Guided Studies - Transfer Major
A launchpad to the future
The extremely flexible Guided Studies program is designed to serve the following two groups of students:
1) “undeclared” or “undecided” students who benefit from guidance and a flexible framework for exploring promising areas of study with the intention of switching to a more focused and conventional major; and
2) students who want a degree completion program. In Guided Studies, students can complete an Associate of Arts degree with the flexibility to study in two concentrated areas which can be named on their academic record and resume (see table below).
Most Guided Studies majors remain in the major for just one or two semesters. This usually happens during their first semester or two at Bucks, but sometimes students switch to Guided Studies for a semester if they are considering changing their major. Through the GUID courses and advisement, students develop self-awareness, knowledge of education and career options, and skills in critical thinking and planning. Then they’re off and running on a more focused path. Students who have amassed a great many credits through switching majors and/or schools several times may choose to use Guided Studies as a "degree completion" program.
Concentrations - Students Choose 2
For brief descriptions of the Concentrations, open the "Guided Studies Information" handout (below). The Concentration Information Sheets and Concentration Map include more detailed information about each concentration, including courses and related programs. Click on each Concentration name below for career-related information related to that Concentation.
Students interested in the Guided Studies program need to meet with an Academic Planner and/or a faculty advisor who advises Guided Studies majors.
This major includes an extensive advising component, including consultations with academic planners, faculty advisors, transfer advisors, and career advisors, as well as independent research on academic institutions, learning opportunities (including non-credit training, as appropriate), and career opportunities.
The Guided Studies program is not the most efficient path to a four-year degree. The most efficient path to a four-year degree is to pick a specific major at Bucks and a specific four-year institution with a related major that has an articulation agreement or dual enrolment agreement with Bucks, and stick with those programs. However, for students who do not know what major they want to complete at Bucks or another institution, the Guided Studies major provides an efficient vehicle for exploring possible majors while completing courses that will meet requirements for a Bucks major and/or earn credits that will transfer as requirements or electives at another institution.
Guided Studies Major: Link to the Guided Studies Plan of Study (POS)
Guided Studies Information: A handout that includes the major's basic requirements and a list of the ten Concentrations with descriptions.
Is Guided Studies Right for You? This checklist will help you decide whether to declare Guided Studies as your major or rule it out.
Click on one of the following questions to get down to the answer, or scroll down to the bottom of this page to browse the questions and answers.
Guided Studies Concentration Information Sheets: Here you will find the most up-to-date information on the Concentrations. Each Concentration’s section includes the courses in that Concentration, as well as lists of educational opportunities related to each Concentration: Bucks Transfer and Occupational Associate degree programs; Bucks credit Certificates; Bucks non-credit programs; shared majors (collaborations between Bucks and another nearby community college); and common names for related programs at other institutions (e.g. 4-year transfer schools).
Highly-Structured Majors: A list of majors that have less flexibility, such as those that begin at a certain time of year or have tightly sequenced course requirements.
Advisory Recommended Semester Sequence: This chart is much more detailed than the official Recommended Semester Sequence published in the Catalog. It helps students and their advisors make decisions based on the students particular needs (e.g. developmental courses; world language, math, and science sequences) and "schedules" essential research tasks outside of the classroom (e.g. visiting potential transfer schools).
Guided Studies Worksheet: This worksheet helps track whether and how the Guided Studies requirements are being met. Students using Guided Studies as a degree completion program may find it especially useful to plan how to complete their degree using as many of their previously earned credits as possible.
How to Choose Courses as a Guided Studies Major: If you have not declared a specific major and gotten a program all laid out for you, choosing courses each semester can be very difficult. This step-by-step guide breaks down and orders the many different considerations to help you pick courses most likely to help you progress--both in choosing a more focused major and in progressing in your education as efficiently as possible when you are still "undecided." This guide can also be adapted for students who have a focused major at Bucks and are considering the requirements of different majors at transfer schools.
Academic Advising: This department helps new students get advising for Guided Studies and other majors. (Students in GUID101 have their GUID101 professor as their advisor. Students who are considering switching into Guided Studies and would like to talk with a Guided Studies Advisor should contact the Department of Language and Literature: 215-968-8150).
Academic Success Center: The Academic Success Center offers tutoring in a wide array of subjects, as well as resources such as copies of textbooks and how-to handouts. The ASC isn't just for struggling students; it's for any student who wants to do better--or just wants to do well more easily.
Accessibility Office: This department helps students connect with resources and document necessary accommodations to help them succeed in classes.
Center for Student Employment and Career Development: This department helps students explore possible careers, prepare for professional life, and even find a part-time job.
Counseling Services: Many Guided Studies Majors find that Bucks counselors help them build decision-making skills and deal with other concerns that hold them back from choosing a major.
Transfer Planning: If your want to transfer from Bucks to a four-year school to earn a Bachelor's degree, it's never too early to see what opportunities are open to you. This webpage can save you a lot of time and money by helping you identify courses that will transfer to the schools and degree programs that interest you.
Every Bucks student—other than Guest Students from other colleges—must have a major and “Undecided” is not a major. Those who are undecided about a major are automatically placed in the Guided Studies major, because it 1) helps students choose a major, 2) is the most flexible major, and 3) has advisors and advising materials to support the “undecided” student.
Liberal Arts-General Emphasis encourages students not to focus on any areas of study. Guided Studies, on the other hand, encourages students to focus their education through both its structure and through the skills and assignments required in GUID101 and GUID250. While Liberal Arts-General Emphasis requires students to double up on General Education courses, Guided Studies majors complete Bucks’s General Education program AND pick 2 areas—2 Concentrations—to explore.
In addition, Liberal Arts—General Emphasis is being phased out. It has been replaced by Guided Studies for undecided students and Liberal Arts for students who know they are interested in the humanities, but are not sure which one (or who are interested in an area of the humanities without a related major available at Bucks). The revised Liberal Arts program helps students explore fields in the humanities and humanistic social sciences—that is, all those academic fields that focus on some aspect of the human experience: e.g. history, communication, arts (including music and literature), philosophy, culture, language, and the like. As a “megamajor” the revised Liberal Arts program has students focus on one large area within the curriculum, as do Science, Health Sciences, and Social Science. These megamajors are more focused than Guided Studies and the old Liberal Arts-General Emphasis programs, but less focused than, say, a major in History, English, Art and Art History, French, or the like.
You can, but choosing and completing a more focused, conventional major is more likely to help you progress in your chosen academic or career area. Therefore, Guided Studies majors with more than 30 credits are required to take GUID250 to help them reassess their options halfway through their Bucks Guided Studies major and choose a more focused path.
However, students who have amassed more than 90 credits but have not completed an Associate degree can use Guided Studies as a degree completion program, using some of the courses they took in other majors to form Guided Studies Concentrations.
Your best bet is to meet with an Academic Planner or Guided Studies faculty advisor to see how what you have already completed lines up with the Guided Studies program and its Concentrations, as well as with any other program. On your own, you can use the Guided Studies requirements, the Guided Studies Concentration Information Sheets, the Guided Studies Concentration Map, and the Guided Studies Major Worksheet (links all found on this webpage ) to get started on matching what you have done already with the Guided Studies program.
Absolutely! If you choose your courses carefully, you might need only a couple extra courses to earn a valuable certificate while they complete an Associate degree or work towards a Bachelor’s degree. For example, Guided Studies majors with a Media and Technology Concentration can choose their courses so that they complete 5 out of 6 required courses for the Social Media and Digital Marketing Certificate (3099). With one more course, they will have skills and knowledge valued in the workplace and a resume-building qualification.
Like some other majors, the Guided Studies major does not transfer as a whole. However, Guided Studies majors complete Bucks’s General Education program, so students who complete the Guided Studies major can take advantage of Core-to-Core agreements Bucks has with other colleges—just like with any other major. Moreover, since Guided Studies majors are likely to take courses related to their eventual majors, they are more likely to be able to transfer courses into majors at other institutions, as well as transferring courses to meet elective requirements.
If you start the Guided Studies major the same semester in which you take GUID101, your advisor will be your GUID101 instructor. This is typically the case with incoming freshmen. As soon as you officially switch to another major (even if that happens during the semester you take GUID101), you will get a faculty advisor in that major. If you remain a Guided Studies major after taking GUID101 or if you switch your major to Guided Studies, you will get a faculty advisor trained to advise Guided Studies majors.
You do not have to retake COLL101, but you will need to take GUID101. While COLL101 touches on some tools people use for career exploration, GUID101 goes into depth on the topics of self-awareness, researching academic and career opportunities, problem-solving, and planning, making it less likely that you will spend extra time and money on another “wrong” major. If, however, you have earned many credits in other programs and are using Guided Studies to “complete” a degree, your transcript and situation will be assessed to see if GUID101 is needed or if it can be waived. If GUID101 is waived, the student must take GUID250 as soon as possible.
We use the term highly-structured major to identify those majors characterized by course requirements that must be taken in a certain sequence or in certain combinations, must be started at a certain time of year, or are so restricted that there is little “wiggle room” in the plan of study for applying courses already taken. See above for a link to a list of Highly-Structured majors.
Highly-structured majors can be somewhat or very difficult to begin out of step with the other students. If a student does not start a highly-structured major in their first semester, they might need to wait until a particular semester (e.g. next Fall) to start or make a careful plan for applying courses already taken. These unusual plans may make it harder to create a full-time schedule every semester, which might be important to some students. All in all, what this means is that if a student is really interested in a highly-structured major, they should talk to their Guided Studies advisor and an advisor in that program to help them know whether, when, and how to switch into that program.
A fork course represents a “fork in the road” in a course sequence. Usually it’s a course that’s very similar to another course (also a fork course), but different enough that some programs will require one of the two courses and some programs the other. For example, students pursuing a Chemistry or Biology major will need CHEM121, which prepares them for in-depth study of chemistry, while students in other majors, like Radiography or Nursing, only need CHEM101 to support their academic path.
The choice between the two fork courses matters, because if one course is more in-depth or rigorous than the other, the more rigorous course might be readily accepted as a substitution for the less in-depth course, but the less rigorous course will not be accepted as a substitution for the more rigorous course. If you choose the wrong fork course, you will likely have to back track and take the other one. The mistake is correctable, but it will cost time and money and be tedious to cover the same subjects again, but more thoroughly. We identify fork courses so that students can pick their best bet and avoid having to backtrack.