Online colleges offering degree programs in general studies allow students to select coursework from a wide variety of disciplines, rather than the single discipline usually required for a traditional major. Through taking a variety of core courses and electives, a student can come to better understand what they want out of education and even out of a future career. Many paths could lead a student to major in general studies. Here are three common ones:
While few careers explicitly require a degree in general studies, the broad knowledge base of these majors can prove useful in a variety of fields. In many jobs, general-studies-relevant skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and effective communication can be more beneficial than a narrow disciplinary skill set. In addition, it has become increasingly common for workers to hold numerous positions at different employers during their working years. The versatility of an online degree in general studies may make it easier for students to make those transitions.
Using data provided by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), part of the National Center for Education Statistics, we have created an overview of the best online colleges for general studies from all U.S. colleges. Data points such as acceptance rate, graduation rate and tuition costs all played a part; you can read more about the methodology for our list at the bottom of this page.
All of these colleges are accredited, as school accreditation is very important for any student who wants to pursue a quality degree. Our list of the top 10 colleges for general education can help students narrow down their selection when seeking a school that fits their educational needs.
Being such a broad concept, it stands to reason that a general studies program can lay the foundation for numerous careers. Whether students want to work in government, health care, finance, science or education jobs, they should have an opportunity to learn desirable skills through a general studies curriculum. This section describes some of the abilities that general studies students may want to develop and the coursework that can help them do so.
Students that earn online general studies degrees become familiar with several academic disciplines within one program. While the specific curriculum and electives students can complete is likely to vary from school to school and from student to student, the following is a look at a few courses that may be worth considering if they are available in your program.
Online education for general studies allows students to explore various areas of interest. An online associate program will likely focus on lower-division courses and an online bachelor's program should offer more opportunities for upper-division courses, but there is potential to learn many skills useful in entry-level jobs across either degree level. The following are some of the skills general studies students should pay attention to during their coursework.
A general studies degree can lead to a wealth of job opportunities. From forecasting market trends to helping an organization run smoothly, there are numerous options available for just about any skill set. Here are a few possibilities for general studies graduates to consider.
Administrative service managers are typically charged with planning and coordinating support services for an organization. Their responsibilities can vary, but usually include supervising facilities and records, managing personnel, planning budgets and overseeing maintenance. In small organizations, those in this position may be referred to as business office managers and they tend to deal with all aspects of the role. Larger organizations might need more than one manager to handle the work.
Most administrative services manager careers begin with a bachelor's degree, although the education required often depends on the job responsibilities. For example, a small business might hire someone with a few college courses under their belt, but a large organization might seek out those with a wealth of experience and credentials.
By staying up-to-date on the state of the consumer market, market research analysts can help companies understand what consumers may want from a potential product or service. Their work includes monitoring sales trends; measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns; collecting data from consumers through polls, surveys and the like; analyzing the results and providing sound advice to clients and managers. The result of all this research is learning what consumers want and expect, who might buy a particular service or produce, and at what price.
Market research analyst careers typically demand a bachelor's degree and exceptional math and analytical skills. Those who want to pursue top-notch positions may need a master's degree to compete effectively.
Those who work in sales are in the business of persuasion — of selling a product or service to clients such as businesses, government agencies or consumers. Sales representatives are usually expected to know a product or service extremely well, then use that knowledge to tout the benefits to potential buyers. They explain the features, answer any questions and negotiate prices. They may also work to identify customers who might benefit from the product or service, contact them with information, prepare contracts and submit orders for processing.
Educational requirements vary depending upon what is being sold. If the product or service is in a technical niche, a bachelor's degree is usually required. Otherwise, a high school diploma can be enough to get started, although having an associate or bachelor's degree may improve job prospects. Most companies provide formal in-house training.
Sometimes known as executive administrative assistants, executive secretaries work with top leaders in an organization. They often have complex responsibilities, such as reviewing documents, conducting research, preparing reports and supervising other high-level staff.
An executive secretary aims to ensure the smooth running of their office. They usually answer calls, take messages, set appointments, arrange meetings, handle correspondence, maintain databases and filing systems, and sometimes serve as the "gatekeeper" who arranges the schedules of top executives.
There is no set educational requirement for executive secretaries, although most have already worked as a secretary or administrative assistant for several years. However, employers are increasingly impressed with those who have taken some college courses or earned their bachelor's degree.
General studies touches on many different disciplines. If you find that you'd rather focus on one of those disciplines specifically, it may be helpful to check out our pages on those subjects: