Western Kentucky University

WKU-O Undergraduate Programs


In this program, you will be exposed to various courses of study, including mathematics, biological and physical sciences, social and behavioral science, arts, and humanities. The program generally is interdisciplinary, with courses in general arts and general science being offered through other departments or divisions of the college. A Humanities program focuses on combined studies and research in the humanities subjects such as languages, literatures, art, music, philosophy, and religion. Although the institution structures many programs, many are individually designed by the student under supervision of an advisor. This program is available for students who desire or require a program, which provides more flexibility than is available in other major programs. Students must complete a series of core courses and other courses, which are thematic in nature, consist of a minimum number of upper level topics, and receive approval of the director of the University College.

Characteristics associated with success in this major include being interested in a wide variety of subjects and having the desire to learn about them. You should be:

• flexible and persistent

• able to function effectively and succeed in a task on your own without a great deal of supervision

• outgoing and able to interact with all kinds of people

• organized in your daily and work habits

• able to make informed decisions

The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree provides an alternative four-year program for non-traditional students who do not need or desire the academic specialization involved in traditional major or major/minor programs. This degree program allows considerable latitude and flexibility to satisfy individual interests and needs. In lieu of the major/minor required by traditional degree programs, the student must complete a broad area of emphasis (complementary courses from different academic disciplines) of at least 36 semester hours of course work approved by the interdisciplinary studies degree advisor.

Arts Emphasis

Students seeking a generalist degree with an arts emphasis gain exposure to a diverse selection of courses in related fields. Students may tailor course work to develop creative and critical thinking skills in such fields as graphic design, or visual and performing arts. Suitable careers might be in organizations devoted to the arts or that desire creative and innovative thinkers.


Business Emphasis

While not a degree in business, the BIS with an emphasis in business allows students to obtain knowledge in an array of business disciplines. Students may craft their individual degrees by combining courses in numerous fields that correspond with their personal career goals. Upon completion, students have the skill sets necessary to pursue opportunities in corporate, educational, or government settings.

See Business Management for salaries and career opportunities.


Education Emphasis

While not providing students with certification to teach this emphasis draws from education related disciplines to allow students to take the topic-specific courses that will help them obtain their career objectives. Students might work with pre-school aged children or with after-school programs and agencies, as well as certain social service agencies that serve children.


Health Emphasis

The Health Area of Emphasis draws from a number of disciplines to allow students to explore health care issues, public health topics, and factors related to physical and emotional well being. Students will achieve a generalist's understanding of the vast array of concerns affecting the health professions. Students could use this degree to work in health departments, educational settings, other organizations that don’t require specialized skills, or to use as preparation for graduate studies.

See Health Sciences for salaries and career opportunities.


Humanities Emphasis

The Humanities Area of Emphasis draws from a number of disciplines to allow students to study the human condition through literature, history, philosophy, and the arts. Students will obtain a generalist's understanding of the vast array of topics within these disciplines and could use this degree to satisfy personal interests, to prepare for graduate studies, or to work in any career where solid liberal arts experience is desired.


Organization & Communication of Ideas Emphasis

Students pursuing a generalist degree with an emphasis in Organization and Communication of Ideas will find a foundation for effective communication skills necessary for interpersonal, business, and community interaction. Students may pursue entry-level careers in related fields requiring successful idea presentation and organizational proficiency.


Science Emphasis

Students seeking a generalist degree with an emphasis in science gain access to science courses within Ogden College, as well as related courses that are outside of the immediate discipline.  Students may tailor course work to acquire basic and applied scientific skills for a variety of settings, including, research, graduate studies, and effective preparation for professional programs.


Social Justice & Equality Emphasis

Students interested in gaining a generalist degree in the area of Social Justice and Equity Studies, can shape their program by taking courses in ‘Culture and History’, ‘Law, Justice and Ethics’, and ‘Self and Society’. Additional focus can be achieved by taking courses around specific interests—for instance, women and gender; race, class, and gender; global justice issues; or law and justice. Other courses (for instance, special topics or newly developed courses) may be considered. This Emphasis is for students seeking careers in non-profit organizations or those that work with under-represented groups, as well as for preparing for graduate studies or law school.


Social & Behavioral Sciences Emphasis

Students in pursuit of a BIS degree with an emphasis in the Social and Behavioral Sciences can choose from numerous fields to take courses that are applicable to all facets of life. This emphasis effectively prepares students for successful careers in social service and human resource agencies, as well as graduate education, or professional programs such as law, education, or government.


Technology Emphasis

Students seeking a generalist degree with an emphasis in technology gain academic training in a diverse range of related fields and applications. Technological skills remain in demand, especially given rapid changes across industries, government, organizations, education, health, and the sciences.



  • 36 hours from the area of emphasis, of which:
  • 12 hours must be upper-level (300-400 level), including the UC 495 BIS Capstone Course.


Because of transferring credits and WKU-O course offerings, the length of time to finish this program differs for each student. It is important to meet with a WKU-O advisor as soon as possible. Bring an unofficial copy of transcripts from all previously attended colleges and/or universities. It is also important to determine your availability to take courses: part-time, full-time, summer term.

WKU-O Academic Requirements:

  • 120 college-level undergraduate semester hours including the following:

- 44 semester hours of General Education

- 42 semester hours of upper-division credit (300-400 level courses)

- 30 hours must be earned in residence (at WKU), at least 16 of which must be completed after the semester in which the student earned a cumulative total of at least 90 hours.

  • Students must earn a minimum of 54 semester hours with WKU to graduate with honors.
  • Students must apply for graduation upon the completion of 90 semester hours.
  • Students are to meet with an advisor each semester.
 Last Modified 8/5/13