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Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) Program


The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Degree (BIS) exists to serve a growing population of non-traditional adult learners needing a more flexible program to accommodate existing work and family responsibilities. Previously offered as the Bachelor of General Studies (BGS), the program was expanded to provide a greater exposure to more programs and career options, with customizable majors.

The Interdisciplinary Studies degree program is open to adults who are at least 22 years old and:

  • Are working either full or part time, as well as unemployed
  • Have been away from school for a period of time
  • Desire to either begin or complete a bachelor degree
  • May be undecided about a major
  • Wish to find a degree program that meets their goals and accommodates their work and family schedules

The advantages of a Interdisciplinary Studies degree

Students may now choose from two or more areas of study, with the ability to design a program aligning with their own career, academic and professional goals, and which accommodates the needs of family and work.

Courses, seminars and other student services are offered, with programs designed for each student’s unique interests, goals, background and related experience, under an experienced advisor’s guidance.

*The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) which measures knowledge, gained through work, independent study or other means.

**Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) tests for documented college-level learning acquired outside of a classroom.

A total of 118 credits is required for the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree.  Credits can be earned through class work, examination, internship experiences, transfer credit from other colleges and universities, or by receiving credit for documented prior learning.

Students may also receive credit for:

  • Military service
  • Employer training programs
  • Credit through examination *
  • Credit for prior learning **

The BIS program offers 4 majors:

Applied Communications
Business Institutions
Health Services Administration
Human Studies

The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) program is designed for adults who have been out of school for five or more years.  It is a good choice both for people who have never been to college and for students who attended college in the past but did not complete a degree.  For the latter, the BIS program makes it possible to apply previous educational experience toward a degree program.  There are several ways to meet the admissions requirements for the program; therefore, the admissions process should begin with an interview with a BIS advisor in the Admissions and Advising Office at CEPS.

The BIS program consists of the following required sections:

BIS 100 Pro-Seminar
3 credits
URI 101B Traditions and Transformations
1 credit
General Education Program
39 credits
     English Communication 6 credits
     Fine Arts and Literature 6 credits
     Foreign Language/Cross Cultural Competence 6 credits
     Mathematical & Quantitative Reasoning 3 credits
     Social Sciences (BIS 390 is used here) 6 credits
     Natural Sciences (BIS 391 is used here) 6 credits
     Letters (BIS 392 is used here) 6 credits
BIS Major (choose one of the following) 45 – 48 credits
     Applied Communications
     Business Institutions
     Health Services Administration
     Human Studies
The electives permit students to complete the BIS degree in a number of creative ways
— through coursework, through carefully designed work experience or internships,
or through previous but relevant educational experience.
24 – 27 credits
Senior Project (BIS 399)
3 credits
118 credits


The BIS program has developed a set of learning outcomes we hope you will achieve by the time you graduate.  Throughout your academic career at CEPS, you will have the opportunity to monitor your progress and discuss your achievements with your advisor.

At the end of the program, BIS graduates will act as:

  • Critical and Creative Thinkers with the ability to communicate in a variety of forms, and use information from multiple sources to explore new questions, analyze complex issues, and make informed decisions.
  • Global Thinkers who accept and appreciate other cultural or ethnic perspectives, understand common human experiences and use this knowledge to assess issues that affect community, country and planet.
  • Collaborative Thinkers who appreciate the interconnectedness of all knowledge and who can use information and concepts from studies in multiple disciplines to work with others to solve problems.
  • Lifelong Learners who recognize the value of education throughout one’s life, who maintain an active interest in developments in those fields which impact the person’s profession and who appreciate the pleasure of learning.

Scholarships and other assistance and services

  • As one of the few Continuing Education colleges offering endowed scholarships, financial assistance covering books and tuition are available for matriculated adult BIS students. Learn more about the scholarships available.
  • Free parking with shuttle buses to campus, along with good access to public transportation, makes getting to class easier.
  • All classes are held in one building, and are offered both days and weekends, offering more flexibility for student schedules.
  • Preschool is also available for children of student parents.

Interested students can fill this form or call the campus at 401.277.5160 to discuss available options with a BIS program representative.

Academic Appeals Procedures

Program Modifications / Exceptions Guidelines

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The University of Rhode Island
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