General Studies BGS History (BGS)

Program Purpose


In support of the mission of BYU and the Aims of a BYU Education, the Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) program extends the resources of BYU beyond Provo, to former BYU students who have been away from the university for some time and are unable to return to campus to complete a degree. The major is general studies, with a 30-credit emphasis in one of eight areas of study, history being one of those emphases. The program is not available to current BYU students.

The BGS degree is a flexible, largely off-campus program that draws from the same BYU curriculum that is offered on campus and requires the same general education, religious education, and campus residency as on-campus degrees. However, having previously completed at least 30 hours of on-campus courses as an admitted day student, BGS students can complete the remaining credits through Independent Study. BGS students may also enroll in Evening Classes, at the BYU Salt Lake Center, and on campus during spring and summer terms.

Curricular Structure

Undergraduate Catalog

Major Academic Plan (MAP)

Learning Outcomes


1. BGS General Learning Outcome

Aims of a BYU Education

Describe how coursework in the BGS program has contributed to the aims of a BYU education:

Courses that Contribute: None
Linked to BYU Aims: Faith and testimony, Communicate effectively

2. History Emphasis Learning Outcomes

American and World History

Gain a historical consciousness by demonstrating knowledge of major developments in American and world history and understand key historical terms and theories

Courses that Contribute: HIST 252 HIST 304 HIST 319 HIST 340 HIST 341
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge, Competence
Historical Research Methods

Demonstrate basic proficiency in using the historical method of research

Courses that Contribute: HIST 252 HIST 304 HIST 319 HIST 340 HIST 341
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Competence
Effective Writing

Write effectively about historical topics.

Courses that Contribute: HIST 252 HIST 304 HIST 319
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Competence

Evidence of Learning


Direct Measures

Student Development 490 is a required BGS capstone course with four components:

  1. Emphasis Paper: The student writes a ten- to twelve-page paper responding to an emphasis-specific question. The student is required to: (a) integrate learning from the emphasis courses taken, (b) follow the APA or MLA style manual, and (c) include appropriate citations from three to five sources, one of which must be recent. The paper will include references to at least ten sources and a bibliography of works referenced. Randomly selected papers will be scored for writing and critical thinking according to published criteria that students receive at the beginning of the BGS program.
  2. Two Sample Papers or Projects: The student submits two papers or assignments completed in emphasis courses that demonstrate one or more of the emphasis learning outcomes. Randomly selected papers will be scored for writing and critical thinking according to published criteria students receive at the beginning of the BGS program.
  3. BYU Aims Summary Portfolio: Upon completing each course in the BGS program, the student analyzes it in light of the BYU Aims and creates a portfolio entry noting the specific Aims filled and the particular aspect of the course that contributed to each Aim identified. As part of the capstone course, the student submits a portfolio summary in which he or she synthesizes their BGS experience with reference to the Aims. The BGS office will continuously aggregate and report data from the portfolio summaries.
  4. BYU Aims Reflective Paper: Drawing from the portfolio summary, the student writes a six-page reflective paper, showing how the Aims of a BYU Education were or were not met by the coursework completed. Randomly selected reflection papers will be scored for writing ability according to criteria that students receive at the beginning of the BGS program.

Indirect Measures

  1. BGS Alumni Survey 
  2. Exit Interviews with Discontinuing Students
  3. Retention and Graduation Rates
  4. Independent Study Course Evaluations

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement


With the guidance and approval of the BGS Faculty Advisory Committee, the Bachelor of General Studies Department and the Continuing Education assessment officer will: