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Associate's and Bachelor's Degrees in General Studies

College-bound students who aren't sure what major to declare may be good candidates for completing a general studies degree program. Students are able to further their education and study several broad subjects, instead of focusing on a particular field or specialization. General studies universities and colleges typically offer both associates and bachelors in general studies programs. Students usually have the opportunity to develop their own program so that they can explore several subjects throughout their educational career.

Types of General Studies Degrees

Most general study degree programs are very broad in nature and customized to suit the student's interests and overall educational goals. Some students choose coursework under several disciplines, and the skills and knowledge acquired from a general study degree program can prepare the student for a number of different professions.

Students may choose to further their education in a graduate program, pursing fields such as political science, nursing, business and law. Students with a general studies degree typically graduate with a broad skill set and can even move on to open their own business.

General studies degrees are also known as "generalist" degrees and some are offered exclusively online. Students can enter the workforce at the professional level, after graduation and typically learn many core skills on the job. Some employers may recommend that the candidate complete certification in a particular specialization or take online courses to bolster their degree.

Getting a General Study Degree

Students are typically good candidates for positions in the business field, and are qualified to apply for entry-level positions in project management, administrative support, materials processing, public relations, marketing and communications. Getting a general study degree means the student remains adaptable and may be able to train for a variety of different positions throughout their career track.

An associate's general study degree program typically includes basic courses in English, mathematics, history, political science, social science and geography. Students who get bachelors in general studies or a master's degree in general studies typically take more advanced courses in Math, Science, History and English.

Most general studies degree programs require students to take the following types of courses:

  • English Composition

  • College Algebra

  • Chemistry

  • Biology

  • Art

  • Literature

  • U.S. History

  • Geography

  • History of Western Civilization

  • Calculus

  • Advanced Algebra

  • Sociology

  • Anthropology

Students who complete a general study degree typically obtain a variety of skills that can be applied to dozens of different professions. Some of the key skills acquired include philosophy, communications, writing, art, foreign language, basic computer skills and a solid knowledge of U.S. and world history.

Attending General Studies School Online

Students who are working part-time, raising a family or those who do not live near a school or college that offers a general study degree program may choose to attend a school online. Completing a general studies degree online offers more flexibility and the freedom to work at your own pace. Many students who want to complete a bachelors or associate's degree at general studies colleges can complete the entire curriculum without stepping foot in a school or lab. The online experience may require the student to participate in online discussions, watch lectures online, complete exams and quizzes over the web, collaborate with students and professors from around the country, and tap into libraries and other resources online.

Students who complete their education online can also pursue graduate programs at an offline or online school, in fields such as business, education, international affairs, nursing, social work, library science management and law.

Careers with a General Studies Degree

Since the educational programs are so broad, students can explore a wide range of career opportunities immediately after graduation. Most students are able to apply for entry-level positions in the field of business with a general study degree, but will need to take more specialized courses, a certification program or advanced degree courses in order to obtain managerial, supervisory and research positions in their field of choice.

Careers can range from teaching, public relations to marketing executives, depending on the level of study and the work experience the student has. Median annual incomes vary significantly depending on the field, location of the job and the individual's work experience.

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Associate's and Bachelor's Degrees in General Studies