Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Degree Requirements

The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) 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 extended weekends as part of the program's on-campus learning experience are required. In addition to course requirements, BAAS students complete a capstone project in their degree concentration as well as an e-portfolio.

*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.

Foundational requirements (8 c.u.)

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.

  • ETHC 200: Ethics & Society

Taken in two of the following three areas:

Taken in the following two areas:

  • Mathematics
    • MTHS 103: Introduction to Calculus
    • MTHS 104: Calculus I
    • MTHS 150/170: Ideas/Analytical Methods in Mathematics
    • MTHS 115: Calculus II with Probability and Matrices
  • Statistics
    • DATA 201: Introduction to Statistical Methods
    • QUAN 120: Statistics for Social Science
  • SPRO 400: Scientific Reasoning
  • CLIM 100: Oceanography
  • NEUR 101: Introduction to Neuroscience
  • ICOM 100: Intercultural Communication

Concentrations (12 c.u.)

Just as a college major serves to focus your studies during a four-year degree, the BAAS 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 (10 c.u.)

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.

E-portfolio and capstone requirements

Throughout the BAAS degree, students draw on their coursework to build a digital collection of materials, or e-portfolio. The e-portfolio is a powerful tool to ensure that academic studies are aligned with professional, personal and academic goals. Developing the e-portfolio 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 e-portfolios 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’ e-portfolios. 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.

On-campus learning experience requirements

BAAS students are only required to come to campus for two extended weekends as they complete the program. These face-to-face instructional experiences have been developed to provide students with opportunities for engagement with the Penn campus, while also providing students with choices for the experiences that best fit into their own schedules. 

The first on-campus learning experience takes place as part of a foundational requirement course, which are mandatory for all students in the BAAS. Students can choose to enroll in the hybrid section of either PROW 100: Fundamentals of Professional Writing, or ICOM 100: Intercultural Communication. These classes, which largely meet online, have one intensive session on the Penn campus for three days, scheduled over a weekend. During the intensive weekend, students may meet faculty, participate in advising sessions, and connect with other campus resources. Students must complete this residency requirement in their first year in the BAAS program. 

The second on-campus learning experience takes place at the end of the program. Advanced courses in each concentration will give students the option to come to campus to present their final project for that class and attend face-to-face class meetings during a three-day period, to be scheduled over a weekend.

If students wish, they can substitute one of the options below for the second on-campus learning experience: 

  • Hybrid courses: Some courses in the degree program will be offered through a combination of face-to-face class meetings and online learning activities. Taking a hybrid course will fulfill the elective on-campus learning experience.
  • Campus courses: Some courses in the Physical and Life Sciences concentration (with the exception of courses in the Certificate in Neuroscience) will only be offered on-campus. Taking a campus course will fulfill the elective on-campus learning experience.

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