Special Studies

We give working allied health professional a unique alternative: earn a bachelor's degree by adding liberal arts to your healthcare education.

Our discussion-driven, adult learning environment develops skills you can directly apply to your job. You will be comfortable, challenged and grow while collaborating with peers and faculty who really care. Yes, at SAU you can earn a bachelor's degree in a supportive and accommodating environment.

Our graduates work at Genesis Health Foundation, Scott Community College, the Rock Island Arsenal, and more.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Complete Your Degree Faster
  • Discounted Tuition
  • You Pick: Evening, Weekend, Online, and Hybrid Classes

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students in class

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Our adults students are following unique paths and working at their own pace, but they share a commitment to earn their degree. At SAU, we commit to help you succeed. You get small classes, exceptional faculty, discounted tuition, and eight-week courses – half the time as a traditional classes. As a working adult, you can earn your degree faster, more affordably and still have time to enjoy life.

Learn More and apply

More Information About Special Studies

Where will I take classes?

Whether you work full-time or part-time, this program fits your schedule. Our eight-week courses are held once a week in the evening or on Saturday in Davenport; our hybrid courses are a mix of online and in-seat classroom lessons; you can take a course fully online; or attend traditional morning or afternoon classes on campus, too.

You pick the learning environment that works best for you. 

Credit for Life Experiences? You bet!

Working adults bring a wealth of professional and personal life experiences into our classrooms. We value that experience and want to give credit where credit is due.

Through our Prior Learning Assessment Program, you can earn credit for your work and life experience. Military and LOMA courses may also be applied to help earn your degree faster. Contact an academic advisor to find out how your experiences and accomplishments can help you earn your degree faster.

If you've already completed some undergraduate coursework, or earned an associates degree, we give you credit for that, too. SAU accepts up to 90 credit hours from four-year colleges and universities, and up to 60 credit hours from two-year or community colleges. The total number of combined credits St. Ambrose will accept is 90 credit hours.

In order to complete the application process, request official transcripts from all of the colleges and universities you have attended to be sent to SAU.

For more information, contact Jeff Karll, at 563-333-5709 or email KarllJefferyJ@sau.edu.

How does SAU support the educational goals of the working adult?

   When you enroll at SAU, you join a community of active learners, people of all ages, backgrounds and goals. We support all of our students through focused resources and facilities, including:

  • Our main campus is centrally located in Davenport, near the north-south corridor of Brady Street and the east-west corridor of Locust Street.
  • Our faculty are not only experts, they are supportive and willing to meet with you and help. Just ask.
  • You get wireless internet throughout the main campus and in off-campus buildings, too.
  • Our Career Center staff will help you create a resume, do mock interviews, and give you access to a wealth of resources to help with a career search.
  • We have an amazing library. Check out the books you need for a project, or take advantage of online access (on or off campus) to hundreds of academic journals, articles and newspapers. Our resource librarians like to be asked for help, and are happy give you a lesson on how to access the online databases. Need to study in quiet or with classmates? Our library has individual and group student rooms.
  • Our Student Success Center provides free tutoring, paper and project review and guidance, and more. No need to call. Sign up for a one-on-one session online.     
Degree Requirements

Depending on the allied health degree you've already completed, you may transfer up to 90 credits. 

To earn a Bachelor of Science in Special Studies, you need a minimum of 120 credit hours. Of those, at least 30 credit hours must be at the 300 & 400 course level. You must take at least two Writing Intensive (WI) courses (one at the 300 & 400 course level), and earn a grade of 'C' or better.

To graduate, you must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and complete an Information Literacy course within your first 12 credit hours at SAU.

These are the required courses, followed by the credit hours needed. Each course can be completed in eight weeks:

Written Communication - 3
One oral communication course (with public speaking as major component) - 3
One mathematics course - 3
Information Literacy - 1
One multicultural course selected from any approved foreign language, international studies or multicultural studies - 3
One Kinesiology activity/Samaritan course - 3
One philosophy course - 3
One theology course - 3
One philosophy or theology course at 300/400 level - 3
Bio-Medical Ethics - 3
Three humanities courses (other than philosophy or theology) - 9
One art, music or theatre course - 3
Two social science courses - 6
One natural science course - 3

Tuition, Scholarships, and Financial Aid

2018-19 Tuition

We want to help you finish your degree, so we offer adults in our accelerated program reduced tuition. Enroll as a part-time student, and you save more than $1,000 for every 3-credit course!

Online: $450/credit hour (1-11 credits)
Seated: $563/credit hour*

Financial Aid

Once you are admitted to St. Ambrose (fully or conditionally) you are eligible for federal and state grants and student loans. You need to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will ask for the SAU Federal School Code, which is 001889.

Iowa residents must file by July 1 to be eligible for the Iowa Tuition Grant. Most grant, loan, and scholarship programs require you to maintain a minimum number of credit hours per semester. Here is a sampling of the minimum credit hours required:

  • Pell Grant - 1
  • Iowa Tuition Grant - 3
  • Federal Loans - 6
  • SAU academic scholarship - 12

Many of our adult students are working professionals whose educational goals are supported by their employers. Find out if your company offers tuition reimbursement or other incentives, and let us know. We can defer your tuition payment until you are reimbursed. We also have agreements with several regional companies and give their employees discounted tuition. Those companies include:

  • Genesis
  • Trinity
  • Deere & Company
  • Rock Island Arsenal
  • Mid-American Energy
  • TAS Group

*Students attending seated courses will incur an additional $60 per credit hour fee for online classes.

Apply Visit Info


Jeff Karll

Admissions and Welcome Center
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 27 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!