Q. What is an RBA Degree?
A. RBA stands for Regents Bachelor of Arts. The RBA is a bachelor’s degree program designed to fit the needs of adult students — particularly those who already have work and family commitments.

Q. Who can enroll in the RBA program?
A. Students who have earned a high school diploma or passed the General Education Development (GED) exam and who have been out of high school for four years or more can pursue an RBA. Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning are NOT eligible to receive the RBA degree as the RBA is designed as a degree completion program, not as a second degree.

Q. I’m interested in getting my RBA — where do I start?
Begin by contacting an RBA advisor. He or she will guide you through the process and get you on track to earning your bachelor’s degree! To begin working with your advisor, send an email to

Q. Are there financial aid programs available for RBA students? How can I fund my degree?
There are many ways to pay for your degree. If you enroll part-time, you may be eligible to participate in The Higher Education Adult Part-time Student Program (HEAPS). If you enroll full-time, you may be eligible for the WV Higher Education Grant. You should also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you can receive help from the federal government. To find out more about financial aid, check out the Financial Aid Resources for Adult Learners page. To learn more about your financial aid options, see the costs/financial aid section of this FAQ or click here.

Q. What sort of time commitment is involved?
A. The RBA program is designed to fit your schedule. You can work at your own pace to complete your degree.

Q. Can my work experience count toward a degree?
A. One of the great benefits of the RBA program is that knowledge gained from your work and life experience can count toward college credit. If you are interested in earning credit for your career experience, ask your RBA advisor about the portfolio submission process or see the portfolio section of this FAQ.

Q. I’ve attended college before, but I didn’t earn a degree. Can I count the credits I earned the first time toward my RBA?
Yes, you may be able to count credits you’ve already earned toward your RBA degree — even if you’ve been out of school for a long time. Talk to your admissions counselor and an RBA advisor to see if your prior college experiences (from regionally accredited colleges or universities) can count. For more information, see the end of the academics portion of this FAQ.

Q: What are some common RBA careers?

A: There’s a lot you can do with a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree. Many graduates have held a variety of positions at higher education institutions, federal agencies, public service entities, private corporations and similar organizations. Many physicians and lawyers have also earned an RBA degree.


Q. Can I go on to graduate or professional school with a Regents Bachelors of Arts Degree?

A. Yes. Regents Bachelors of Arts Degree graduates go on to professional schools, law school and a variety of graduate programs. Students planning to seek graduate or professional school admission should consult directly with the programs they are considering about which courses will meet the admission requirements of these programs. (Note: In some professional programs there is an expectation that at least 50% of the student’s undergraduate course work should be in regular, graded courses.)

Q. Do I have to take a foreign language course?

A. No. A foreign language is not required.

Q. Do I have to take the ‘24 hours of Residency’ credit at Marshall?

A. At least three credit hours must be taken from a course offered by Marshall University, but the rest of the residency credit may be taken at any one or a combination of the public higher education institutions in West Virginia. Online courses count for residency, just not college-equivalent credit.

Q. Can the same courses I take to satisfy the Residency requirement satisfy the general education or upper division requirements as well?

A. Yes. Some courses might meet all three requirements at once (but they only count once toward the 120 hours needed for graduation). Repeated courses also only count once toward graduation.

Q. What are upper-division credits?

A. Upper-division credits are earned for course work that is considered to be of a junior or senior level at a four-year institution. At Marshall University, upper-division courses are those numbered in the 300s and 400s. Course work completed at a community college is always considered lower division; it’s the level at which you take the course, not the level at which it transfers in that counts.

Q. Do I have to take traditional courses to satisfy the general education and upper division requirements?

A. You may satisfy the general education and upper division requirements by passing appropriate CLEP, Dantes or AP exams with specified scores, earning college-equivalent-credit or earning credit by exam from Marshall University.

Q. How quickly can I graduate?

A. The Regents Bachelor of Arts degree is unique in that there is no specific time for completion. How long it takes you to graduate will depend upon (1) the requirements you need to complete your degree, (2) your course load and (3) how much time you can devote to your courses. Part time is considered six hours and full time is 12 hours. The maximum course hours in one fall or spring semester is 18 hours. Summer sessions are seven hours maximum each. In rare cases exceptional students may be allowed to take more than the maximum number in a particular semester or session.

Eight-week classes proceed at an accelerated pace. This means that taking two 3-hour classes in the first 8 weeks and two 3-hour classes in the second 8 weeks amounts to a total of 12 hours for the semester. If you take three 3-hour classes across two, consecutive 8 week periods, it totals 18 hours for the semester.

Q. I never finished high school, and would like to get a Regents Bachelors of Arts Degree. What do I have to do?

A. You will need to earn a GED in order to be admitted to Marshall University. You must attain a standard score of 45 on each of the five parts of the General Education Development Test or an average standard score of 50 or above on the entire test. GED scores must be sent directly to the Admissions Office from the testing center, West Virginia Department of Education or county superintendent of schools.

Q. If I earned a GED recently, do I still have to wait 4 years to be admitted to the Regents BA program?

A. This depends on your individual situation. You would be eligible for admission at least four years after your class graduated from high school.

Q. Some of my college credits are pretty old and are from different schools. Can these credits be used in this program?

A. Credit earned at regionally-accredited colleges and universities is generally transferable. Courses taken through the U.S. Armed Forces, business, industry and hospital schools may be acceptable if they are recommended by the American Council on Education.

Q. What if my GPA is below 2.0?

A. The Regents Bachelors of Arts Degree program allows failing grades earned more than four years ago to be excluded from your GPA calculation. (Note: Those failing grades will still remain on your transcript.) This can only be done once when you enter the program and will disqualify you from consideration for honors. Graduate programs may put the excluded grades back in.

Q. Can I complete the Regents Bachelors of Arts Degree without taking courses on the Marshall University campus?

A. Marshall University offers college courses online and through remote sites in the state of West Virginia. Completing the RBA degree program requirements without coming to campus is possible depending on where you live and/or the number of credits you’ve earned before you begin the RBA program. Only some areas of emphasis are possible online.

For further information on Marshall University courses online, please visit our website:

Q. Is there any limit on the amount of credit I can transfer from other institutions?

A. While all passing grades are accepted, only 72 hours of credit from community and junior colleges can count toward the 120 hours needed for graduation.

Q. Can I transfer in “D” grades from other institutions?

A. Yes.

Q. Are there credits from other institutions which will not transfer?

A. Developmental courses do not count towards graduation, nor do credits earned as credit-by-exam at other institutions. College-equivalent-credit is not transferable, nor are most credits earned on the basis of articulation agreements between colleges and their local agencies and industries. Aside from these exceptions, almost all satisfactorily completed course work taken at regionally accredited higher education institutions is transferable.

Q. Do CLEP/DSST and Military credits count in the RBA program?

A. Yes. The RBA program accepts credits earned for experience that has been evaluated by the American Council of Education.


Q. How do I apply for admission to the Regents Bachelors of Arts degree program?

A. You must complete and submit a Marshall University Admissions Application Form. You can do this online or you can download a form, print it and mail it to the Regents Office.

Application forms are also available from the Regents BA Office in Smith Hall 223, or from the Marshall University Admissions Office in Old Main 125.

Marshall’s team of dedicated Admissions counselors is waiting to hear from you — contact them at 1-800-642-3499 or

Q. What if I don’t take any classes at Marshall University for one or two semesters? Do I have to re-apply to Marshall University to continue in the RBA program?

A. You will remain an active student at Marshall University for one year from the time of your initial admission (even if you do not take a course every semester).

If you become inactive for a calendar year or longer, you must re-apply for admission. You will be readmitted under the policies in effect at the time of readmission (which may include new requirements, higher portfolio fees, etc.).


Q. Will I have an academic advisor who is knowledgeable about the RBA program?
A. Yes. The experienced, professional staff in the RBA office will assist you with all of your RBA program questions and needs.


Q. How much will the RBA degree program cost? 
A. For complete information on tuition and fees see our website:

Q. Is financial aid available?
A. You may be eligible for financial aid. Call us for information our see our website:
1-800-438-5390 or 304-696-3162 or visit

NOTE: If you are employed, check with your company’s human resources department. Many companies and government agencies offer tuition assistance.

For federal assistance and many other opportunities, file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may submit a paper copy or apply online at:


Q.  What is the difference between RBA online classes and regular classes?
A. There is no difference between RBA online classes and regular classes in terms of credit earned. The classes are “delivered” differently and communication takes place electronically over the internet rather than face-to-face.

Q. What are the advantages of taking an RBA online course?
A. The main advantage is convenience. You will be able to access the course materials at times and places convenient to you.

QDo I need special computer equipment or skills to take an RBA online course?
A. Visit this page for all the information you need to know about taking courses for Marshall’s Regents online degree program.


Q. I am disabled and need special software and hardware to work a computer. Will Marshall University help me obtain this equipment?
A.  While Marshall University will not purchase this special equipment for you, the Marshall University Office of Accessibility and Accommodations has some equipment available to loan to students on a semester basis.

Equipment currently on hand includes manual wheelchairs, electric scooter, tape recorders and players, and a laptop computer.  A Braille printer, large print screen computers, and scanners are available in the Study Center of the Drinko Library. There is also a CC TV located in Prichard Hall.


Q. Are library resources available to RBA degree students?
A. Yes. Marshall University Libraries offer complete library services. These services include an on-line catalogue as well as many online databases of journals and other research materials. In addition, for students who do not come to campus, Marshall offers a full array of off-campus library services.

Q. Is there a toll-free number for Marshall University library services?
A. Yes.  Please dial 1-800-818-9816


Q. Exactly what is an RBA Portfolio?
A. A RBA Portfolio is a written document justifying and documenting your request for college-equivalent credit. Portfolios have four parts:

  1. A request for credit for specific college courses;
  2. A resume identifying your educational, professional, and other relevant activities;
  3. A narrative demonstrating that you have “college-equivalent” knowledge and skills; and
  4. documentation to support your claims of accomplishment.

There is a 17 page guide available on our website you will need to review in order to understand the portfolio process.

Q. Who reads the portfolios and determines whether credit is awarded?
A. Once reviewed and approved by the RBA Director, portfolios are sent to the departments which offer the requested credits. Faculty in those departments read and recommend the credit awards.

Q. How do the credits earned by creating a portfolio appear on my transcript?
A. They are designated as “c.e.c” credits. “College-equivalent credit” is not graded.

Q. Can I get college credit for my Military Service?
A. Yes. Credit will be given for documented military training which has been assessed by the American Council on Education. There is no fee for the posting of military credit. Students must send a copy of their military transcripts directly to Marshall University Admissions. Students need to have an academic record at Marshall for credits to be posted on their transcript.

Q. Is there a limit on the amount of college-equivalent credit that can be earned?
A. No. However students still must meet the residency and general education requirements for the degree. Most portfolio submissions earn no more that 12-24 credits, 1-2 semesters.

Q. How do I find out about Standard Awards of Credit for licenses or certifications?
A. Awards of credit change over time. Standard Awards of credit require specific documentation. Check with the RBA staff at to determine what is required.

The RBA Program also recognizes standard credit awards that are listed in the ACE (American Council on Education) Guide.