In 2018, UNI’s Bachelor of Liberal Studies program ranked #9 in the "50 Best Online Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts Programs" by TheBestSchools.org and also ranked in the Top 20 “Best Online Colleges for Liberal Studies Degrees” by Guide to Online Schools.
The University of Northern Iowa Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) offers a convenient, flexible alternative to the traditional path to a bachelor's degree. This fully-accredited degree program, offered by each of the three Iowa Regents Universities, allows you to finish your degree from where you live. There are no residency requirements, so you can take classes and graduate without ever coming to campus. Tailor your degree to fit your needs with help from an advisor who will answer questions and monitor your progress. The BLS may be a good fit for you if you have:
Why Choose the BLS?
BLS Course Options
Guided Independent Study - a convenient way to earn college credit from home. You may enroll at any time and take up to nine months to complete each self-paced course. See our list of courses that apply to BLS distribution areas.
Semester-based courses - The University of Northern Iowa offers many semester-based courses at a distance. Complete your coursework without coming to campus. See our list of courses that apply to BLS distribution areas.
Transfer courses - As long as a minimum of 30 semester hours are earned from UNI during your junior and/or senior years, you may be able to enroll in courses at your local community college and/or another four-year institution.
On-campus courses - If you are within commuting distance of UNI, you may wish to consider taking on-campus courses to complete your degree. UNI Schedule of Classes
Tentative course scheduleClick on a course title to view the course description (if available).
Below is a sampling of courses a BLS student might take.
See the "Next Steps" tab above for information. If you have any questions, please contact the program coordinator(s) and/or enrollment contact below or contact the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at ContinuingEd@uni.edu.
Students may apply for admission at any time throughout the year. The program is available to all who qualify.
The BLS degree program does not have a traditional major. Rather than having a single area of focus as you would with a traditional major, BLS students choose courses in three of the five distribution areas.
To satisfy a distribution area, you must complete 12 semester hours with at least 6 of the hours designated as upper-level. The five distribution areas are:
All of UNI's Guided Independent Study courses fit into one of the five distribution areas.
The flexibility of the BLS program allows you to balance the important things in your life while earning your degree. There is no time limit to finish your BLS degree, so the time it takes to graduate depends on how many units of credit you must complete as well as the number of classes you enroll in at any given time.
You determine the pace that's right for you. As you complete a course or two as a BLS student, you'll discover the stride that fits your lifestyle.
BLS graduates find employment in a wide variety of settings. Graduates have found careers in business, social service agencies, hotel and restaurant management, government, and more. If furthering your education is of interest to you, many students are also able to gain admission to graduate and professional programs upon the completion of a BLS degree.
The UNI Office of Career Services is equipped with staff and resources to assist students with getting ready for graduate school and work. They provide help and support in preparing for the application process and seeking out internship and employment opportunities.
The BLS degree allows students to design a program of study that is both personally stimulating and professionally significant. Having a solid base of knowledge in many areas of study increases students' abilities to think critically, communicate clearly, take on leadership roles, and have an appreciation for and an awareness of a wide variety of disciplines.
Many individuals also use this degree for advancement purposes within their current workplace. Graduates who do so often report pay raises and promotions as benefits to receiving their degrees.
Our BLS advisor is available to assist in answering your questions, no matter how big or small they may be. Contact her to schedule a time to visit in-person or over the phone.
Hope Trainor, BLS AdvisorUniversity of Northern IowaCedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0285800-772-1746 or 319-273-2504For deaf or hard of hearing, use Relay 711Hope.Trainor@uni.edu
If you are a former/current UNI student and would like an evaluation of your credits for the BLS degree, please contact Hope Trainor, BLS Advisor, at 319-273-2504, 800-772-1746 or Hope.Trainor@uni.edu. If you have earned any credits from another institution that need to be transferred to UNI, please let Hope know. You will need to have your official transcripts sent to the UNI Office of Admissions before Hope can complete an evaluation of your credits.
If you are NOT a former UNI student, you will first need to apply for admission to the University of Northern Iowa. An official transcript from your school(s) must be sent to the Office of Admissions (002 Gilchrist Hall, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0018). Upon receipt of your transcript(s), our Admissions Office will determine the transferability of your coursework. Transferability can only be determined if you have applied for admission to UNI. Once admitted and upon confirmation of the receipt of your transcripts from the Office of Admissions, please contact Hope Trainor, BLS Advisor, at 319-273-2504, 800-772-1746 or Hope.Trainor@uni.edu to proceed with your evaluation for the BLS degree.