Adult Degree Program

  Select a link below to go to specific topics on this page:

  Program Requirements
  Mechanisms for Earning Credit
  Service Members Opportunity College
  Second Degree Requirments
  General Education Program

Vickie Lilley, Adult Learning Service Coordinator
Phone: (540) 568-8012
Web site:

Mission Statement

The Bachelor of Individualized Study (B.I.S.) degree program is designed specifically to provide returning adult students an opportunity to pursue a college education according to individualized needs, goals and time schedules. This program is distinguished from other degree programs presently offered at JMU by students being able to tailor degree requirements to their personal needs and experiences.


Applicants must have a lapse of at least three full years in their formal education, a minimum of 30 credit hours, and an approved individualized study program to be eligible for admission. Admission applications are submitted to the Adult Degree Program office.

Program Requirements

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.

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 Adult Degree Program Committee. Requests for experiential learning credit are to be presented no later than midterm of the semester prior to that in which the B.I.S. 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 Orientation to Prior Learning Assessment. The fee for each learning component evaluation is $75.

College Credit Recommendation Service

The B.I.S. program 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 the BIS program policies and procedures is available in the Adult Degree Program: Student Handbook.

College-Level Examination Program

The B.I.S. program at JMU participates in the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). 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.
The Adult Degree Program administers CLEP examinations for JMU and the surrounding area. 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 the program 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 BIS 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 the 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 201, Orientation to Academic Program Development. If appropriate, 8 nontraditional hours may be included in the 30-hour concentration. Second-degree students requesting experiential learning credit must complete IS 203, Orientation to Prior Learning Assessment.

General Education Program

General Education program 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. While providing a backbone for lifelong learning and graduate degrees, this program recognizes the individual goals of adult learners and encourages nontraditional students to become active in designing their own education.


Credit Hours

Social/Behavioral Science


    Sociology, psychology, economics, history,

   anthropology, geography, and political science



    Art appreciation, art history, literature, theater and dance
    history, theater and dance appreciation, foreign language
    literature or culture, music appreciation or history, philosophy,
    and religion (courses acceptable in the humanities area may not
    include all courses in the related academic departments)

Natural Science


    Biology, chemistry, geology, physics, and integrated science
    and technology (selected courses)

Written Communication


    English composition (If waived by meeting writing assessment
    requirements, credits may be earned in advanced composition,
    English literature, or technical and scientific communication)

Oral Communication


Speech communications



U. S. History


Additional General Education credit


    Courses accepted by General Education: The Human
    Community and appropriate additional courses from
   these academic departments