BAAS Degree Requirements

The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) degree program recognizes the power of an applied liberal arts education to provide students with strong communication skills, understanding of different cultures and perspectives, and the ability to apply their knowledge to nuanced, complex scenarios with insight, perspective, and empathy.

Overview of degree requirements

The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree requires 30 course units (c.u.)* distributed as follows.

Foundational requirements 8 c.u. (32 credits)
Concentrations 12 c.u. (48 credits)
Electives 10 c.u. (40 credits)
Degree total 30 c.u. (120 credits)

Two weekends as part of the program's on-campus learning experience are required. In addition to course requirements, BAAS degree students complete a capstone project in their degree concentration as well as an ePortfolio.

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

The foundational requirements of the BAAS degree reflect the core competencies and values of Penn LPS Online: the skills and knowledge needed to understand and solve complex problems, the ability to communicate effectively with a wide variety of audiences, and an appreciation for diverse cultures and traditions. Students can transfer a maximum of 4 c.u. (16 credits) of foundational courses from a regionally accredited institution. Our program team can also give a preliminary evaluation of transfer credits before students officially apply. Visit the Transfer Preparation & Policies page for more details.

Ethical Reasoning (1 c.u.)

Qualitative Analysis (2 c.u.)

Taken in two of the following three areas:

Quantitative Analysis (2 c.u.)

Taken in the following two areas:

Scientific Process (1 c.u.)

Writing (1 c.u., must be taken at Penn)
Cross-Cultural Interactions & Diversity (1 c.u.)

Just as a college major serves to focus your studies during a four-year degree, the BAAS degree concentrations enable students to tailor their undergraduate education to specific personal and professional goals. Concentrations progress from introductory-level courses to higher-level courses so that students develop skills and knowledge with greater complexity as they move through the curriculum. Many concentrations are interdisciplinary, to provide students with opportunities to explore their areas of interest from multiple perspectives and develop a flexible approach to solving complex problems in professional as well as academic contexts. For most concentrations, students can transfer a maximum of 3 c.u. (12 credits) from a regionally accredited institution. Transfer credits cannot be used toward any of the 12 Leadership and Communication concentration courses.

Electives are courses that do not apply toward your foundational or degree concentration requirements. You may choose to deepen your field of study by taking additional classes within your concentration, develop a new skill by completing all of the courses within a course block outside of your degree concentration, or discover new interests and abilities by taking individual courses that appeal to your interests. Students choose 10 electives from any of Penn LPS Online's areas of study. Transfer students can apply a maximum of 8 c.u. (32 credits) from a regionally accredited institution toward this requirement.

The on-campus learning experience requirement is being waived for fall 2020. A new requirement will replace the current on-campus learning experience for BAAS degree candidates. This will be a requirement that BAAS degree students can fulfill by participating in one event. There will be a completely virtual option, the first of which will take place in spring 2021, and once public health conditions allow, there also will be an on-campus option. At that point, students can make the choice that fits in with their personal and professional obligations. We will post information about the specifics for the requirement by late November 2020, and we will provide scheduling information about the first virtual event in December 2020. 

Throughout the BAAS degree, students draw on their coursework to build a digital collection of materials, or ePortfolio. The ePortfolio is a powerful tool to ensure students are aligning their academic studies with their individual professional, personal, and academic goals. Developing the ePortfolio provides students with the opportunity to reflect on selected assignments and how they can be applied to the broader context of their current and future careers. Students can share their ePortfolios with prospective and current employers to provide evidence of the skills and knowledge they have developed through coursework.

One advanced course in each concentration will require students to complete a final project, or capstone, in which they integrate learning and skills from across the full concentration. Capstone projects will be graded as a requirement of the course and also will serve as the final culminating artifact for students’ ePortfolios. Students will have the option to come to campus to present their final projects and receive face-to-face feedback from fellow students as well as the course instructor. Students who choose this option can use it to fulfill their elective on-campus learning experience requirement.

BAAS degree students who are working on their ePortfolio and seeking to connect with other students about the process can do so on our virtual discussion boards through the Canvas ePortfolio website. Ask a question, answer a question, and meet other talented, career-focused students.

Course Registration

Spring 2021 registration is now open

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