Bachelor’s in General Studies Program Guide

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by Christina Payne

Updated January 21, 2022

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A bachelor's degree in general studies includes a multidisciplinary curriculum. Students explore the arts, sciences, and humanities to gain a well-rounded and balanced education. A general studies program focuses on marketable and transferable skills like analytical thinking and communication.

This degree can lead to entry-level careers in many fields, including business and education. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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In this guide, readers can discover how to choose the right program, how long it will take to complete their degree, and what to expect in terms of admission requirements. Readers can also find information about potential classes, concentrations, and careers for a general studies major.

What Is General Studies?

Students who earn an on-campus or online degree in general studies develop many skills, such as those related to oral and written communication, critical thinking, data analysis, and research. Students can select courses based on themes or topics that appeal to them.

The curriculum of a general studies program often includes science, arts, math, and humanities courses.

What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in General Studies Programs of 2020?

#1 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
#2 Brigham Young University - Idaho Rexburg, ID
#3 Minot State University Minot, ND
#4 Trine University Fort Wayne, IN
#5 Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK
#6 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
#7 University of Mary Bismarck, ND
#8 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, LA
#9 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE
#10 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND

Should I Get a Bachelor's Degree in General Studies?

A bachelor's degree in general studies prepares students for several entry-level careers, including legal assistant, lobbyist, and administrative assistant. Because general studies programs take a multidisciplinary approach, students are less restricted in their career choices after graduation.

General studies programs teach critical skills in communication and critical thinking that employers seek in potential applicants. Graduates enter the workforce with competencies in math, science, and the humanities.

General studies degrees also offer a high level of customization. If students know their target career path, they can choose courses that teach career-specific skills and competencies. Alternatively, if learners are unsure about the type of job they want to pursue, they can select a broad course of study.

Below, readers can find information about potential courses and concentrations for general studies programs. They can also discover potential careers for general studies majors.

What Will I Learn in a General Studies Bachelor's Program?

Students pursuing a bachelor's in general studies have ample customization options. Students can pursue topics that interest them and build skills for whatever career path they want to pursue. Typically, students take courses across many disciplines, including math, science, and the humanities.

Below are examples of courses and concentrations that students may encounter while earning an on-campus or online degree in general studies. Keep in mind that different general studies programs may offer different courses and customization options.


English Composition

This course explores the fundamentals of writing, including grammar, citing sources, and reading comprehension. Students learn to communicate effectively by completing practical assignments and assessing work from a variety of authors.


Students in this course learn about supply and demand, market competition, trade, and taxation. This course uses real-world examples to explain economic concepts on a micro and macro level. Students also learn how to analyze data sets.


This course looks at classical and contemporary philosophical writings about topics like ethics, beauty, and truth. Students learn critical written and oral communication skills by writing research papers and engaging in discussions with classmates.


Physics explores real-world phenomena such as light, magnetism, sound, and matter. Students learn how fundamental mathematics can explain these forces. This course takes a practical and theoretical look at physics.

Public Speaking

In this course, students learn how to form arguments and present them in a compelling manner. This course also covers the physical aspects of public speaking, such as how to stand, project, and gesture.


Business Administration

This concentration explores business strategies and teaches essential business skills like problem-solving and leadership. Throughout foundational business courses, students learn how to communicate effectively with coworkers, employers, and clients.

Writing and Creative Expression

Students in this concentration learn the basic craft of written communication. Coursework focuses on the major techniques used in each genre. Students hone their craft through personal writing and by examining the works of others.


This concentration explores the basic tenets of psychology. Students learn essential research skills and how to use qualitative and quantitative data in meaningful ways. Psychology courses also teach strong communication and critical thinking skills.


Students in this concentration learn about foundational mathematical concepts and equations. Coursework demonstrates the application of mathematics across different industries. Students learn to use quantitative data and how to solve problems.


This concentration explores leadership through lessons in ethics, team building, and conflict management. Students learn how to communicate and make decisions effectively. Graduates can apply their leadership skills across many disciplines and industries.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in General Studies?

Students who earn a degree in general studies prepare for careers in many fields, including business, education, politics, and law. Skills learned in a general studies program translate to almost any entry-level job that does not require highly specialized training.

Below are several examples of potential careers for general studies graduates.


Legal Assistant

Legal assistants support lawyers by helping with cases, conducting research and interviews, and organizing files. These professionals need strong critical thinking and organizational skills and a thorough knowledge of the law.

Median Annual Salary: $51,740*


Lobbyists work for businesses, nonprofits, and other special interest groups. These professionals attempt to convince elected officials and other public figures to adopt policy positions that will benefit their clients.

Median Annual Salary: $75,320*

Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants oversee clerical and administrative tasks in an office. These professionals maintain files and databases, manage calls, and interact directly with clients. Administrative assistants need exceptional organizational and communication skills.

Median Annual Salary: $39,850*


Copywriters create content for businesses and other companies. They may need to translate complex ideas into relatable copy. These professionals need excellent writing and proofreading skills.

Median Annual Salary: $51,630*

Office Manager

Office managers keep operations running smoothly in an office. They need excellent communication and time management skills. These professionals work closely with other employees and must oversee multiple projects at once.

Median Annual Salary: $48,430*

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale

How to Choose a General Studies Bachelor's Program

Students should always research potential general studies programs before applying. First, applicants should look for institutional or programmatic accreditation to ensure that the college meets the educational standards set by the U.S. Department of Education.

Next, students should research program length, curriculum, and the format of the program (online, on-campus, or hybrid delivery) to make sure the program meets their specific needs.

Readers can find more information about choosing an online bachelor's degree in general studies on this page.

How to Get Into a General Studies Bachelor's Program

Students interested in earning a bachelor's in general studies should have a high school or GED diploma. Some institutions may also utilize a minimum GPA cutoff, which is typically between 2.0 and 3.0.

In general, applicants must submit official transcripts from previously attended institutions, standardized test scores, and letters of recommendation. Colleges that do not require standardized test scores often ask applicants to take a placement test instead.

Students can find more information about a college's application requirements by visiting its webpage or reaching out to its admissions department.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in General Studies?

Most full-time students complete their bachelor's degree in general studies in four years. Part-time students need more time to complete their degree; however, they can continue to work while enrolled.

Students with transfer credits from previous institutions, certain work or life experience, or military training can often graduate more quickly. Some colleges offer accelerated programs, which allow full-time students to take more credits each year and expedite graduation.

Depending on their target career path, students may need to earn certification or licensure after graduation. Readers should research specific job requirements before applying.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Bachelor's in General Studies?

The cost of a bachelor's degree in general studies differs depending on the type of institution (public vs. private or in-state vs. out-of-state schools) and a student's enrollment status (full-time vs. part-time learning). Students interested in an online bachelor's degree in general studies may qualify for in-state tuition, even if they live in a different state.

In-state public universities often offer the lowest tuition rates. According to CollegeBoard, in-state undergraduate students paid an average of $10,440 in tuition at public universities during the 2019-2020 school year. Their out-of-state counterparts paid an average of $26,820.

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