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Turn your qualified AAS or professional training into a bachelor’s degree with a Bachelor of Applied Science program offering tracks for:

  • Allied health
  • Public safety
  • Technical/industrial fields
  • Specialized occupations

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“Education is the foundation of the knowledge that I use, especially at Siena Heights. I focused on as many finance classes as I could. For me, that’s what really separates me from everyone else in my career. I took advantage of the instruction and (expertise) of the instructors at Siena Heights. … They helped me connect the dots. I use a lot of the skills even to this day.”
Chad Grant ‘99
Chad Grant '99

David Messer, Deputy Warden at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Mich., received his Bachelor of Applied Science degree from Siena Heights University’s online program.

The Bachelor of Applied Science degree (BAS) is a career-oriented degree for professionals with allied health, public safety, technical/industrial, and/or specialized occupational backgrounds. The BAS Degree is structured on an individually designed academic program around the major course you have already completed.

Each bachelor of applied science student develops a customized degree plan appropriate to his or her education and future career goals. Undergraduate coursework and curriculum include classes in liberal arts, management, and other work experience related activities.

Finish your degree in a time frame that works with your schedule – in as little as two years, depending on your remaining requirements and availability.

You’re Closer to a Degree than You Think

We accept credit for previous college work. We accept credit for certifications. We accept credit for work experience and licensures. We work with you to uncover every possible source of transfer credit. And we accept up to 90 hours of credit — leaving you to finance as few as 30 hours of your 120-credit-hour program—all to save you time and money. When we say you’re closer to completing your affordable degree than you think, we mean it.

Prepare for a Lifetime of Career Success

A BAS program from Siena Heights University has a lot to offer, including:

  • A faculty of high-quality instructors, experts in their fields

  • 100% online program flexibility

  • Accelerated completion—finish in as little as 12-18 months

  • Small, personalized classes

  • One-on-one advising and degree planning

  • 7-week terms and six class start dates to choose from 


Anthony Farina
Associate Professor of Humanities and LAS Coordinator
Gail Ryder
Associate Professor of Humanities
Mike Winstrom
Associate Professor of Philosophy

The Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) and the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) are career-oriented degree programs structured on the “inverted major” concept, which builds an individually designed academic degree program around the approved technical, allied health, public safety, or occupational “major” the student already has completed. In most cases, students receive no additional training in the major from Siena Heights University; instead, they complete their Siena Heights University degree by completing liberal arts courses and other course work appropriate to their prior learning and future goals.

Traditional and non-traditional credit options are possible for the inverted major. A major may be established and/or credit may be awarded for course work completed at accredited colleges and universities as well as approved technical, trade and allied health schools, and/or for professional experience, licensure, or college-equivalent prior learning. Options for earning prior learning credit include CLEP (College-Level Examination Program), Excelsior College Exams, Michigan Occupational Competency Assessment Exams (MOCAC), ACEPONSI (American Council on Education Program on Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction), military and police academy certification, among other testing programs. Transfer credit is determined individually; interested students should contact an academic advisor at one of Siena Heights University’s degree completion centers.

B.A.S. and A.A.S. Degrees are appropriate for applied science majors in many areas. 

See examples of qualifying applied science majors for the Bachelor of Applied Science degree.

At Siena Heights University, which arguably first developed the unique bachelor of applied science degree program in 1975, the short answer is: a career advancement tool.

“The problem with the short answer is that it takes more than a short answer,” said Norm Bukwaz, a retired SHU faculty member and dean who helped develop the BAS degree more than 45 years ago. “The whole other world of the community colleges are the occupational, or Associate of Applied Science degree programs, that prepare people for a career. You’ve got all of these people completing technical degrees entering the workforce. But the programs that they took are called the non-transfer programs. We learned quickly that they had very important transfer needs.”

Bukwaz, who still serves as the BAS Program Director for SHU Global, the university’s home for its professional and graduate programs, said the best way to look at the Bachelor of Applied Science degree is that each BAS degree gives students the ability to build their education based on a qualified Associate of Applied Science program and/or specialized training in so they can complete their degree at an accelerated pace. Students will focus on coursework in non-major areas to meet BAS degree requirements.

He said the Bachelor of Applied Science degree has met that need. It was designed for practicing professionals in four major degree tracks:

  • Public Safety Professions 
  • Health Care Professions 
  • Specialized Occupational Professions 
  • Technical Trade & Industrial Professions 

Bachelor of Applied Science vs Bachelor of Science Degree

So, what are the differences between a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Bachelor of Science degree?

According to Bukwaz, the more recognized Bachelor of Science degree is a more traditional path aimed at students wanting to study a traditional science field like biology, chemistry, math, etc. It also mostly relies on a four-year degree completion path, whereas the BAS degree can be completed sometimes in a year or less in as little as 10 courses.

Another distinction between the BAS and the BS is the delivery format. Many BS programs are still taught in a traditional campus classroom setting. However, although BAS courses can be taught in an in-person format, the majority of Siena Heights’ BAS courses have been taught in a completely online format delivered in seven-week sessions, which allows flexibility for working adults.

“In my research, Siena Heights was the first to develop a BAS model of delivery, to embrace the BAS degree concept, and commit to building the program and marketing it broadly through the community college AAS community,” Bukwaz said.

A recent SHU BAS student satisfaction research study cited the ease of credit transfer and earning a higher education credential as primary reasons why many students enrolled in the BAS degree program at Siena Heights.

“Our commitment to awarding credit for nontraditional, but college-level, learning and work experience is part of the total deal for BAS students,” Bukwaz said. “Packaging their rich learning and work histories with a flexible, individualized, relevant career advancement program delivered conveniently and in a quality way is the key to SHU’s success.”

Is a BAS Degree Marketable?

That same survey also reported that more than 80 percent of SHU BAS graduates indicate their degree helped them professionally. In fact, SHU BAS graduates said one of these four career outcomes occurred as a result of their finishing their Bachelor of Applied Science degree:

  • Received a promotion
  • Obtained a new job at another company
  • Significantly increased their earnings; or
  • Made a change to a new industry/sector

The research study also said that the strongest impacts of the BAS Degree came in “Liberal Arts” outcome areas. More than 80 percent of SHU BAS graduates said their communication skills were improved and they had developed a broader perspective. Also noteworthy was that 73 percent of respondents indicated the BAS program had helped them with their leadership and management skills.

An Online Degree Based on Work Experience

SHU Global’s Bachelor of Applied Science program also has the flexibility of transfer-friendly policies like credit for work and life experience.

“Our commitment to broadening the intellectual horizons of technical and occupational professional who have primarily had heavy doses of technical learning is great for employers and these students,” Bukwaz said. “The vast majority of our BAS students report they don’t need more major-related, technical training. They need someone to package their rich history of college-level learning into an achievable bachelor’s degree individualized to their needs. They need the broadening we can provide as well as additional skill sets like management and leadership.”

Siena Heights has graduated more than 8,500 students with BAS degrees since the degree’s inception more than 45 years ago.

“So, approximately one out of every two Siena Heights graduates with a bachelor’s degree has graduated with a BAS degree,” Bukwaz said. “No school can match SHU with its story of BAS graduates, its partnering relationships with such a wide range of AAS, hospital-based and technical providers, and can articulate a BAS story as we have.”

To learn about SHU Global’s distinctive online Bachelor of Applied Science degree program, visit

Costs & Aid

We know that college can be expensive, but we don’t want cost to keep you from attending Siena Heights University! We offer numerous financial aid opportunities. Federal aid is available to students who qualify by completing the FAFSA. Feel free to contact us with questions about financial aid opportunities, or click on one of the links below.