The Bachelor of Liberal Studies Degree

The Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) degree is designed for adults whose life and/or experiences may require a non-traditional approach to completing their degree.  The program is intended for students who, for example, have graduated from high school six or more years ago; are financially self-supporting; or have significant life or professional experiences that translate into academic knowledge that can contribute to the completion of the Bachelor’s degree. 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)

Transfer Credits

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 Leadership and Management major. This major is only open 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. 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 look at the catalog description of Liberal Studies 101, Portfolio Development, for assistance in developing portfolios that document learning gained through life and work for possible conversion to academic credit.