Distinctions & Opportunities

Academic Opportunities

Bachelor of General Studies

Students completing the requirements for a B.G.S. degree must:

  1. Complete a minimum of 120 semester hours of credit to graduate.
  2. Complete at least 69 of the 120 required credit hours in the arts and sciences. Students may earn no more than 21 credit hours—including credits earned on the basis of a self-acquired competency (SAC) portfolio—in a single arts and sciences department or subject area. In addition, students may earn no more than 30 credit hours—including credits earned on the basis of a SAC portfolio—in any one professional school or technical program.
  3. Complete at least 30 of the 120 required credit hours either online or on campus at Indiana University. At least 20 of these credits must be on the Bloomington campus. Earning credit through an academic department examination at Indiana University is equivalent to having completed that course at Indiana University. Credits earned by self-acquired competency or on the basis of the DANTES or Excelsior College exams will not apply toward this 30 credit hour requirement.
  4. Complete at least 20 credit hours after entry to the General Studies Degree program. Credits earned by self-acquired competency or on the basis of the DANTES or Excelsior College exams do not apply toward this 20 credit hour requirement. Credits earned on the basis of Indiana University departmental exams may apply.
  5. Complete at least 30 of the 120 required credit hours at the 300- and 400- level.
  6. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in all courses considered for the B.G.S. and in all courses completed after entry to the General Studies Degree program. The minimum grade accepted for any course completed to satisfy course distribution requirements is C–.
  7. Fulfill the fundamental skills and distribution requirements (see below).
Course Distribution Requirements

To earn the B.G.S. degree, students must complete 12 credit hours in each of three learning areas: arts and humanities, science and mathematics, and social and behavioral sciences. In addition, they must complete an 18 credit hour concentration in one of these three learning areas. The 12 credit hours required in each learning area, as well as the 18 credit hour concentration, must include courses from at least two academic departments. Students must also complete an additional 66 hours of elective credit, including a minimum of 15 additional credit hours in the arts and sciences. No more than 30 credit hours in any one school or technical program (outside the College) can be applied toward this 66 credit hour requirement.

  • Arts and Humanities (12 cr.)
  • Science and Mathematics (12 cr.)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (12 cr.)
  • Concentration (18 cr.)
  • Arts and Sciences Electives (15 cr.)
  • General Electives (51 cr.)

The total number of credit hours required for the B.G.S. is 120.

Concentration Requirements

To complete the concentration for the B.G.S., students must:

  1. Complete an additional 18 credit hours in one of three learning areas: arts and humanities, science and mathematics, or social and behavioral sciences.
  2. Complete courses from at least two departments in the learning area selected for their concentration area.
  3. Earn a minimum grade of C– in the courses you use to fulfill the concentration requirement. Passing grades below C–, as well as credits for courses taken on a pass/fail basis, may be used only for elective credit.
Fundamental Skills (Competency)

Students must meet fundamental skills (competency) requirements that demonstrate college-level competency in five areas:  written communication (two courses are required), oral communication, quantitative reasoning, diversity, and computer literacy. Students may demonstrate fundamental skills competency by completing an appropriate college-level, nonremedial course or its transfer equivalent in English composition/writing, speech/communication, quantitative reasoning, and computer science, or by exercising other options, including departmental, DANTES, or Excelsior College exams.


B.G.S. students may select any of the nonremedial, nondevelopmental courses Indiana University offers to fulfill elective requirements. These electives allow students to explore diverse academic areas and to tailor the general studies degree to individual needs. Students are encouraged to consult with their general studies advisor and to choose courses in subjects related to their academic, professional, and personal interests.

Minors and Certificates  

Optional Minors
Students may earn up to three minors in conjunction with the B.G.S. degree and must discuss this possibility with, and obtain written approval from, the school or department awarding the minor.

Optional Certificates
While meeting degree requirements, B.G.S. students may simultaneously fulfill requirements for any certificates offered by Indiana University. For more information on earning certificates, consult the general studies advisor.

Academic Policies
Graduate Credit Hours

Students may apply a maximum of 6 graduate credit hours to the B.G.S. degree. To apply more than 6 graduate credit hours, students must obtain approval from the College of Arts and Sciences Dean.

Remedial Coursework
Remedial courses are not college-level courses and therefore, do not count toward the B.G.S. degree.

Academic Advising

Students in the General Studies Degree program receive guidance from an academic advisor. Consultation with the advisor is an integral part of the General Studies Degree registration process. The advisor helps formulate a plan of  study that includes the required and elective courses that must be completed to earn the degree. Students should talk to their advisor about the most effective way(s) to fulfill the fundamental skills (competency), course distribution, and related degree requirements. Options include taking specific courses; completing a self-acquired competency (SAC) portfolio; Defense Activity for Nontraditional Education Support (DANTES), Excelsior College, or departmental examinations; and departmental exemption.

Important: Although students are encouraged to seek the advice of a general studies advisor, students are ultimately responsible for planning their own program and for meeting the degree requirements for graduation. Students should be familiar with the sections in this bulletin entitled “Requirements for the  B.G.S.”

To be considered for entry into the General Studies Degree program, students must meet one of the following conditions:
  • Have earned at least 26 college-level credit hours at IU or as a transfer student with at least a 2.000 GPA.
  • Be at least 21 years of age or older with a high school diploma or GED without prior college-level coursework.

Applicants with less than a 2.000 GPA are not considered directly admissible, but may be considered for admission on probation. Applicants who have been dismissed from an academic unit at IU with less than a 2.000 GPA will not be considered for admission for at least one calendar year from the date of dismissal. Applicants who are under 21 and have not completed at least 26 credit hours must apply through the Office of Admissions.

Associate of Arts in General Studies
The Associate of Arts in General Studies will no longer be offered beginning July 1, 2012. Current students will continue to be eligible for this degree. Please direct any questions to the College Recorder's Office through COASRECD [at] indiana [dot] edu (COASRECD@indiana.edu).