For many people, attending college is a major milestone. Today, most of the top-paying careers in the United States require a college degree. And according to U.S. News, most families today consider college to be very important, with the biggest motivator being to get a better paying job. However, not everyone entering college knows what they want to do right away. As many as 50 percent of incoming undergraduate students enter college with an undeclared major. About 75 percent of students change majors during their time in college. If you are unsure what you want to study, you are not alone. If you value higher education and need time to explore potential fields, you may consider a general studies degree. What is general studies, exactly?
What is a General Studies Degree?
A general studies program embraces a broad-based education. Just as its name suggests, general studies does not focus on one specific major, like education or nursing. Rather, general studies is an overarching degree program that covers a range of skills needed for success within any given career. Within this type of program, students learn how to:
- Communicate effectively
- Think critically
- Interact in a multicultural environment
- Integrate knowledge from an array of disciplines, such as science, human services, and the arts, to name a few
In addition to teaching versatile skills (that can be applied to many different careers), a general studies degree enables students to earn college credits and complete general education courses while exploring their areas of interest. This, in turn, allows students to save money and time while deciding where to go next—whether that’s a four-year degree, a career path, or a vocation. Some of the general education courses offered in a general studies program include:
- Computer Literacy
- Social Science
- Public Speaking
Contrary to popular belief, however, the general studies degree is much more than a collection of courses from an array of subjects (as listed above). A robust general studies program will offer a carefully-curated, yet also flexible curriculum. Goodwin’s general studies program, for example, can be customized by each individual student. Students can explore multiple topics that interest them, or curate a range of classes that align with their career goals. These may include:
- Business Administration
- Criminal Justice
- Early Childhood Education
- Global Studies
- Health Science
- Homeland Security
Allowing students to curate their coursework can sometimes be more beneficial than a traditional degree program. It allows students to enhance their skill sets and knowledge base in a range of different subjects, and design a curriculum that supports their aspirational goals. For example, if a student wishes to open her own tutoring business, she may take classes in business and entrepreneurship, education, and writing/editing.
Is a General Studies Degree Right for You?
Students often like the versatility of a general studies degree. It allows you to explore your passions and learn about the subjects you find fascinating, even if they are completely different from the rest of your curriculum. You can customize your program to fit your interests and pursue a much broader range of courses than you would with another major specifically targeted toward a specific degree, such as Dentistry or Public Health. Both are great majors, but students who do not want to be pigeonholed toward one specific industry may prefer the diversity offered in a general studies program.
A general studies associate degree can be a great fit for anyone who wants to earn a college degree: recent high school graduates, those just starting their careers, those looking to advance in their career or current workplace, or even adults who want to change career paths. No matter where you are in life, general studies can help support your educational or professional goals. This type of program shows future employers that you are disciplined and committed to your success and future.
What Can General Studies Offer You?
In addition to a versatile skillset, the general studies major allows students to gain a solid understanding of which steps to take next. If you are ready to jump into the workforce right after graduation, you may find yourself pursuing a career in one of the following subjects. These are common fields that general studies graduates pursue after Goodwin:
- Business/ Business Administration
- Library Science
- Writing & Editing
You may also decide, upon graduation, that you would like to start your own business. Entrepreneurs find their passions after exploring multiple subjects, and often get the most diverse set of skills in taking this route.
Alternatively, you may wish to advance your education. Some graduates of the general studies degree program find they want to continue exploring a particular area of study. Did your health science classes grab your attention? Did a marketing class speak out to you? Do you feel called to work in a non-profit business, after learning about business operations? If there are courses that stood out to you in your general studies program, you may consider advancing towards a bachelor’s degree. An associate degree in general studies is a great steppingstone for this, as you will have already completed many of the required general education courses.
Whatever you decide to do, the sky is the limit with a broad degree program like that of general studies. If you are interested in learning more about general studies, do not hesitate to reach out to Goodwin University.
Gain the skills needed for success in a variety of different careers. Call Goodwin University at 800-889-3282 to learn more about our General Studies associate degree program or click here to request more information online.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.