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The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Program
In Partnership with Tidewater Community College

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why should I consider the BIS degree program?
  2. What degree will I earn?
  3. Will I fit in with other BIS students?
  4. Once I’m enrolled in the program, how will I know how to plan my academic program?
  5. Can I apply to the BIS program if I already have a bachelor’s degree?
  6. Does BIS award transfer credit for life/work experience or CLEP examinations?
  7. Are my credits too old to transfer? What if I have quarter credits?
  8. Should I wait until I have 60 credits to make an appointment with an admissions counselor?
  9. Is financial aid available to BIS students?
  10. What happens if circumstances prevent me from enrolling in classes for the semester?
  11. Do BIS students participate in the traditional UVA graduation ceremony held on the Lawn in May?
Why should I consider the BIS degree program?
  The BIS degree program is designed to meet the needs of the adult learner. Part-time study, evening courses, excellent faculty, a challenging curriculum, individual faculty advising, small class size, and a UVA degree – these are just some of the reasons why students enroll in the BIS program. In addition, our students have access to resources at the University of Virginia that include extensive audio-visual library collections, career counseling and job search support, individual e-mail accounts and internet support. BIS students are proud to receive their degree from the University of Virginia, one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the United States.
What degree will I earn?
  Students enrolled in the BIS program earn a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree from the University of Virginia. This interdisciplinary degree draws upon an adult student's maturity and experience to study topics from a cross-disciplinary perspective with special emphasis on critical thinking and analysis. The BIS degree is one of several undergraduate degrees awarded by UVA, and graduates of the BIS program are entitled to the same privileges and opportunities available to all students who have earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia.
Will I fit in with other BIS students?
  Yes! You will find that the BIS community is diverse and supportive. There is no “typical” BIS student. Currently, students range in age from the early 20s to mid 70s. They are just as likely to be married as to be single and typically work full-time outside the home in diverse fields such as computer programming, fiscal management, library science, nursing, office administration, education, consulting, food service and many others. Our students find support from their faculty and peers as they meet the challenges of balancing the demands of family, work, and school.
Once I’m enrolled in the program, how will I know how to plan my academic program?
  Each BIS student is assigned a faculty advisor who meets with the student before spring, summer, and fall registration to discuss course selection for the upcoming terms. Students also are encouraged to contact their advisors at any other time for assistance with their academic program. An on-line degree audit tool called VISTAA allows students to check their progress toward degree requirements at any time.
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Can I apply to the BIS program if I already have a bachelor’s degree?
  The BIS program is open only to students who have not earned a first bachelor’s degree. If you are thinking of changing fields and therefore are considering a second undergraduate degree, we would encourage you to explore graduate school options as an alternative.
Does BIS award transfer credit for life/work experience or CLEP examinations?
  The University of Virginia does not participate in the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), the College Proficiency Exam, or the USAFI and DANTES programs of the United States Military Forces, nor does it award transfer credit for life/work experience. UVA does accept up to 12 transferable credits of foreign language course work from the Defense Language Institute.
Are my credits too old to transfer? What if I have quarter credits?
 

The BIS program has no age limit for transfer of credits with one exception: the program does not accept computer application and programming courses that are more than five years old. However, students who can demonstrate that they have kept up with developments in computer applications through recent work experience and/or additional training may petition to have courses older than five years transfer to fulfill admission requirements.

Quarter credits are accepted for admission through a conversion process. Generally, the transfer policy is to assign two-thirds of the quarter credit for transfer. For example, a course that earned three quarter credits will be assigned two semester credits. A course cannot be awarded more credits by transfer than were earned originally.

Should I wait until I have 60 credits to make an appointment with an admissions counselor?
  No! Although prospective students often have not completed all of the admission requirements when they first inquire about the program, we encourage them to make an appointment with a BIS admissions counselor. During that meeting, students can discuss their academic and personal goals and how the BIS program can enable them to reach those goals. The counselor also will review transcripts to make a preliminary evaluation of transfer credits, recommend additional courses to fulfill the admissions requirements, and help students map out a plan for completing those courses. BIS counselors will continue to assist students with course selection and the admission process as they prepare to enter the program. This service is part of the individual support BIS students receive both before and after enrolling in the BIS program.
Is financial aid available to BIS students?
  Yes! BIS applicants who are seeking financial aid need to submit the UVA Entering Undergraduate Financial Aid Application to the UVA Student Financial Services Office (the form is included in the application package and is available on-line at http://www.virginia.edu/financialaid/). In addition, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that is available on the Internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Staff at Student Financial Services can assist students with the financial aid application process. Students must be enrolled in at least six credit hours per semester to be eligible for financial aid.
What happens if circumstances prevent me from enrolling in classes for the semester?
  Students who are on-track for completing the requirements of their first four terms of enrollment and for graduation may ask to take a Leave of Absence for a semester. In these circumstances, a student must consult with his/her faculty advisor to discuss the situation before notifying the BIS staff. Students who wish to take more than one consecutive term off must seek permission from the BIS Director. Due to the cycle of course offerings, an absence from the program may delay a student’s intended graduation date.
Do BIS students participate in the traditional UVA graduation ceremony held on the Lawn in May?
  Yes! BIS students participate along side the graduates from the other nine schools at the University in Final Exercises. In fact, President Casteen mentioned the inaugural BIS graduates by name in his remarks during the May 2002 graduation ceremony.
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