Some students may want to consider the Bachelor in General Studies (BGS) degree as an alternative to the Bachelor of Arts (AB) or the Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees for students with interdisciplinary or alternative academic interests, particularly if they are not interested in concentrating their studies in a specific area. The BGS degree program, seeking primarily to attract students with interdisciplinary interests, is more flexible and potentially less structured than either the AB or BS programs. It gives qualified students greater freedom and responsibility for their educational choice and, if used responsibly, can afford a liberal arts education in the truest sense.
The BGS allows students to pursue their interests in an individually designed degree program independent of departmental requirements. The BGS is not designed for students who lack a specific educational purpose or direction. Such students ultimately flounder in the freedom of the BGS program for lack of clarity of purpose.The BGS is ideally suited for students who have specific areas of interest, who see in the flexibility of its degree structure a chance to explore new areas of learning, and who welcome the responsibility of planning their own undergraduate programs. Students may, with the BGS, combine skills, knowledge and experience across departments and academic disciplines. It is also possible to fold into the BGS course work the classes needed to earn a Teaching Certificate, to prepare for entry level business positions or an MBA program, or to prepare for medical, law, or other professional/graduate schools.
Along with the advantages of the BGS program, however, there are some disadvantages for certain students. These should be carefully assessed by students who will need a considerable number of credits of lower-level course work, such as pre-medical or pre-dental students. Transfer students who elect the BGS program must be particularly careful in program planning. Very often students will transfer primarily lower-level credit and therefore are compelled to elect only upper-level (courses numbered 300 and above) course work at UM. In some cases, the upper-level work requires prerequisites of lower-level course work not already completed, thus requiring further lower-level work. A transfer student may not feel that he/she has enough "room" in the terms remaining to take much additional lower-level work and still graduate "on time." Therefore, transfer students who consider this option should work very closely with an academic advisor.
There are no foreign language or distribution requirements in the BGS program (RC students have a language proficiency requirement). BGS students do need to fulfill the college writing, quantitative reasoning, and race & ethnicity requirements.
Instead of a major, the BGS requires that you take half of your degree (60 credits) in upper division classes. That is, classes numbered 300 or higher. Within these 60 credits, you may count no more than 20 upper level credits from a single division (SUBJECT). This means that you must involve a minimum of at least (and probably more) three different academic departments. You must earn a minimum of a 2.0 gpa in your upper level courses.
The BGS degree program is open to students in good standing (overall grade point average 2.0 or above) except for students in the Honors Program, which does not make any provision for the BGS degree. Students in good standing may switch from one degree program to another within the College, so long as they can meet the appropriate degree requirements.