BLS: Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the BLS degree program? Originally designed for the adult student who has earned college credits at one or more postsecondary institutions and desiring to complete a liberal arts and sciences degree program, the Bachelor of Liberal Studies program is a degree-completion program.

2. How do I know that I want the BLS program rather than the BA or BS degree Programs? Admissions is more competitive for the BA or BS degree program. In addition, the BLS program is more flexible in the acceptance of credits for prior college-level learning including experiential learning through documentation of life/work portfolio, credit-by-exam, CLEP, and military (ACE) credits. Unlike the BA/BS program, the BLS program requires fewer general education requirements and does not require specific courses to satisfy general education areas.

3. How many transfer credits may be accepted toward the BLS degree? 90. A minimum of 30 resident credits at University of Mary Washington is required. Fall 2003 students must have 15 resident (UMW) credits in their major.

4. What is the maximum number of military credits accepted? 30 ACE credits

5. How are credits awarded for other experiential learning? Students who wish to document college-level learning through life/work experiences may submit a portfolio for evaluation. Prior to submission of the portfolio, the student must complete the one-credit, pass/fail class BLST 101 Portfolio.

6. How many credits are awarded for a portfolio submitted? The usual range is 0 to 15 credits. In exceptional cases, with BLS Committee review and approval, 16- 30 credits may be awarded.

7. How do I ensure that I am not taking a course at UMW that is considered a duplicate of a course that I have completed at another institution? An approved curriculum plan/Degree Plan, submitted for approval when between 70 and 90 credits have been earned toward the BLS degree, by the faculty advisor, BLS Office and BLS Committee, will guide the student through degree completion by listing courses meeting general education, elective and major requirements that have been completed and courses to be completed.

8. Although I am eager to return to college and complete a liberal arts and sciences degree program in my chosen field of study, I am concerned about my ability to succeed. You may consider taking the optional, one-credit, pass/fail orientation class for BLS students, BLST 100 Orientation, and meet other new BLS students and learn general information about college resources and study strategies. In addition, the Office of Academic Services offers several study skills workshops each semester.

9. After admission into the BLS degree program, is it possible to take a course at another postsecondary institution and receive additional transfer credit toward the BLS degree? Yes; additional transfer credits may be accepted if less than 90 transfer credits have been accepted toward the BLS degree and if you have received prior approval of the courses to be taken.

10. How much notice is required for prior approval of transfer credits? The Registrar’s Office requires two-weeks notice prior to course registration to ensure that the student is taking a course that duplicates a course taken previously at another institution and that the student is taking a course that is compatible with the liberal arts and sciences degree program.

11. When is the earliest that I may register for each academic session? Advance registration appointments dates and times are determined by credits earned toward the degree and are posted on the Registrar’s website during March and October. Only currently enrolled BLS students and students on approved leave of absence are eligible for advance registration.

12. Is there an advantage in taking courses offered during the summer sessions? As long as the necessary prerequisite courses have been completed, all students are eligible to register for summer classes starting in March before the summer sessions.

13. I have not completed all of the BLS general education requirements and do not have an approved curriculum plan; how do I make sure that I am taking a course that will satisfy a requirement? The BLS Advisor, is available for advising regarding courses that will satisfy general education requirements.

14. I have over 70 credits and need to develop a curriculum plan; how do I get assistance? On this site is the format for the BLS curriculum plan with instructions.  Alternatively, you may stop by the BLS Office to pick up a paper copy of both the instructions and the curriculum plan format. In addition, you may call and make an appointment with the BLS Advisor for assistance. A faculty advisor in the academic discipline gives assistance with the major courses.

15. How do I receive notice of my faculty advisor? The BLS student receives a faculty advisor assignment when 1 of the following conditions met:

  • If over 30 credits but under 70, must have 2 consecutive semesters of satisfactory performance (2.0 or better) at UMW (2nd semester may be in process).
  • If over 70 credits, but is a newly admitted BLS student, the student must have attended BLS Orientation and be currently enrolled at UMW in at least one class in major.

16. How do I notify the BLS Office of my intended field of study or a change in my intended field of study? The BLS Student, who is eligible for a faculty advisor assignment, notifies the BLS Office by completing major declaration cards (yellow and orange) and after completion, takes the orange card to the academic chairperson and returns the completed yellow card to the BLS Office.

17. What is the grade point average required for graduation? A UMW cumulative GPA of 2.0 and a major GPA of 2.0.

18. If I receive a C-, D, or F in a UMW course, what is the best way to improve my grade point average? Repeat the course. Although the first attempt will not be deleted from your transcript, only the grade in the repeated course determines the grade-point average and amount of credits earned for the course.

19. Is there a limit on the number of nongraded physical education credits allowed? The limit is 6 credits.

20. May I take classes on a pass/fail basis? Yes, with restrictions. You may take no more than 20% of UMW classes in the elective area on a pass/fail basis. Classes meeting general education and major requirements must be taken for graded credit.

21. Is there a limit on the number of repeat courses allowed? Yes; the limit is 2 in a semester.

22. Is the BLS degree program approved for veterans’ benefits? Yes; the BLS degree program is fully approved for veterans’ benefits. Prospective BLS students who have questions about veterans’ benefits prior to admission to UMW should contact the Veterans Inquiry Unit at 888/442-4551, or consult the V.A. website.

Students admitted to the BLS degree program should address inquiries and requests for veterans’ benefits to Patricia Sarkuti, Transfer Credit coordinator, Office of the Registrar, Lee Hall 252, phone: 540/654-2140, email: psarkuti@umw.edu. Various required V.A. forms are available.

23. Where can I find additional sources of information about the BLS program?