Dec 06, 2022  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Studies Major, B.G.S.

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Department Information

School of Continuing Studies & Academic Outreach
PO Box 70659
916 W. Maple St.
Phone: (423) 439-4223
Web Address:

The School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach offers the Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.) to provide students an alternative to traditional degree programs. A learner-centered program, the BGS allows students to develop an individualized program of study specifically tailored to their learning needs.

The BGS program allows students the freedom to pursue a program of study across disciplinary boundaries that suits their academic, professional, and personal interests. Each student develops an Individual Learning Plan in consultation with the academic advisor; this program of study includes ETSU General Education requirements, thematically related elective credits, and previous college-level work to meet ETSU graduation requirements. The BGS program is well-suited for students who can work independently and whose work-life situations require more flexible program requirements and the availability of online, evening, and hybrid-format courses, especially those who have earned significant amounts of college credit in the past and often from multiple institutions. BGS students are encouraged to apply for college credit from non-traditional sources such as prior work experience or military training through means such as CLEP, departmental challenge examinations, or a prior-learning credit portfolio for course-equivalency credit. Students enrolled in the BGS program may not double-major at ETSU.

Admission Requirements

The Division of Cross-Disciplinary Studies offers four undergraduate degree programs: Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of General Studies, Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, and Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies. Students who apply for admissions to any of the programs in the Division of Cross-Disciplinary Studies (CDST) are required to:

  1. Identify Cross-Disciplinary Studies interest as your major on the application form. 
  2. Complete an interview. The application process for these degrees includes an admissions interview designed to help students choose the best degree program for their objectives. The department will contact the applicant to schedule an interview online, in person, or by phone. 
  3. Be recommended for admission to the appropriate CDST degree. After the interview the academic advisor makes a recommendation on admission to a CDST degree program or refers them to another department.

The chair accepts or denies admission to the recommended CDST program. Cross-Disciplinary Studies Interest is not a federal financial aid eligible program. Once admitted to the appropriate degree program, these programs are federal financial aid eligible and the student may qualify for federal financial aid for courses in their program of study.

Degree Requirements: 120 credits

General Education 41-42 credits
Major Total Requirement 79 credits
      Major Core    (10 credits)
      Electives    (66 credits)
     Senior Capstone    (3 credits)
TOTAL 120 credits

Suggested Four-Year Program of Study: BGSD-BGS  

Upper Division Requirement: 34 credits of the student’s total program must be upper division (3000/4000 levels).

General Education Requirements  

These requirements include earning 41-42 credits in Communication, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social and Behavior Sciences, History, Natural Sciences and Mathematics categories.

Total Requirements for General Studies Major: 79 credits

Major Field Core: 10 credits

Free Electives: 66 credits

Senior Capstone: 3 credits

No Minor Required

Additional Information

Click here to view Degree and Graduation Requirements  for all ETSU students.

CSCI 1100  or Proficiency exam: Must be completed to meet Bachelor’s Degree Requirements. 

Most minors range from 18-24 credits. Those few minors with more than 24 credits may affect the number of free electives allowed.

Individual Learning Plan (ILP)

Students’ Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) are developed in consultation with the academic advisor when they enter the BGS program. Each ILP includes prior college credit and credit for CLEP and other examinations, prior learning portfolio equivalency credit, and other forms of prior learning credit endorsed by the American Council on Education, plus planned new coursework to meet ETSU graduation requirements. BGS majors may earn no more than 25 percent of their total degree credits from the ETSU College of Business and Technology.

The Prior Learning/Experiential Learning Portfolio

The prior learning portfolio is an option that allows students in the Bachelor of Applied Science, the Bachelor of General Studies, the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies programs the opportunity to earn credit for college-level learning that has taken place outside the traditional college classroom. In consultation with the advisor, students prepare a prior learning portfolio, which is submitted to the advisor to appraise form and content. Final approval is made by the appropriate departmental faculty. Credit may be awarded only for prior learning that directly equates with specific ETSU courses.

If a student transfers from the majors listed above to another major, credits earned through the prior-learning portfolio cannot be applied to the new major. No more than 25 percent of the degree may be earned through the prior learning portfolio process. In a 120 credit program, this limit is 30 credits. Credit earned through the prior learning portfolio is ungraded and does not impact the student’s grade point average. Portfolio credit does not count as ETSU residence credit.

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