Jul 22, 2024  
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2024-25 
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2024-25

Specialized Studies Major (B.I.S.)

Major code BI1118*

University College  
Chubb Hall 140
Athens, OH 45701
Phone: 740.593.1935
Fax: 740.593.0206

Julie Cohara, Director of Degree Programs

Program Overview

The Specialized Studies (B.I.S.) program allows students to create a faculty-approved, individualized, multidisciplinary degree program tailored to their individual academic interests and/or career needs. In conjunction with faculty and staff, students design an Area of Concentration that stands as the equivalent of pre-established major.

The Specialized Studies program is appropriate if you would like to combine courses from different academic departments to create a unique major, or if you have interests and career goals not met by a current Ohio University major.

The Specialized Studies program is not an appropriate degree program for someone who has previously completed a bachelor’s degree. In special circumstances, a person who has completed a prior bachelor’s degree may petition the director of degree programs to seek permission to apply for and complete the B.I.S. degree. The Specialized Studies major cannot be completed as a second major program of study. Nor can a student declare a double major with the B.I.S. degree.

The Specialized Studies program is available on all Ohio University campuses and online.

*This program was previously BS1112 which awarded the Bachelor of Specialized Studies degree. Pending Board of Trustees approval (anticipated June 2024), the new program code will be BI1118 and will award the Bachelor of Integrative Studies degree effective the 2024-25 catalog year.

Admissions Information

Freshman/First-Year Admission

New students may enter OHIO as a Pre-Specialized Studies (ND1112) major. Once attending, new pre-Specialized Studies first-year students are encouraged to become oriented to the Specialized Studies program and regularly meet with their advisor to develop their proposal throughout their first year.

Currently registered, degree seeking students may apply to the Specialized Studies program as early as the term in which they anticipate reaching sophomore rank (at least 30 semester hours earned) and will have attained a 2.0 or higher cumulative GPA.

Change of Program Policy

Students may declare pre-Specialized Studies. as a major. Declaring a pre-Specialized Studies. major does not remove a student’s current major. However, after the student officially applies to the Specialized Studies program with a proposed curriculum, the student’s previous major will be removed once the individualized major program is approved.

To declare the pre-Specialized Studies major, students shall connect with a Specialized Studies academic advisor on their campus (OHIO online students remain with their academic advisor). Please call 740-593-1935 for assistance in identifying an appropriate advisor for a campus. Set up a meeting with the academic advisor to become oriented and begin collaborating on a Specialized Studies proposal. Students should expect to regularly meet with their Specialized Studies advisor 3-5 times once a rough draft of the proposed program is established to prepare the proposal for faculty partnership and formal review for admission to the program. Alternately, pre-Specialized Studies students may enroll in UC 2610 - General Studies Seminar  to develop their proposal.

Students should formally submit their proposals to establish residency for that term no later than the deadline of one month and one day prior to the last day of the term. Proposals will be reviewed by the review committee each term on a rolling basis from weeks 1 through 11 during fall and spring. Approved students will begin their residency the semester in which the complete and authorized application proposal was submitted, so long as it was submitted by the stated application deadline.

External Transfer Admission

Students who have transferred from another institution may apply to the Specialized Studies major following the application procedure described above. The Specialized Studies program can be a very good option for transfer students, as transfer work accepted by Ohio University can be used to help meet requirements for the degree, including the Area of Concentration. Transfer students should be aware of the Residency Requirement (hours completed as a Specialized Studies major) of 30 hours, as well as the 39 hours required at the 3000-/4000-level. Also, transfer students are required to complete at least 32 semester hours through Ohio University to receive a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University, and at least 50 percent of the major (Area of Concentration) must be completed through OHIO. Transfer students may begin working with their advisor prior to enrollment OR enroll in UC 2610  to develop their proposal.

Opportunities Upon Graduation

By its nature, the Specialized Studies program is unique to each individual, making a general statement regarding career preparation impractical. The application process, however, requires a statement of rationale for pursuing the major and for selection of courses in the Area of Concentration. This statement includes the student’s educational and career goals and requires the student to thoroughly research pathways to their goals. Many students in the program design a major with a specific career goal or graduate program in mind. Additionally, the Specialized Studies major has internship and special projects options, which can provide upper-level course credit and further students’ preparation for their particular career objectives. The Specialized Studies program works closely with a career coach to offer students career support.


As a student in the program, you may complete one or more academic minors, as long as the courses taken to meet the minor requirements are not included in the Area of Concentration. A student should indicate their intention to complete a minor at the time they submit a Specialized Studies application. Courses required to earn a certificate may be included in the Area of Concentration.

Up to 30 hours earned through the Prior Learning Assessment Program may be applied to the Specialized Studies degree program. A maximum of 33 hours from the College of Business’s business accredited courses may be included in a Specialized Studies degree program.

Specialized Studies students may earn departmental honors through University College. Students must have an accumulated GPA of a 3.5 or greater and complete an honors thesis to be eligible to earn departmental honors. Guidelines and an application are available from the director of degree programs.

To submit an application to the Specialized Studies program for consideration, a student must:

  1. Be currently registered as a degree-seeking student;
  2. Anticipate reaching sophomore rank (at least 30 semester hours earned) in the term of application; and

  3. Have earned a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above.

To graduate with a Bachelor of Integrative Studies degree, a student must:

  1. Earn at least 120 hours, of which at least 39 must be courses with catalog numbers at the 3000-level or above, as shown in this catalog. This does not include graduate level courses.
  2. Begin their residency the semester in which a completed and authorized application was submitted, so long as it was submitted by the stated application deadline. The residency requires no fewer than 30 hours at Ohio University and excludes any transfer credit, transient credit, Course Credit by Examination, Independent Study coursework, etc., for which the initial registration occurred prior to application to the Specialized Studies program.
  3. Complete 15 classes (ranging from 30 - 50 hours) in the self-designed Area of Concentration approved by the Specialized Studies review committee. At least 50 percent of the coursework taken for the Area of Concentration must be completed at Ohio University.
  4. Complete the University General Education requirements.
  5. Complete the minimum of 30 hours of Ohio University coursework to satisfy the University residency requirement.
  6. Earn at least a 2.0 GPA in the Area of Concentration and overall.


Student Scholarships
Several scholarships are awarded each year to both traditional and non-traditional students in the Specialized Studies program. Applications are available on the University College website each December with deadlines in mid-February.

Special Projects Fund
Students in the Specialized Studies program may apply for funding for up to $500 to support a research project or prior learning assessment activity related to their programs of study. An application is required and can be obtained from director of degree programs.  The Special Projects Fund is subject to available funding.


Specialized Studies-specific courses include:

Students are strongly encouraged to undertake an internship as part of their curriculum. Students who develop work or volunteer experience related to their curriculum can earn up to 15 credit hours for their experience.

Special Projects
This course option allows Specialized Studies students to pursue a unique learning experience, such as independent study, research, international experience, or a conference presentation. Students can apply for up to $500 from the Special Projects Fund to help offset costs of pursing a special project.

Senior Seminar
In this seminar, seniors work with faculty members and with classmates to reflect on academic experiences and prepare to launch into life beyond Ohio University.

Students may choose to work on a research or creative project for their thesis. This optional course is intended for students who plan to graduate with departmental honors. The departmental honors distinction is noted on the student’s diploma.

University-wide Graduation Requirements

Ohio University requires the completion of a minimum of 120 semester hours for the conferral of a bachelor’s degree. This program can be completed within that 120-hour requirement. For more information on the minimum hours requirement and other university-wide requirements, please review the Graduation Requirements – University-wide  page.

College Requirements

Major Residency

At least 50% of the course work taken in the major must be completed at Ohio University.

Area of Concentration

Propose 15 courses (approximately 30 - 50 hours) in your self-defined Area of Concentration. This should include courses that most accurately represent your intended major and career path. The Area of Concentration appears on the DARS report once the individualized major program is approved. Once a student’s proposal is approved, all courses proposed in a student’s area of concentration are required coursework on the DARS and must be completed.

39 Hour 3000-Level or Above Requirement

Complete at least 39 hours from coursework at or above the 3000-level.

Specialized Studies Residency Requirement

A student’s Specialized Studies residency begins the semester in which a completed and authorized application was submitted, so long as it was submitted by the stated application deadline. The residency requires no fewer than 30 hours at Ohio University and excludes any transfer credit, transient credit, Course Credit by Examination, Independent Study coursework, etc., for which the initial registration occurred prior to application to the Specialized Studies program.