Learner Designed Area of Study (LDAS)

Learner Designed Area of Study is designed for learners to customize studies within a discipline or blend of disciplines. It prepares students with diversified knowledge within and among degree programs to align with cross-disciplinary career positions. Learner Designed Areas of Study must be unique and may not duplicate the outcomes of existing degrees offered by the University.

Students are responsible for choosing or creating areas of interest by submitting a proposal to the Heavin School of Arts & Sciences. This is accomplished by completing the application form available on the University’s web site. Areas of interest can be interdisciplinary and draw on disciplines not offered currently as areas of study at the University. The LDAS may be earned through transfer credit from other accredited institutions, Thomas Edison State University courses, Prior Learning Assessment or any other credit earning method approved by the University.

The student is responsible for developing a coherent plan of study to meet the unique learning outcomes of the LDAS. The application process must explain the Area of Study the student wishes to create by listing the specific learning outcomes the student wishes to achieve, and will include a short narrative of the discipline the student wishes to pursue.

Students who are approved for the LDAS must meet the requirements of the degree in addition to the approved area of study.

Developing the LDAS

  1. Students will examine their own educational and professional background to select an area of study they believe will accomplish their career goals.
  2. Students will research their desired area of study to determine if the area is coherent, distinct and unique and does not replicate existing Thomas Edison State University degree program areas of study.
  3. Students will write a one-paragraph description of their LDAS that articulates in general terms, what their LDAS will accomplish.
  4. Students will develop a list of specific outcomes that he or she will achieve upon successful completion of their LDAS. Students should review outcomes from Thomas Edison State University other degree programs as well as from other regionally accredited institutions for examples of appropriate outcomes.
  5. Students will develop a coherent plan of study (list of specific, existing courses) to meet the unique learning outcomes of the LDAS.
  6. Students submit their applications to the appropriate school for review and approval.


The description is a one-paragraph narrative that describes the LDAS concept. It must focus on specific goal for the LDAS and will guide the development of the outcomes and plan of study.
An outcome is a brief statement that clearly defines a college level skill, ability or result that will be achieved, based on successful completion of a learning activity. The list of outcomes may range from 3 or 4 to as many as 6 or 7, but all outcomes should be achieved by completing the plan of study.
Plan of Study
The plan will specify the specific courses that will be completed or have been completed that will directly achieve the list of outcomes. These courses may be Thomas Edison State University courses, or courses that will be transferred in from another regionally accredited institution, or courses evaluated by the American Council of Education (ACE). In addition to the LDAS, students must complete all the requirements of the degree.

The Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science LDAS

  1. The area of study listed on official transcripts for LDAS recipients is "Learner Designed Area of Study", and not the student’s proposed area of study.
  2. Students must fulfill the BA or BS degree requirements, which include all general education and core requirements and LIB-495 Liberal Arts Capstone course. 30 credits in the area of study are designed by the student, which should include a minimum of 18 credits at the 300/400 level and with a limit of 6 credits at the 100 level.