New BGS Degree Program Offered in Southeast Arizona

September 27th, 2021

The University of Arizona is expanding its Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) degree programs to the UArizona Near You Network academic locations in Douglas and Nogales.


This expansion supports the mission of The University of Arizona’s Online, Distance, and Continuing Education division to transcend the traditional barriers of access, geography and cost to extend the opportunity for ambitious learners to earn a prestigious education from Arizona's flagship university. 


In Fall 2021, the BGS program will join the degree programs already available in Douglas and Nogales as a collaboration between UArizona’s Near You Network and the Cochise Community College and Pima Community College systems. Students will follow a pathway from their first two years at the community college to two years of upper-division coursework with the University of Arizona to earn their bachelor’s degree.


“The Bachelor of General Studies degree expansion to the border regions of Douglas and Nogales reflects the University of Arizona’s commitment to provide meaningful and industry-focused programming to enhance academic, economic, and cultural vitality across our diverse Arizona communities. This new degree offering provides a tailored bachelor’s degree completion option for regional college students and returning adults who wish to increase their opportunities in the local workforce and their lifelong earning potential,” said Sarah Wieland, Assistant Vice Provost of Distance Education.


The Bachelor of General Studies degree programs, housed in the College of Humanities, began in 2011 on the Tucson campus to provide students with more flexible and market responsive pathways to graduation.


The BGS degrees then expanded to Arizona Online and the Near You Network location of North Valley in North Phoenix in 2015. Across locations, the BGS degree program has approximately 800 students currently enrolled. The decision of students to pursue the BGS reflects the program’s appeal to disparate student groups, as well as the effective preparation it provides for securing employment after graduation.

The development of the BGS degree programs in Southern Arizona also reinforces the broader initiatives of the College of Humanities to emphasize the value of the humanities essential skills to students and employers in a wide range of industries and diverse communities.

According to a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences, or NAS, many employers, especially in high tech, say the essential skills for career success are critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and the ability to be a lifelong learner. In fact, in one study done at Google, managers ranked such “soft skills” as the most valuable while technical subject-matter skills ranked last. These skills are highlighted in the BGS programs.

“Students will learn how to use different disciplines, methodologies and perspectives to address different problems, developing critical thinking and skills for analysis that they can use in a wide variety of career paths,” said Kimberly Jones, the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Humanities.

The University of Arizona College of Humanities is at the forefront of efforts that are reorganizing the humanities curricula, focusing on career readiness in order to satisfy workforce demands for employees who have broad and versatile skillsets.

“There is no such thing as a starving humanist. Our graduates develop the most sought-after skills in the global job market: communication, adaptability, intercultural competence, critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership. They are employed in all kinds of fields, and they are creating successful careers based on what they learned in our college,” said Alain-Philippe Durand, Dorrance Dean of the College of Humanities.

The BGS program in the Near You Network prepares students to flourish in an a constantly evolving job market by providing flexible and in-demand skill sets from the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and natural sciences to local communities.

UArizona Douglas and Nogales each offer a range of bachelor's degrees that are high quality and geographically accessible to meet the needs of their communities and industries. The BGS programs in Douglas and Nogales will extend the reach of existing degree programs by offering three multidisciplinary pathways: Economy and Industry; Social Behavior and Human Understanding; and Science, Technology, Health, and Society.

“These specific BGS tracks will help our students develop key career skills that are in high demand across many industries within the region, while also developing new pathways for these communities and individuals to prosper long-term,” said Laura Franco, Region Manager for Southeast Arizona in UArizona’s Near You Network.

Students interested in more information about the program or who want to transfer, should contact a Near You Network Enrollment Counselor,