awarded the B.I.S. degree, students must present 120 approved semester credits, including 60 credits earned at the University of Virginia, and successfully complete the B.I.S. curriculum, as outlined below in “Curriculum.” At least 51 credits taken at the University must have been completed on a graded (A+ to D-) basis. Students must have earned a 2.000 cumulative grade point average on all work taken at the University. Students are subject to the degree and curricular requirements in effect for the semester in which they were admitted to the B.I.S. program.

Admission The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree program is intended for adults who earned a high school diploma not less than four years prior to enrollment, have earned sixty transferable semester credits from one or more regionally accredited colleges or universities, and are prepared to enter a rigorous program of study. Half of the 60 transfer credits are to satisfy the general education guidelines of the Liberal Studies Core. Applicants to the B.I.S. programs in partnership with Tidewater Community College or Northern Virginia Community College need to have earned at least fifteen of the sixty transferable semester credits from the respective partnership institution. Applicants must complete a formal application for admission, be in good academic and social standing, and have earned at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average at the institution they attended most recently. Additionally, applicants must be in good financial as well as academic and social standing at the University of Virginia. Prospective students apply through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies’ Office of Admission Services rather than to the Office of Undergraduate Admission. Although applicants submit official transcripts as part of their application, prospective students should  submit unofficial transcripts of all previously attended college course work for a pre-application evaluation and feedback.  A personal interview with a B.I.S. representative is a required component of the application process. Applications for fall and spring are due, respectively, by June 15 and November 1 for study in Charlottesville, Richmond, Tidewater, or Northern Virginia. Students who have been denied admission to another undergraduate program at the University must wait one year before applying to the B.I.S. program.

Transfer of Credit The University grants transfer credit based on an analysis of the content, level, and comparability of the courses taken, the applicability of the courses to the student’s intended major and degree program, the quality of the student’s performance in the courses, and the accreditation of the institution at which the work was completed. Credits eligible for transfer must have been earned with at least a “C” grade (2.0 or better) and in courses comparable in content and rigor to those offered at the University of Virginia. Credits earned in a pass/fail grading system will only be eligible for transfer if certification is provided that the student earned at least a “C” average. Only credits transfer; grades do not transfer.

Students receive no more, and may receive fewer, than the number of credits earned at the host institutions. No more than 60 semester credits, or half the number of credits required for graduation, transfer from a combination of approved testing programs (Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate) and course credits. Quarter and trimester credits are converted to semester credits. The general University policy on accepting credits from foreign institutions will apply. No transfer credit is granted for College Level Examination Placement credits, life experience credits, correspondence credits, or military education credits. Credit for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate testing is awarded according to guidelines used in the College of Arts and Sciences. Transfer credit is generally not granted for credit passed elsewhere by re-examination. Occasionally, credits earned through special programs such as Prior Learning Activities for Credit Evaluation (PLACE) at Northern Virginia Community College are considered.

Courses required for a B.I.S. concentration do not typically transfer from other institutions into the B.I.S. degree. Credits earned in courses taken at other institutions while the student is enrolled in the B.I.S. program are only eligible for transfer if the student is fulfilling admission requirements or receives permission from B.I.S. administration before enrolling in the course(s).

The Liberal Studies Core The Liberal Studies Core demonstrates that students have studied a broad range of academic disciplines and are prepared for study at a more advanced level in a liberal arts program. Transfer credits must satisfy the following liberal studies guidelines:

English Composition: generally six semester credits of college composition. With sufficient supporting evidence, it may be possible for a student to satisfy this requirement with fewer than six credits.

Humanities: at least six semester credits earned in art history, selected architectural history courses, classics, literature, drama, film studies, fine arts, music (exclusive of performance), philosophy, political theory, religious studies, or western or eastern civilization or similar courses.

Social Sciences: at least six semester credits earned in anthropology, economics, government and foreign affairs (except political theory), history (exclusive of western, eastern, or other civilization courses, which are considered humanities courses), psychology, or sociology.

Math and/or Natural Science: at least twelve semester credits earned in math, astronomy, biology, chemistry, environmental science, or physics. Only courses comparable to those that satisfy an area requirement for the College of Arts and Sciences satisfy the Core; for example, precalculus may transfer but will not satisfy the area requirement.

Computer Competency Expectation While the B.I.S. program does not have a formal computer competency requirement, all students have the responsibility to gain the computer skills needed to perform well in any B.I.S. course. Those skills include the following: e-mail; word processing; use of the Internet, especially for academic research; and use of Excel and Powerpoint in some courses (these expectations will be noted on specific course syllabi). The B.I.S. staff can provide suggestions for course work that can help strengthen these computer skills prior to applying to the program. Access to a high-speed Internet connection is strongly recommended and will optimize access to the U.Va. web learning tools including electronic course materials, the U.Va. libraries, and U.Va. Collab, the University course management system.

Demonstrating Success in B.I.S. To continue in the program, all B.I.S. students must maintain good financial and social standing at the University and complete the following academic requirements by the end of the fourth consecutive semester after B.I.S. matriculation.

  1. To be completed within two consecutive semesters of enrollment: Any missing concentration prerequisites.
  2. Four courses (a minimum of 12 credits) each with a grade of C (2.0) or better, to include two 3000-level Liberal Studies Seminars, one 4000-level Liberal Studies Seminar, and one other B.I.S./B.I.S.-approved U.Va. course. Students are required to take a 3000-level Liberal Studies Seminar in their first semester in the program and must successfully complete a 3000-level liberal studies seminar with a C or better before enrolling in a 4000-level seminar.
  3. Cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 on all U.Va. course work (including courses completed prior to B.I.S. matriculation).
  4. A detailed concentration proposal if pursuing an Individualized Concentration (due by the time the student completes 12 credits in the B.I.S. program).
  5. A minimum of 72 total credits toward the B.I.S. degree (including transfer credits).
  6. Any credits or liberal studies core requirement missing upon B.I.S. admission (note: any concentration prerequisite missing at the time of admission must be satisfied by the end of the second semester after B.I.S. matriculation).

Students who are unable to satisfy these requirements by the end of the fourth consecutive semester after B.I.S. matriculation may be required to leave the program or may be placed on Academic Warning. A student who is asked to withdraw from the program may, after waiting one full year, petition to re-apply.

Academic Regulations and Options

In addition to University-wide policies and procedures, the following academic requirements and options apply to students in the B.I.S. program. Students who have questions about any such policies should contact the B.I.S. office.

Add/Drop Regulations Students may add courses, with instructors’ permission, until the published deadline for the semester. The add deadline is also the last day to change the grading option for courses. Students may drop courses without penalty until the published drop deadline. Students who withdraw from an individual course or all courses after the semester has begun will be charged tuition for the semester on a prorated scale.

To enroll in courses restricted by permission of the instructor, a student must submit to the B.I.S. office a course action form signed by the instructor. An e-mail communication directly from the instructor may substitute.

Students are responsible for the accuracy of their course enrollment record; changes to course enrollment may be made online,, before the published deadlines.

Advising Providing advice related to  academic matters and student services is an important element of the B.I.S. degree program. All students receive individual academic advising from prior to their first term of enrollment in B.I.S.  Within the first four  semesters of enrollment in the B.I.S. program, a student is assigned a faculty advisor. Students are responsible for consulting with their advisors each semester before enrolling in courses. Academic advisors work closely with the student to plan the program of study, to monitor the student’s progress, and provide advice on matters pertaining to B.I.S. academic policies and procedures. Students and advisors should use Academic Requirements, the University’s on-line academic advising tool, and the student’s unofficial transcript to help monitor progress toward degree requirements.

The academic advisor may also assist the student in identifying a faculty mentor to work with the student on the Capstone Project that is undertaken near the completion of the B.I.S. degree program. A student who wishes to take a non-B.I.S. U.Va. course for credit or who wishes to take more than nine credits in a semester, or a leave of absence from the program must secure approval from the academic advisor and then must contact the B.I.S. office to gain approval.

Students should consult with B.I.S. staff regarding matters pertaining to student services.

Auditing A student enrolled in the B.I.S. program may audit B.I.S. program courses with the permission of the course instructor. Courses successfully completed on an audit basis have the AU recorded as the grade on the academic record. Because audited courses earn no credits or grade points, they are not applicable to the B.I.S. degree. The course instructor is the sole determinant of whether a student can take the course on an audit basis. The approved B.I.S. tuition and fee rates apply to audited courses, and students auditing courses are expected to meet all academic requirements of the course. Audited courses do not apply toward minimum or maximum credits when calculating course loads.

Course Load B.I.S. students must register for a minimum of three U.Va. credits per semester. A B.I.S. student may not enroll in more than six credits in the first semester of enrollment, or in the semester in which the student is enrolled in the Capstone Project. In other semesters, students may not exceed the nine-credit limit without permission of his or her academic advisor. Students who are on academic warning will not be allowed to enroll in more than nine credits.

Students who plan to apply for financial aid through the University need to carry a minimum of six credits per semester in order to be eligible for financial aid through the University. These students should contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine what the specific requirements are for the various types of aid they wish to receive.

Credit/No Credit Option Students may choose a credit/no credit (CR/NC) grading option up until the add deadline for courses. Instructors have the right to prohibit students from taking courses on a CR/NC basis. The three required Liberal Studies Seminars, concentration courses, the Proseminar, and the Capstone Project must be graded and may not be taken CR/NC. B.I.S. students may take no more than one course per semester on a CR/NC basis, and a maximum of nine credits may be taken on a CR/NC basis during a student’s tenure in the B.I.S. program.

Grade Changes No grade may be changed after it has been submitted to the University Registrar without the approval of the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The Dean is not authorized by the faculty to change a grade submitted to the University Registrar except when an instructor certifies that, because of an error in calculation or transcription, an incorrect grade has been submitted.

Incompletes Circumstances beyond a student’s control may arise that necessitate him or her requesting an incomplete (IN). An incomplete should be a rare occurrence.  It is intended to provide a modest extension for a student who, late in the term, encounters some extraordinary circumstance making it impossible to complete the course work.  In these cases, the transcript records IN to indicate that the course grade is being withheld until the student completes all course requirements. The student must initiate the request for an IN, and the instructor must agree in order for an IN to be recorded. The request must be made in a timely manner such that the professor has time to inform the student of the decision prior to the final class session for the course. The Request for an Incomplete Grade Form (available on-line) must be completed and signed by both the student and instructor prior to the last class meeting. The student must submit a copy of this completed and signed form to the B.I.S. office which will keep it on file.  The student must complete all course requirements and deliver the completed work to the instructor by the instructor’s imposed deadline (to be no later than 30 days following the end of the semester in which the Incomplete is sought), at which time the instructor replaces the IN with a letter grade. If the work is not completed by the designated agreed upon deadline and a letter grade is not entered, the IN automatically defaults to an F. A degree will not be awarded while an incomplete remains on the transcript.

A student may not request an incomplete in an attempt to raise his or her grade.

Independent Study A  B.I.S. student who wishes to receive degree credit for an independent study must submit, with a faculty member’s endorsement, a proposed plan of study to include a course syllabus. Beginning Fall 2010, this proposed plan must be approved by the B.I.S. Director no later than the mid-point of the semester prior to the semester in which the proposed independent study is to be undertaken. The student should have taken at least one course with that professor prior to submitting a proposal.  In most circumstances, a maximum of three credits of independent study after matriculation to the program may be counted toward the B.I.S. degree.

Intra-University Transfer B.I.S. students, as degree candidates at the University of Virginia, have the opportunity to apply for transfer to other schools of the University through the Intra-University Transfer process. Each school establishes its own criteria and procedures, and students in all schools are subject to them.

Students interested in Intra-University Transfer are to discuss their intentions and reasons with their academic advisor and with the B.I.S. director; contact the appropriate committee of the school to which the student seeks transfer in order to learn what is required; if the student is prepared to apply for transfer, write to the B.I.S. director to state those intentions; follow that particular school’s steps to apply for transfer; and continue to function as a B.I.S. student until such time as a transfer application may be accepted and matriculation in a new degree program commences. 

Leaves of Absence A student who wishes to take a one-semester leave of absence must complete and submit a Leave of Absence request form (contact B.I.S. office) and receive approval from the academic advisor and the B.I.S. director. B.I.S. candidates who wish to take a leave of absence for a second consecutive semester should follow the process outlined above; the request must be approved by the academic advisor and B.I.S. director. Students on approved leaves of absence are not required to apply for readmission to the B.I.S. program prior to their return, but should notify the B.I.S. director of their intended return at least 30 days before the published date of final registration for that semester. The University policy on Leaves of Absence may be found at

Minimum Grades The following courses must be completed with a grade of C or better: two 3000-level Liberal Studies Seminars; one 4000-level Liberal Studies Seminar, and any one other B.I.S. or B.I.S.-approved U.Va. course by the end of the fourth semester after B.I.S. matriculation; the Proseminar; and the Capstone Project. Courses taken to meet the concentration requirements must be completed with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.

Non-B.I.S. Courses Students enrolled in the B.I.S. program normally will complete their degree requirements by taking B.I.S. courses. Beginning with the second semester of B.I.S. enrollment, a student may be granted permission to take a course in another school or college of the University and to have that course count toward B.I.S. degree requirements. Before registering for non-B.I.S. courses, however, B.I.S. students must obtain approval from their academic advisor and inform the B.I.S. director of their intentions. Students seeking to enroll in courses offered by the Curry School of Education also must secure permission of the instructor. If advance approval is not obtained, non-B.I.S. courses may not be applied toward degree requirements. Students may apply a maximum of 18 credits of non-B.I.S. U.Va. courses to the B.I.S. degree after enrolling in the program..  B.I.S. students pursuing an Individualized Concentration may be granted permission to take additional non-B.I.S. U.Va. courses for the concentration (3000 level and above) and/or for degree electives after enrolling in the B.I.S. program.

Readmission Students who do not enroll at the University for more than two semesters, and who are not on an approved leave of absence, may be required to apply for readmission. Application for readmission must be made to the B.I.S. director at least 30 days in advance of the next University registration period. Students should include with their applications a statement that (1) addresses their readiness to return to the program in light of any serious difficulties during their most recent enrollment (e.g., financial, medical, or personal hardship) and (2) outlines those courses that the students will take over the remaining semesters to qualify for a degree.

Repeated Courses Two essentially identical courses, whether under the same course number or not, may not both be counted for degree credit. If a course is passed and repeated, only the first grade received is entered in the computation of the grade point average and counts toward the 120 credits required for graduation, although the repeated course and its grade do appear on the student’s transcript. If a course is failed and then repeated, both courses and grades appear on the transcript and are computed in the grade point average.

Requests for Exceptions and Appeals Students who believe they should be exempted from prerequisite courses or other B.I.S. requirements or regulations may petition for an exception to the B.I.S. director after they have consulted with their academic advisor.

Student Grievance Procedure A student enrolled in the B.I.S. program who has a grievance with a faculty member, the program director, the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, or the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University is invited to discuss the grievance in the following manner:

  1. Concerns related to a faculty member that cannot be resolved by the two parties should be discussed with the B.I.S. director;
  2. If the concern relates to the director, the student should file a grievance with the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies;
  3. If the concern relates to the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, the student should file a grievance with the Executive Vice President and Provost;
  4. If the concern relates to the Executive Vice President and Provost, the student should present appropriate documentation in writing to the President of the University.

Satisfactory Academic Performance Students admitted to the B.I.S. program are expected to complete all degree requirements within seven years (i.e., twenty-two consecutive semesters including fall, spring, and summer) of matriculation into the program. Leaves of absence and suspensions do not change the requirement to complete all degree requirements within these parameters. All B.I.S. students are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward the degree. To that end, each student’s academic standing is reviewed at the conclusion of each semester.

Academic Warning Students may be placed on academic warning, with a notation appearing on their transcripts, if they:

  1. Fail to earn a minimum grade point average of 1.800 for the semester;
  2. Fail to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000;
  3. Earn more than one grade below C- in any given semester;
  4. Earn a grade below D in any course during two consecutive semesters;
  5. Fail to complete the requirements of the first two or first four semesters on time.

Students on academic warning are expected to meet with their academic advisors prior to the end of the add/drop period so they may remedy their academic shortcoming(s). Students on academic warning who withdraw or take leaves of absence are eligible to return but do so on academic warning and are subject to suspension if they do not attain good standing within the first semester of their return.

Suspension Students are subject to suspension after two consecutive semesters on academic warning. Students who have been suspended from the B.I.S. program may apply for readmission after one calendar year. While on suspension, students may not earn credits to advance their progress toward the B.I.S. degree.

Readmission after suspension must be approved by the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Application for readmission is made to the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at least 30 days before the next University registration period in which the student is eligible to reapply. Students should include with their applications a statement that (1) addresses their readiness to return to regular study (i.e., 3-9 credits per semester) in light of any serious difficulties during their most recent enrollment (e.g., financial, medical, or personal hardship) and (2) outlines those courses that the students will take over the remaining semesters to qualify for a degree.

B.I.S. candidates may petition the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies for a waiver of the suspension, citing extenuating circumstances. Such appeals should be addressed to the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, P.O. Box 400764, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4764. Students who are readmitted after being on suspension must meet specified academic objectives.

Withdrawal The following policies govern withdrawal from the B.I.S. program as well as from individual courses:

Course Withdrawal With the instructor’s permission, B.I.S. students may withdraw from a course with a grade of W, up to the midpoint of the course. After this cutoff, students must complete the course. With an endorsement from the professor, the B.I.S. director will consider a student’s petition to withdraw from a course after the deadline because of compelling and highly unusual circumstances. Students who discontinue a course at any point without complying with the proper procedure are subject to a failing grade.

Enforced Withdrawal The Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies may compel a student to withdraw from the B.I.S. program for good cause. A student who is asked to withdraw from the program may petition the dean for readmission after one calendar year.

Medical Withdrawal A student may withdraw from the B.I.S. program for reasons of health with the approval of the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies and B.I.S. director. A notation of Medical Withdrawal will appear on the student’s transcript.

Voluntary Withdrawal A B.I.S. student who wishes to withdraw from the program must formally withdraw from the University. The student is encouraged to meet first with the academic advisor of record; the student must meet with the B.I.S. director for an exit interview, fill out the appropriate paperwork, and turn in the University identification card. Leaving the program without following the requisite process results in the student’s receiving a grade of F in all courses that he or she fails to complete. A student who withdraws from the University voluntarily has the notation “Withdrew [date]” recorded on his or her permanent academic record.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

It is the policy of the University of Virginia to accommodate students with disabilities in accordance with federal and state laws.  Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the LNEC: 434-243-5180/Voice, 434-465-6579/Video Phone, 434-243-5188/Fax. Web: Any School of Continuing and Professional Studies student with a disability who needs accommodation (e.g., in arrangements for seating, extended time for examinations, or note-taking, etc.), should contact the Learning Needs and Evaluation Center (LNEC) and provide them with appropriate medical or psychological documentation of his/her condition.   Requests for reasonable variation in degree requirements to accommodate a student’s disability should be submitted in writing for the review of the LNEC.

Once accommodations are approved, it is the student’s responsibility to follow up with their instructor about logistics and implementation of accommodations. All accommodations should be discussed between student and instructor as early as possible; accommodations for test-taking should be arranged at least 14 business days in advance of the date of the test(s).  SCPS is also available to assist with accommodations, particularly for temporary or emergency situations. Please email 

Accuracy of Student Records

Students are responsible for the accuracy of their academic records. The Office of the University Registrar provides access to SIS, the student information system, via the Internet ( Students may access their grades and their unofficial transcripts by connecting to SIS. While not an official record, Academic Requirements serves as an advising tool for both student and academic advisor. It is the student’s responsibility to point out errors in the record to the B.I.S. office and to do so in a timely manner.

Financial Aid

B.I.S. students interested in applying for financial aid should consult the information provided by the office of Student Financial Services In general, requests for consideration of aid require that the student file the federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the U.Va. Undergraduate Financial Aid Application. Minimum semester credit requirements for federal financial aid may be greater than those required by the degree program. Information about the FAFSA can be found at; information about the Office of Financial Aid is available at or by calling (434) 982-6000.


Orientation for new students is a key to success in the B.I.S. program. New students are required to participate in all scheduled B.I.S. orientation activities, generally involving individual meetings with B.I.S. staff as well as Saturday and evening group sessions prior to the beginning of the semester and occasionally during the first semester.  Prior to the beginning of classes, students are provided with information about registration, University e-mail accounts, student services, as well as academic advising.

Student Activities and Services

B.I.S. students have access to intramural and recreation activities and facilities, University Career Services, electronic mail, the Information Technology Center and its services, and other non-curricular activities.

Peer Mentor Program

The Peer Mentor Program is a student-run program that helps introduce and integrate new students into B.I.S. and the wider U.Va. community by providing support and information from a student perspective. The program is structured to ensure that each new student has at least one experienced B.I.S. person to whom he or she can turn for appropriate advice. Peer Mentors complement the faculty advisor and the B.I.S. staff in offering a type of support for students that can be most effectively provided by peers, but they do not substitute as academic advisors.

Awards, Honors and Scholarships

Alpha Sigma Lambda The University of Virginia hosts the Beta Iota Sigma chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda, a national academic honor society for adult students in baccalaureate degree programs. B.I.S. students who have completed at least twenty-four credits at U.Va. since B.I.S. matriculation with a cumulative grade point average of 3.400 or higher are eligible to be considered for membership in the society. The cumulative grade point average will be calculated at the conclusion of the fall semester, with induction occurring in the spring.

Final Honors Degrees with distinction, with high distinction, and with highest distinction are awarded to B.I.S. students who have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.400, 3.600, and 3.800, respectively, on all U.Va. course work.

Osher Reentry Scholarship To be eligible for consideration in the Fall and Spring semesters, reentry students applying for this scholarship in B.I.S. must be pursuing their first baccalaureate degree, and must have experienced a cumulative gap of five or more years between their first pursuit of an undergraduate degree and their current enrollment in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program.

Raven Society B.I.S. is eligible to nominate one student in the fall and one in the spring semesters for membership to the Society, based on evidence of strong commitment to the University and academic excellence.

Stephen T. Thornton Outstanding Capstone Project Award This award is given at graduation each year to the graduating student who has produced the best capstone project in B.I.S., as elected by a committee of faculty members in the program.


The B.I.S. curriculum has five components: Liberal Studies Seminars; a concentration; degree elective courses; a Proseminar; and a Capstone Project.

Liberal Studies Seminars

B.I.S. students must complete three Liberal Studies Seminars during their course of study at the University of Virginia. Beginning with Fall 2005, entering BIS students are required to complete, with a grade of C or better, two 3000-level Liberal Studies Seminars and one 4000-level Liberal Studies Seminar within the first four consecutive terms of B.I.S. matriculation. All incoming students must begin their first term with at least one Liberal Studies Seminar. At least one 3000-level Liberal Studies Seminar must be completed with a C or better before enrolling in one at the 4000-level. These seminars provide students with multiple and complementary opportunities to develop a set of core skills early in the B.I.S. program. These skills include a multidisciplinary approach to problems, academic writing, critical thinking, and research fundamentals.


The B.I.S. offers students four areas of concentrations:

  • Business
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Individualized

Business Concentration

In order to declare a concentration in business, students must have completed the following prerequisites (generally before admission to BIS). The University of Virginia designations are listed first, followed by the Virginia Community College designations in parentheses.


Required Courses

Beginning with the Fall 2003 semester, the business concentration will include 15 credit hours of required courses and three hours of elective courses. Students may apply a maximum of 29 credit hours of business courses toward the degree, including the Capstone Project, and business courses that were transferred to the University of Virginia prior to enrollment in B.I.S.

Humanities Concentration

This concentration consists of 24 credit hours, or eight courses, in the humanities. The required two-course sequence provides a survey of the essential subject matter and intellectual concerns of the humanities. The first term explores in a topical and comparative way the literary, philosophical, spiritual, and artistic traditions of East and West until the dawn of the modern age. The second term explores similar themes in the modern world. It is anticipated that in either course, the instructor will choose at least three themes for analytical, chronological, and comparative examination. These courses do not have to be taken in sequence.

Elective Courses: Six B.I.S. or B.I.S.-approved U.Va. courses from any combination of humanities: art, art history, architectural history, classics, drama, literature, music, philosophy, religion.

Required Courses:

Social Sciences Concentration

This concentration consists of 24 credit hours, or eight courses, in social sciences. The required three-credit introductory course explores a single theme from the perspective of at least three of the social sciences.

Elective Courses: Seven B.I.S. or B.I.S.-approved U.Va. courses from the social sciences: anthropology, economics, politics, history, psychology, sociology. Students are expected to explore a range of the disciplines.

Required Course:

Individualized Concentration- General

With the permission of the B.I.S. director and guidance of an academic advisor, a student may propose a concentration comprised of 24 credit hours of upper-level courses tailored to an academic interest or themes.

Degree Elective Courses outside the Concentration

In consultation with their advisors, students will distribute their degree credits beyond the Liberal Studies Seminars, the concentration, the Proseminar, and the Capstone Project in courses that complement their academic, professional, and personal interests. Students enrolled in the business concentration must fulfill their degree elective credits with non-business courses. Degree electives can be from the 1000 and 2000 level.


The required three-credit Proseminar provides an opportunity to strengthen critical thinking, research, and communication skills while exploring the process of research and project design. Students will apply what they learn to develop a thoughtful proposal for their individual Capstone Projects. Before registering for the Proseminar ISPS 3899, the student must have completed successfully the Liberal Studies Seminars requirements and all other first four-term requirements, have completed most of the conventration courses, have removed all incompletes, and be in good academic standing, that is, not be on academic warning.  The student also must have attended the Proseminar/Capstone information session and filed the Intent to Take the Proseminar Form at least two months prior to the start of class. In addition, the student must present to the Capstone Coordinator evidence in writing of a clear and reasonable Capstone Project idea, a confirmed Capstone Mentor, and a statement of the background (e.g., course work, reading, prior studies, professional experience) appropriate to developing a successful proposal and project within the designated time.  Enrollment in the Proseminar should occur no earlier than three terms prior to graduation.  An approved proposal and a grade of C or better in the Proseminar are required before a student may register for the Capstone Project.  Due to the heavy work load and intensity of the course, it is highly recommended that students take no more than a total of six credit hours during the term of enrollment in the Proseminar.

Capstone Project

The required Capstone Project is the culminating academic activity of the B.I.S. program and provides students with an opportunity to integrate academic accomplishments and professional interests in a research project. It builds upon students’ course work, research, and writing in the program, as well as on professional involvement and/or aspirations, if so desired. Projects must be supervised by an approved faculty mentor. Students must successfully complete the Proseminar before they may register for the three-credit Capstone Project. Students must receive a grade of no less than C in the Capstone Project to complete the degree.  In the term in which students register for ISCP 4991, the Capstone Project, they may take only three additional credits.  In highly unusual circumstances students may successfully petition for an exception.  Involved in the decision would be the Capstone Mentor and the Capstone Coordinators, as well as the academic advisor.  Enrollment in the Capstone Project should occur no earlier than two terms prior to graduation.

Course Descriptions

Not all courses are offered every semester, and new courses may be introduced each year.

Capstone Project


Liberal Studies Seminar


Social Sciences

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