BLS Degree

The Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) degree is designed for adults who want to major in a traditional arts and science discipline and who have at least one of the following characteristics: graduated from high school six or more years ago, is a veteran or active-duty member of the U.S. armed services, is married, has legal dependents other than a spouse, or is financially self-supporting.  Unlike a traditional baccalaureate degree, the BLS offers greater flexibility in the timetable leading to graduation because it does not require full-time study, extended residence at the University or foreign language requirements (unless one majors in a foreign language). A maximum of 90 semester hours of transfer credit may be used to fulfill the requirements for the BLS degree. These credits may include a maximum of 30 credits earned through military service and a maximum of 30 credits earned through a life/work portfolio. BLS students may  choose to major in any one of the more than 30 majors available in arts and sciences or may create a self-designed, interdisciplinary major (subject to the approval of the Bachelor of Liberal Studies Committee). BLS students may also select the new Leadership and Management major. This major is open only to BLS students.

The BLS degree requires a minimum of 120 semester hours, distributed in three categories: general education, major, and electives. Students must also take courses listed as writing intensive and speaking intensive. BLS students generally take courses from among those listed in the College of Arts and Sciences section of the Catalog. In addition, students must satisfy the classroom experience and residential credit requirements listed below. A grade-point average of 2.00 on all work at the University of Mary Washington is also required, with no more than six credits in physical education courses counting toward the degree.

Students who have registered for classes in the B.A./B.S. program at UMW within the past calendar year and who have completed more than 30 credits at the University are not eligible to enroll in the BLS program.

Students are encouraged to complete Liberal Studies 100, Orientation.  Others may wish to enroll in Liberal Studies 101, Portfolio Development, for assistance in developing portfolios that document learning gained through life and work for possible conversion to academic credit.

Additional important information is contained in the BLS General Education Requirements.

Transfer Courses After Matriculation

Students admitted to degree programs at Mary Washington may use courses taken at other colleges and universities to meet Mary Washington degree requirements by obtaining prior approval from the Office of the Registrar. All courses must be approved in advance for transfer credit. Courses to be counted in the major program must also be approved by the student’s major advisor or department chair, who helps the student select course work related to major requirements at Mary Washington. Pre-approved transfer credit will be applied to an UMW degree only if the Office of the Registrar receives an official transcript of that course work by the University’s final deadline.

Second Degree or Post-Baccalaureate Major

A student who has earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington and wishes to pursue further undergraduate work may either complete a post-baccalaureate major and have it noted on the permanent record (with the date of completion) or earn a second degree if it is different from the first degree (for example, a subsequent B.A. or BLS, if the first degree was a B.S.). Second Degree. The student must apply for admission to the new degree program through the Office of Admissions and must earn at least 30 additional credits at Mary Washington after completion of the first degree. No more than 14 of these credits can be completed prior to matriculation for the second degree. The most appropriate 90 credits will be selected to count toward the second degree. The student must complete the major program and general education requirements in the Academic Catalog in effect at the time of matriculation into the second degree.

A student who earned his or her first degree from another institution must enter Mary Washington as a transfer student, then complete the major program and general education requirements of the second degree as defined in the Academic Catalog in effect at the time of matriculation into the second degree.

Post-Baccalaureate Major. A student who has earned a degree at UMW who is completing only an additional major must complete the Major Program requirements printed in the Academic Catalog at the time of major declaration if the student has not discontinued enrollment at UMW for more than two semesters. A student returning after an absence of more than two semesters will be required to complete the major program requirements listed in the Academic Catalog in effect at the time of re-enrollment. Any B.A./B.S. student wishing to pursue a post-baccalaureate major must apply in the Office of the Registrar. A BLS student must apply in the BLS Office.

Taking Graduate Courses as an Undergraduate

An undergraduate student with 18 or fewer hours of course work remaining for degree completion may take up to six hours of graduate credit beyond the undergraduate degree requirements. Such graduate credit may be counted toward a master’s degree at the University, but will not be used to fulfill undergraduate degree requirements unless the student receives special permission. The student must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade-point average and must receive permission from his/her academic advisor and the chair of the department offering the course.