Public Service Bachelor's Programs FAQ

Federal and financial aid is available regardless of income, with low interest rates and flexible payment options. Excelsior College is the pioneer in offering federal aid for a completely online education. See the Financial Aid & Costs page to learn more.

We offer several ways to help you get credit for prior learning acquired outside college or university settings including Excelsior College® Examinations, other exams such as CLEP® Subject Examinations or DANTES Subject Standardized Tests, training that has been evaluated by the American Council on Education or the National Program on Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction, and portfolio-based assessment  which is the assessment for possible credit of your prior learning through employment, community, volunteer, or other experiences.

No. As of July 1, 2010, all students are required to take an Excelsior College capstone course near the end of their program.

The Criminal Justice Training Assessment program assessed training through June 30, 2009. Several agencies have also chosen to continue to work with the program and Excelsior will provide credit to their officers on a continuing basis. Read more.

It is a degree program requirement wherein all liberal arts bachelor degree students are required to demonstrate depth of knowledge in two different academic disciplines or subject areas. In each of these two areas, you must complete at least twelve semester hours of credit, at least 3 of which must be at the upper level. For the bachelor of arts degree, both depth areas must be in the arts and sciences. For the bachelor of science degree, one depth area must be in the arts and sciences and the second depth area may be in any academic area, including applied professional/elective areas. A minimum 2.0 grade point average is required within each depth area. Depth areas are not the same as majors, but a major will satisfy a depth requirement. The requirements for majors are listed in the Liberal Arts Catalog (PDF).

Examples of arts and sciences depth areas include:

Religion/philosophy Economics Art Political science Music
Geography      Literature Biology Foreign languages Psychology
Sociology Mathematics History    


Examples of applied professional credit depth areas include:


Computer science Military science Architecture Engineering
Business management Education Law Nursing


This is not an exhaustive list of subject areas in which the depth requirement can be met; if you have any questions about the depth requirement or about whether study in a subject area other than those listed can be applied to the depth requirement, please consult with your advisor.

When considering a major, please be aware that most of our majors require 30-33 semester hours of course work. At least 15 of those hours need to be in upper-level courses. In addition, each major has specific requirements. These are based on specific core and intermediate requirements. As such, you would be required to complete particular courses/subject areas as outlined in our liberal arts catalog for the particular major. Please refer to our catalog when considering the necessary courses of study to complete a major. If you have any further questions or need assistance in your consideration of completing a major, we will be happy to assist you further.

Both the bachelor of science (BS) and the bachelor of arts (BA) degree programs require that students complete 120 semester hours. The main difference between the two degree programs lies in the number of arts and science and applied professional credits required for each degree program. The BA degree requires more arts and science credits that the BS. The BA degree requires a minimum of 90 semester hours in the arts and sciences, and allows for a maximum of 30 applied professional credits. The BS degree requires a minimum of 60 semester hours in the arts and sciences and allows up to 60 applied professional credits. Students who have taken or intend to take a large number of applied professional credits will find the BS degree to be a more flexible option for them. More detailed information regarding the specifics for both the BS and BA degree can be found in the Liberal Arts Catalog (PDF).

Distribution requirements for general education ensure that all students develop basic competence (at least 100-level courses/examinations) in the areas of arts and sciences (humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics), as well as specific abilities in written English and information literacy.

Learn more about General Education Requirements

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