Jul 16, 2024  
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2015-16 
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2015-16 [Archived Catalog]

Specialized Studies Major (B.S.S.)

Major code BS1112

University College  
Chubb Hall 140
Athens, OH 45701
Phone: 740.593.1935
Fax: 740.593.0206

Tanya Barnett, Director of Degree Programs

Program Overview

The Bachelor of Specialized Studies (B.S.S.) program allows students to create a faculty-approved, individualized, multidisciplinary degree program tailored to their individual interests and needs. In conjunction with faculty and staff, students design an Area of Concentration that stands as the equivalent of pre-established major.

The Bachelor of Specialized Studies (B.S.S.) is appropriate for if you would like to combine courses from different academic departments to create a unique major, or if you have interests and career goals not met by a current Ohio University major.

Typically, the Bachelor of Specialized Studies degree is not an appropriate degree program for someone who has previously completed a bachelor’s degree. In special circumstances, a person who has completed a prior bachelor’s degree may petition the director of degree programs to seek permission to apply for and complete the B.S.S. degree. The B.S.S. program is not an appropriate choice as a second degree program (double major).

The Bachelor of Specialized Studies (B.S.S.) program is available on all Ohio University campuses, including e-Campus.

Admissions Information

Freshman/First-Year Admission

Currently registered, degree seeking students may apply to the Bachelor of Specialized Studies as early as the semester in which they anticipate reaching sophomore rank (at least 30 semester hours earned) and will have attained a 2.0 or higher cumulative GPA. Additionally, new students may enter OHIO as Pre-B.S.S. (ND1112) majors as they develop their major and successfully complete the application process.

Change of Program Policy

To enter the Specialized Studies program, you must complete an online application. Students may obtain access to the online application from University College, regional campus, or e-Learning B.S.S. advisors, who will assist in designing the Area of Concentration. Applicants must also work with two B.S.S. faculty reviewers (Group 1 or Group 2 faculty members) in preparing the application. Applications will be reviewed by the B.S.S. review committee during finals week of each term. You will receive a letter indicating the decision of the review committee at the end of the semester in which it was submitted.

External Transfer Admission

Students who have transferred from another institution may apply to the Bachelor of Specialized Studies major following the application procedure described above. The Bachelor of Specialized Studies can be a good option for transfer students, as transfer work accepted by Ohio University can be used to help meet requirements for the degree, including the Area of Concentration. Transfer students should be aware of the B.S.S. Residency Requirement (hours completed as a B.S.S. major) of 30 hours, as well as the 39 hours required at the 3000-/4000-level. Also, transfer students are required to complete at least 32 semester hours through Ohio University to receive a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University, and at least 50 percent of the major (Area of Concentration) must be completed through OHIO.

Opportunities Upon Graduation

By its nature, the Specialized Studies degree is unique to each individual, making a general statement regarding career preparation impractical. The application process, however, requires a statement of rationale for pursuing the major and for selection of courses in the Area of Concentration. This statement includes the student’s educational and career goals and encourages the student to think aspirationally. Many B.S.S. students design a major with a specific career goal or graduate program in mind. Additionally, the B.S.S. major has internship and special projects options, which can provide upper-level course credit and further students’ preparation for their particular career objectives.


As a student in the Bachelor of Specialized Studies program, you may complete one or more academic minors, as long as the courses taken to meet the minor requirements are not included in the Area of Concentration. You need to indicate your intention to complete a minor at the time you submit your Bachelor of Specialized Studies application. Courses required to earn a certificate may be included in the Area of Concentration.

Up to 32 hours earned through the Experiential Learning Program may be applied to the Bachelor of Specialized Studies degree program. A maximum of 30 hours from the College of Business may be included in a Bachelor of Specialized Studies degree program.

B.S.S. students may earn departmental honors through University College. Students must have an accumulated GPA within the top 20 percent of B.S.S. students and complete an honors thesis to be eligible to earn departmental honors. Guidelines and an application are available from the director of degree programs.

To submit an application to the Specialized Studies program for consideration, you must:

  1. Be currently registered as a degree-seeking student;
  2. Anticipate reaching sophomore rank (at least 30 semester hours earned) in the semester you apply; and

  3. Have earned an accumulative GPA of 2.0 or above.

To graduate with a Bachelor of Specialized Studies degree, you must:

  1. Earn 120 hours, of which at least 39 must be courses with catalog numbers at the 3000-level or above, as shown in this catalog. This does not include graduate level courses.
  2. Complete no fewer than 30 hours (the degree residency requirement) after being admitted to the Specialized Studies program. This total excludes any transfer credit, transient credit, Course Credit by Examination, Independent Study coursework, etc., for which the initial registration occurred prior to application to the Specialized Studies program.
  3. Complete 30 - 50 hours in the self-designed Area of Concentration approved by the Bachelor of Specialized Studies review committee. At least 50 percent of the coursework taken for the B.S.S. Area of Concentration must be completed at Ohio University.
  4. Complete the University General Education requirements.
  5. Complete the minimum of 32 hours of Ohio University coursework to satisfy the University residency requirement.
  6. Earn at least a 2.0 GPA in the Area of Concentration and overall.



The Richard Brackin Scholarship
A scholarship awarded each spring to a nontraditional B.S.S. student, subject to available funding. Applications are available from the director of degree programs.

Special Projects Fund
B.S.S. students may apply for funding for up to $500 to support a research project or experiential learning activity related to their programs of study. An application is required and can be obtained from director of degree programs.  The Special Projects Fund is subject to available funding.

Scholars Programs
B.S.S. students are encouraged to seek academic enrichment through programs such as the Margaret Boyd Scholars and OHIO Fellows programs, which foster in-depth learning and intellectual engagement through collaboration with faculty, peers, and alumni.


B.S.S.-specific courses include:

B.S.S. students are strongly encouraged to undertake an internship as part of their curriculum. Students who develop work or volunteer experience related to their B.S.S. curriculum can earn up to 15 credit hours for their experience.

Special Projects
This course option allows B.S.S. students to pursue a unique learning experience, such as independent study, research, international experience, or a conference presentation. Students can apply for up to $500 from the Special Projects Fund to help offset costs of pursing a special project.

Senior Seminar
In this seminar, B.S.S. seniors work with faculty members and with classmates to reflect on academic experiences and prepare to launch into life beyond Ohio University.

Students may choose to work on a research or creative project for their thesis. This optional course is intended for students who plan to graduate with B.S.S. departmental honors. The departmental honors distinction is noted on the student’s diploma.

Universitywide Graduation Requirements

To complete this program, students must meet all Universitywide graduation requirements .

College Requirements

Major Residency

At least 50% of the course work taken in the major must be completed at Ohio University.

Area of Concentration

Complete 30 - 50 hours in your self-defined Area of Concentration. This should include courses that most accurately represent your intended major and career path.

39 Hour 3000-Level or Above Requirement

Complete at least 39 hours from coursework at or above the 3000-level.

B.S.S. Residence Requirement

Complete at least 30 hours after being admitted to this program.