Jun 14, 2024  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Individualized Study, B.I.S.

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Dr. Windi Turner, Academic Unit Head and Program Director
Phone: (540) 568- 4253
Email: adp@jmu.edu
Location: Ice House, 127 W. Bruce Street, Room 332
Website: http://www.jmu.edu/adultdegree


The Adult Degree Program (ADP) addresses the needs of adult learners through an innovative, personalized program plan of study; providing students with the opportunity to develop an undergraduate degree that meets their individual educational and professional goals.


To be eligible for the ADP, applicants must be at least 22 years of age; have at least 30 transferable college credits; and  a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher for all prior coursework.

With very limited exceptions, students in the Individualized Study major (the ADP’s academic major) cannot transfer to another major at JMU.

Degrees Offered

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

Program Requirements

  • Completion of IS 200. Individualized Study Major Program Development  
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours to graduate.
  • A minimum of 30 credit hours earned from JMU.
  • At least 60 credit hours earned from a four-year institution.
  • A program  of study (POS) for meeting the requirements of  degree completion must be submitted to the  ADP office for approval while enrolled in the IS 200  course.
  • To earn a B.I.S. degree, students must complete a minimum of 41 General Education  credits.
  • To earn a B.A. degree, students must complete the 41 General Education credit hour requirements, plus an additional three (3) credits of philosophy and six (6) credits of foreign language at the intermediate (200) level for a total of 50 General Education  credit hours.
  • To earn a B.S. degree,  students must complete the  41 General Education credit hours, plus an additional three (3) credis to meet the quantitative requirement and an additional three (3) credits to meet the scientific literacy requirement for a total of 47 General Education  credit hours.
  • A student’s concentration, or field of study, consists of a minimum of 30 credits, at least 24 of which must be upper-division credit (300- and 400-level courses). The concentration includes classes from two (2) or more academic disciplines and represent a coherent body of knowledge, which may require course work beyond the 30 minimum credit hours.
  • No more than 30 credit hours of course work can be selected from courses taught by the College of Business . 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.
  • Completion of IS 498. Individualized Study Project ,  an online  interdisciplinary research course with a capstone project  coordinated by the instructor and includes a final written and oral presentation.  This course must be completed with a minimum grade of “C.”
  • IS 206. Researching, Writing and Documenting Prior Learning  (required for students pursuing credit for prior learning experience only).
  • Participation in assessment activities used to measure student learning outcomes and modify curriculum.
  • There is no residency requirement; however, program agreements that extend beyond six (6) years may need to be amended if university policies change that affect the original program of study.

Program of Study

As an Individualized Studies major, each  student  works with the ADP Academic Adviser to create an individual program  of study (POS) that includes a minimum of 41 General Education Requirements .

The Bachelors of Science in Individualized Studies requires an additional Natural Science (3 credits) and Mathematics (3 credits).

The Bachelors of Arts in Individualized Studies requires an additional philosophy (3 credits) and foreign language (6 credits).

Individualized Studies Major Concentration

This is the focus area of study in the Individualized Studies degree. The concentration is  interdisciplinary and  comprised of classes from two or more academic program areas to meet each student’s educational and/or professional goals.

  • Minimum of 30 credits.
  • 24 credits must be completed in 300- or 400-level courses.
  • IS 498. Individualized Study Project  – online interdisciplinary  research course with a capstone project, included in the 24 upper-level course requirements.

Mechanisms for Earning Credit

The number of credits, which may be accepted as transfer credit or earned through the following methods, is determined by the student’s approved POS. 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 awarded by the Registrar’s Office.
  • Credit by departmental examination.
  • Credit for approved sponsored learning or independent studies.
  • Regular course work.
  • Credit for experiential learning through portfolio of prior learning assessment (PLA).  *
  • Credit for educational programs of the Armed Forces (JST).
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP).*
  • American Council on Education College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE).*

*No more than 30 non-traditional credits can be counted towards the degree requirements of 120 credit hours which includes PLA, JST, CLEP, and ACE.

Online Interdisciplinary Tracks

Online interdisciplinary tracks were developed in cooperation with various academic units at the university. Students can use these tracks when developing their concentration.

  • Business & Information Technology
  • Small Business Management & Entrepreneurship
  • Human Resource Development & Management
  • Professional Workplace Communication
  • Healthcare Leadership
  • Child Development
  • Family & Consumer Sciences
  • Early Childhood Education 2+2 with teacher licensure
  • Elementary Education with teacher licensure

Prior Learning Assessment

Prior learning assessment (PLA) is an assessment of knowledge and skills acquired prior to or outside of enrollment in higher education for the purpose of earning college level credit. The term portfolio is used to describe a collection of evidence to support the PLA process. Through the portfolio, a student makes a case by succinctly identifying, articulating, and documenting mastery of college level learning or its equivalence.

PLA is an option for a student who has gained significant learning through experiences including, but not limited to: workplace training, volunteer service, civic activities, conferences, workshops, vocational interests, travel, and independent reading.

PLA is not an option for everyone. The process entails extensive preparation, excellent academic writing skills, and the ability to meet deadlines. Before a portfolio is submitted for approval, students must complete IS 206. Researching, Writing and Documenting Prior Learning . There is no guarantee that a portfolio submitted for credit will be approved.

PLA must be a part of a students’ approved POS and does not count towards credit at the four-year institution level or as JMU credit. PLA credit is not transferable to a traditional degree program at JMU.

College Credit Recommendation Service

ADP accepts some but not all credits 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 specific to JST is available through the ADP website.

College-Level Examination Program

Students enrolled in the ADP at JMU may participate in the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) under certain circumstances and with permission of the Director. CLEP is a national program of credit by examination that offers students an opportunity to obtain recognition for achievement in specific college courses. In the ADP, CLEP testing must be a part of a student’s approved POS. CLEP credits do not count toward credit at the four-year institution level, toward the 30 credits required from JMU, toward General Education requirements, or toward B.A./B.S. degree requirements.

Interested individuals may schedule a CLEP test by directly contacting the Adult Degree Program office.


Students enrolled in the ADP may complete courses on a credit/no-credit basis if they have completed 28 credit hours of college level course work and have a 2.25 cumulative GPA.

Courses in the area of concentration, including the senior capstone research course, 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.

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