General Studies

Building a thematic option

The thematic option is an individually designed and specialized program of study within the Bachelor of General Studies. 

The thematic option allows you to formulate a thematic course plan that can be used to help meet your career and academic goals. Unlike a major in which you specialize by taking many courses in one discipline, a Thematic option is interdisciplinary, and includes upper-level coursework in at least two or more disciplines.

Students considering graduate studies or otherwise wishing to receive recognition for a more specialized field of study are encouraged to pursue a thematic option. A successfully completed thematic option appears on your transcript.

If you are interested in completing a thematic option, download and review the Step-by-step guide to developing a thematic option. Next, schedule a meeting with a General Studies advisor

When to submit a thematic option

Students selecting a thematic option must identify this within their Customized Learning Plan (CLP) and submit it by 60 credits or time of entry. Students choosing to complete a thematic option after submitting their Customized Learning Plan can submit a separate proposal, but should do so before 90 credits in order to ensure that sufficient time is available to complete requirements. The plan must include courses that satisfy the general degree requirements and show how the THselected courses support the theme.

Thematic option development

Thematic options can be proposed for any area for which UFV offers sufficient program and course options, and in which it does not already offer a major program or equivalent. The thematic option can also include courses completed at other institutions. Thematic options can integrate specialized training and curriculum from professional certificate and diploma programs as part of a broader thematic program plan.

In developing a thematic option, keep in mind the following considerations:

  • Allowing sufficient time to consult with an advisor, develop a proposed plan, and have it reviewed. You are encouraged to think well in advance about thematic options in order to avoid delays in program completion.
  • Setting out a realistic plan that takes into account your resources (time, energy, access to courses, finances, etc). Keep in mind that a thematic option that requires courses offered through other institutions may take additional time to complete.
  • Sustaining enthusiasm for your topic without a group of like-minded students on the same path.

Here are some resources to help you prepare:

Thematic option submission and approval

Proposals should be submitted to the BGS advisor or to Proposals are reviewed and approved by the General Studies program chair and General Studies program committee. Upon submission of the proposal to the BGS advisor, you should allow for 4-6 weeks from time of proposal submission for review by the General Studies program chair.

The approval process may also involve consultation with faculty teaching in the thematic area. For this reason, students interested in completing a thematic option are encouraged to discuss their ideas with faculty teaching in the thematic area. 

What are the requirements for a thematic option?

  • Completion and approval of a thematic option proposal.
  • A minimum 2.0 GPA in all courses in your thematic area.
  • A minimum of 24 upper-level credits (i.e. courses that are designated by UFV as 300-level and/or 400-level) in your thematic area.  At least 6 of these credits must be completed at UFV.

For each course that you wish to complete elsewhere, you’ll need to fill out a Letter of Permission form, available from the Registrar’s Office.

Changing my plan

If you decide to rearrange your courses or shift the emphasis of your thematic option, you’ll need to confirm these choices with a General Studies advisor. Major changes will require a formal amendment to your original plan, after a review by the General Studies program chair. Be aware that major or even minor changes may require you to take extra courses.

Sample thematic options

Past and sample thematic options include: Aging Studies, Canadian Arts and Literature; Childhood Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Environmental Education, and Tourism and Recreation Management, among others.


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