General Information
Academic Programs

General Education

Interdisciplinary Programs

Academic Units

Course Descriptions


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Adult Degree Program

Pamela Brown, Learning Services Coordinator
Phone: (540) 568-6824
E-mail: brownpg@jmu.edu
Web site: http://www.jmu.edu/adultdegree/


Mission Statement
Degrees Offered
Program Requirements
Mechanisms for Earning Credit


Mission Statement

The Individualized Study Major of the Adult Degree Program provides returning adult students with the opportunity to pursue a college education that meets their individualized needs, goals and time schedules. This program is differs from other degree programs presently offered at JMU in that ISM students tailor their major while still meeting JMU general education and degree requirements.



Applicants must have a lapse of at least three full years in their full time formal education, a minimum of 30 credit hours with a grade of “C” or better for each credit hour of college work.


Degrees Offered

Students in the ISM program have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Individualized Study (B.I.S.), a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), or a Bachelor or Science (B.S.). The general education core requirements differ by degree.


Program Requirements

  • Completion of IS 200, Individualized Study Major Program Development, is required for entry into the program.
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours will be required for graduation. The specific program agreement will be designed in consultation with a faculty adviser.
  • A program agreement for meeting the requirements of the degree must be submitted to the Individualized Study Major office for approval while enrolled in the IS 200 course.
  • A minimum of 41 general education credit hours in the seven areas of social and behavioral science, humanities, natural science, written communication, oral communication, mathematics and U.S. history must be completed.
  • To earn a B.S. degree, a student must earn the above 41 credit hours, plus an additional three hours to meet the quantitative requirement and an additional three hours to meet the scientific literacy requirement for a total of 47 general education credit hours.
  • To earn a B.A. degree, a student must earn the above 41 credit hour requirements, plus an additional three hours of philosophy and six hours of foreign language at the intermediate (200) level for a total of 50 general education credit hours.
  • A minimum of 30 credit hours in a particular concentration or field of study, at least 24 of which must be upper-division credits, is planned around some type of conceptual or cultural framework. Certain concentrations may require that students demonstrate competency in a “common body of knowledge” which may require course work or testing beyond the 30 hours. No more than 30 credit hours of course work can be selected from courses taught by the College of Business (CoB). This 30 credit hour limit includes COB courses transferred from other colleges and nontraditional credit earned in the COB. The concentration must be completed with a GPA of 2.0 or better.
  • A minimum of 15 credit hours in the concentration must be JMU credits.
  • IS 498/499, Individualized Study Project, is a capstone course that is directly related to the student’s concentration or field of study. The project is coordinated by a content area faculty member and must be completed with a “C” minimum grade. A final oral report must be presented on the project.
  • The Individualized Study Major requires all students to take the Information Seeking Skills Test and the Tech Level I exam to demonstrate technology competencies.
  • Each graduate must have earned a minimum of 30 credit hours at JMU (a maximum of eight non-traditional credits may be applied to the JMU hours requirement).
  • At least 60 credit hours must be earned from four year institutions.
  • Individualized Study majors are expected to participate in assessment activities. Assessment information is used to assist faculty in modifying curricula.
  • There is no residence requirement; however, program agreements that extend beyond six years may need to be amended if university policies change that affect the original program agreements.


Mechanisms for Earning Credit

The number of credits, which might be accepted or earned through the following methods, is determined by the student’s approved program. It is reasonable to expect that the unique educational needs, background and personal circumstances of each student will determine to a great extent the manner in which credit has been and will be earned.

  • Transfer credit
  • Credit by departmental examination
  • Prior learning assessment
  • Credit for sponsored learning or independent studies
  • Regular course work
  • Credit for experiential learning
  • Credit for educational programs of the Armed Forces
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • American Council on Education College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE)


Prior Learning Assessment

College level learning, acquired through other than traditional classroom experience, must be validated by the student. Procedures for doing so have been established by the ISM office. Requests for experiential learning credit are to be presented no later than midterm of the semester prior to that in which the Individualized Study major plans to graduate. Experiential learning credit is not transferable to a traditional degree program. Majors requesting experiential learning credit must complete IS 203, Portfolio Development. The fee for each learning component evaluation is $75.


College Credit Recommendation Service

The Individualized Study Major accepts credit as recommended in the National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs and the Guide to Educational Credit by Examination prepared by the American Council on Education. Additional information on program policies and procedures is available in the Adult Degree Program: Student Handbook at our Web site.


College-Level Examination Program

The Individualized Study Major at JMU participates in the College Level Examination Program. CLEP is a national program of credit by examination that offers students an opportunity to obtain recognition for achievement in specific college courses. The policy for earning CLEP credit is detailed in the student handbook.

Interested individuals may schedule a CLEP test by directly contacting the office. Requests for specific information on CLEP examinations should be directed to:

College Level Examination Program
Box 592
Princeton, NJ 08540



Students enrolled in an IS major may take courses on a credit/no-credit basis if they have completed 28 credit hours of college course work and have a 2.25 cumulative average.

Courses in the area of concentration, including the senior project, may not be taken on a credit/no-credit basis. Other provisions of the credit/no-credit option, as described in this catalog, will also be in effect.


Service-members Opportunity College

JMU has been designated as an institutional member of Service-members Opportunity College. As an SOC member, the university recognizes the unique nature of the military lifestyle and has committed itself to easing the transfer of relevant course credits, providing flexible academic residency requirements and crediting learning from appropriate military training and experiences.


Second Degree Requirements

Students who hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university may earn a second degree through this program following the general guidelines on Page 24 in this catalog. Second-degree students must complete a minimum of 31-32 credits, including a 30 hour concentration and IS 200, ISM Program Development. If appropriate, eight non-traditional hours may be included in the 30 hour concentration. Second-degree students requesting experiential learning credit must complete IS 203, Portfolio Development.


General Education

General Education course work is designed to provide returning adult students with knowledge and skills that form the foundation for completing a baccalaureate degree, including a professional concentration, in the Individualized Study major.

Credit Hours
Credit Hours
Social/Behavioral Science

Any course with a number other than “000” in the areas of sociology, psychology, economics, history, anthropology, geography and political science.


Any course with a number other than “000” in the areas of philosophy, religion and GHUM courses. Only the following type courses from the art, foreign languages, English, music and dance/theatre academic units count as humanities credit: art appreciation, art history, literature, theatre and dance history, theatre and dance appreciation, foreign language literature or culture, music appreciation or history.

Scientific Literacy requirement

Any course with a number other than “000” in the areas of biology, chemistry, geology, physics and GSCI.

Written Communication

Any course with a number other than “000” in the area of English composition. (If GWRIT 103 is waived through writing assessment, credits may be earned in advanced composition or Technical and Scientific Communication. Choose from WRIT 210, WRIT 320, WRIT 340, ENG 290, ENG 299, ENG 347, ENG 390, ENG 392, ENG 393, ENG 396, TSC 210, TSC 240, TSC 250, TSC 410, TSC 420, TSC 430, TSC 440, TSC 460 or TSC 480.)

Oral Communication

Choose from GCOM 121, GCOM 122, SCOM 121, SCOM 122, SCOM 242 or SCOM 243.

Quantitative requirement

Any course with a number other than “000” in the area of mathematics.

U.S. History

Choose from GPOSC 225 or GHIST 225.

Additional General Education credit

May be fulfilled through exceeding minimum in categories 1-7 or by courses accepted by General Education.