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Individualized Studies

Fall schedule is here!

Make sure to check out the new Ft. Lee fall schedule and get all the classes you need!

For those looking to enroll in DIET 101 or ARTS 199, email Janette Coles directly to get in the class.  

Designesd to meet the needs of hard working adults

  • Offsite Classes
  • Evening Classes
  • Personal Attention
  • Competitive Pricing
  • Flexible Course Requirements
  • Work/Life Experiences for Credit

A Bachelors Degree in Individualized Studies can be all you need to Advance your career!

The Bachelor of Individualized Studies (BIS) degree at Virginia State University was designed specifically for adult students and provides working adults the opportunity to complete a college degree through a combination of traditional and nontraditional methods of earning academic credit.  The traditional methods of earning college credit include taking courses at VSU and transferring credit from other regionally accredited community colleges, colleges and universities. The nontraditional methods include credit by examination, credit for educational experiences in the Armed Forces as evaluated by the American Council on Education, and credit for work/life learning as documented by a personal portfolio.  Candidates must earn a minimum of 120 semester hours or the equivalent.

In completing the degree, the following minimum requirements must be met:

GENERAL EDUCATION:  A maximum of 36 semester hours (SH) consisting of:

  • 6 SH in English Composition
  • 3 SH in Literature
  • 3 SH in Humanities
  • 3 SH in Technology
  • 3 SH in Social Sciences
  • 3 SH in History
  • 3 SH in Global Studies
  • 6 SH in Mathematics
  • 4 SH in Natural Sciences*
  • 2 SH in Health & Wellness

*Natural Science labs are highly recommended.

SPECIALIZATION:  A minimum of 30 semester hours in a particular area selected by the student will be designated as the specialization. This specialization indicates the primary focus of the individualized degree program.  At least 15 SH in the specialization must be course work taken at VSU at the upper level (junior/senior level). 

There are two specializations, however, that require special attention and restrictions:


If you select business as a specialization, you will not be allowed to take more that 27 semester hours of course work in traditional business subjects.

ELECTIVES:  The remaining semester hours taken to complete the degree beyond the general education requirement and the specialization courses are listed as elective credits.  These elective credits should complement the area of specialization or reflect a secondary interest.


RESIDENCY:  At least 30 SH must be earned from Virginia State University.  

COURSE LEVEL:  At least 40 SH must be earned at the upper division (Junior/Senior level).

COURSE TYPE:  At least 60 SH must be earned from traditional classroom study (transfer and/or resident courses).  At least 30 of these 60 SH must have been earned within six years of graduation.  A maximum of 64 SH from the community college level may be applied towards the BIS degree.  A maximum of 30 SH may be awarded for work/life experience (portfolio petition).  A maximum of 30 SH each may also be earned for Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) and for military education courses.

Credit for educational experiences in the Armed Forces may be awarded after one has completed the admission process, enrolled in INDS 302-Orientation, and submitted documentation of military education/training (a military transcript).  Academic credit is based on the recommendations of the American Council on Education (ACE).  This evaluation is done by an advisor in the BIS degree program, not by Admissions.

Credit for work/life experience may be awarded on the basis of enrollment in INDS-301, Life/Work Seminar, and the preparation of a personal portfolio documenting experiential learning.  Life/work learning must be matched with courses currently offered by Virginia State University, as reflected in the current catalog.  Each portfolio will be evaluated by the faculty of the academic department from which credit is being petitioned.

The flexibility of the above distribution requirements and the traditional and non-traditional methods of earning credit allow the non-traditional student, working with an academic advisor, to design a program of study tailored to meet his/her individualized educational goals.  Courses may be taken at several locations convenient to the student, including:

VSU On-Campus (days, evenings and weekends)

VSU at Ft. Lee (evenings)

VSU Weekend College at John Tyler Community College-Chester Campus (weekends)

BIS candidates may be full-time students (12-18 hours) or part-time students (less than 12 hours).  Students admitted to the BIS degree program are eligible to apply for financial aid.

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