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Specialized Studies Major (B.S.S.)

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 academic interests and/or career 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 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. major cannot be completed as a second major program of study. Nor can a student declare a double major with the B.S.S. program.

The Bachelor of Specialized Studies (B.S.S.) program is available on all Ohio University campuses.

Admissions Information

Freshman/First-Year Admission

New students may enter OHIO as a Pre-B.S.S. (ND1112) major. Once enrolled, first year pre-B.S.S. students are encouraged to attend an information session to become oriented to the major. A student officially enters the major after earning at least 30 semester hours, developing their major with a B.S.S. academic advisor and successfully completing the spring application process.

Currently registered, degree seeking students may apply to the Bachelor of Specialized Studies as early as the term in which they anticipate reaching sophomore rank (at least 30 semester hours earned) and will have attained a 2.0 or higher cumulative GPA.

Change of Program Policy

To enter the Specialized Studies program, a student must complete an extensive application in collaboration with a B.S.S. Academic Advisor. Athens students are required to attend an information session prior to receipt of the application. Information session information is available here on the University College's website. Students may obtain access to the  application from University College, regional campus, or e-campus B.S.S. advisors, who will assist in designing the Area of Concentration. Applicants must also work with two B.S.S. faculty partner reviewers (Group 1 or Group 2 faculty members) in preparing the application. An application planning guide is available through Athens campus information sessions and through a B.S.S. Academic Advisor.

Application workshops are regularly available each term on the Athens campus. Workshops are posted here. Pre-B.S.S. students should also receive application assistance from their B.S.S. Academic Advisor.

Students may declare pre-B.S.S. as a major. Athens students are required to attend the information session or meet with a University College B.S.S. Academic Advisor for B.S.S. orientation prior to receiving access to the pre-B.S.S. major link. Non-Athens students may declare pre-B.S.S. by meeting with their B.S.S. Academic Advisor. Declaring a pre-B.S.S. major does not remove a student's current major. However, after the student officially applies to the B.S.S. program with a proposed curriculum, the student's previous major will be removed once the individualized major program is approved.

Applications will be reviewed by the B.S.S. review committee each term. Approved students will begin their B.S.S. residency the semester in which the complete and authorized application proposal was submitted, so long as it was submitted by the stated application deadline. 

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 very 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 requires the student to thoroughly research pathways to their goals. 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. The B.S.S. program works closely with the Career & Leadership Development Center to offer students career and leadership development resources.

Academic Catalog

The academic catalog provides additional information about curriculum and courses for this major.
Academic Catalog

Program Details

Bachelor of Specialized Studies


Administrative Contact

Julie Cohara, Director of Degree Programs