General Studies Degree Program Overviews

Oct 14, 2019

Essential Information

General studies degree programs are multidisciplinary and introduce students to a variety of collegiate-level subjects in the arts and sciences, such as communications, fine arts, educational studies and business.

At the associate's level, students have the opportunity to shape their curricula, and to choose specializations such as behavioral, applied or natural sciences, or arts and humanities to develop their knowledge in several key areas within 2 years. Students work closely with their academic advisors to customize a lesson plan that focuses on their personal aspirations and occupational goals.

Bachelor's students, who are required 120-125 credits, can also choose a concentration, with programs sometimes functioning as degree completion paths for those who've acquired an associate's.

Online courses are available for some programs. Prior to admission, some schools require only a high school diploma, while others require prior college credits.

Associate's in General Studies

Associate degrees in general studies are usually conferred as an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science or an Associate of General Studies. An associate's degree program in general studies covers various topics such as mathematics and science, drawing and design, African art and philosophy, supervisory psychology and contemporary American music trends. Other common subjects are:

  • Human biological evolution
  • Molecular biology
  • Chicago-area history
  • Survey of painting, sculpture and architecture
  • Business statistics
  • Engineering physics

Bachelor's in General Studies

A large portion of the bachelor's general studies credits are reserved for elective courses, like German civilizations and designing communities. Other possible class options include:

  • Macroeconomics and microeconomics
  • Business law
  • Child psychology
  • Anthropology
  • American literature
  • Film studies

Popular Careers

The broad educational foundation acquired through general studies programs are applicable to a wide range of occupations. A graduate's specific area of concentration largely influences his or her employment options. Some roles one might consider include:

  • Office administrator
  • Human services assistant
  • Sales representative
  • Legal assistant or paralegal
  • Journalist
  • Restaurant manager

Employment Options and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reporters/correspondents and paralegals/legal assistants earned median annual wages of $41,260 and $50,940 as of May 2018, respectively (

Continuing Education Information

Graduates can go on to pursue master's degrees in specific areas, such as business administration or organizational leadership. A liberal studies master's degree is also an option, which is less math and science-focused.

General studies programs provide students the resources to broaden their knowledge on general education topics as well as their chosen specializations which may include behavioral, applied or natural sciences, or arts and humanities. These courses prepare graduates for further studies and a variety of career options.

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