What is a General Studies Degree?

general studies degree

If you like learning a little bit about a lot of things, a general studies degree might be for you! This type of degree lets you take classes in different subjects like history, science, writing, and even business.

It’s perfect for students who have lots of interests and want to explore different options before settling on just one. A general studies program also gives you lots of flexibility and helps you build the skills that many employers are looking for.

What Is General Studies?

A general studies program is all about exploring different subjects instead of focusing only on one thing. Think of it like a buffet where you get to sample lots of dishes instead of just eating a single meal. Regular degrees are more focused, like becoming an expert in history or learning all there is to know about computers.

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Someone might choose a general studies degree if they’re curious about a bunch of different things and don’t want to be limited. It’s also a great option for students who already have some college credits in different subjects and want to finish their degree by building on those.

What Classes Do You Take in a General Studies Degree?

A general studies program starts with the same basic classes that all college students need to take. This includes stuff like English, where you learn to write well, and math, where you practice problem-solving.

You might also take classes in science, like biology (the study of living things), or even a class about how the world and society work.

The really cool part about a general studies major is that a lot of your classes get to be electives. This means you get to choose what you want to learn about! Maybe you’ve always been curious about how businesses run—you could take a few business classes.

If you’re fascinated by the past, there are lots of history classes to pick from. Or, if you like figuring out how things work, you might learn about different areas of science. The possibilities are wide open!

Pros and Cons of a General Studies Degree

Picking a college major is a big decision! A general studies program has some great benefits, but it’s important to understand the downsides, too. Let’s look at the good and not-so-good parts of this degree before you decide if it’s right for you.


Customizable: You get to design your studies around what interests you.

Diverse skills: You learn about different subjects, making you a great problem-solver and communicator.

Good for transfers: If you started at one college and want to switch, a general studies major can help you use the credits you already have.


Not focused on one career: It doesn’t train you for a specific job like being a doctor or a teacher.

Might need more experience: You may have to show employers you have the right skills with internships or work experience, even with a degree.

A general studies degree can be awesome, but it’s not perfect for everyone. Think about what you want to get out of college and whether this type of degree fits your goals.

What Kinds of General Studies Degrees Are There?

General studies degrees don’t come in a one-size-fits-all package! There are different levels depending on how much time you want to spend in school and how specialized you want your knowledge to be.

Associate Degree (2 years)

This is like a basic version of a general studies degree. It’s great for getting a taste of different college subjects or if you want to transfer to a four-year college and continue studying for a more advanced degree. Most online community colleges offer an incredibly cheap general studies degree.

Bachelor’s Degree (4 years)

This degree goes much deeper into the subjects you choose. It’s perfect if you want a well-rounded education that can open doors to lots of different careers. There are a ton of cheap online state colleges that offer general studies degrees.

Master’s Degree

This is for people who want to become experts and get really high-level jobs. You might do a master’s in general studies if you already have a bachelor’s degree and want to learn even more.

Whether you want a quick introduction to college, a solid foundation for a future career, or even deeper expertise, there’s a general studies degree  out there that might be just what you need.

What Can You Do With a General Studies Degree?

Don’t worry, a general studies major doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck asking, “Do you want fries with that?” With this degree, you build amazing skills that employers in tons of different fields are looking for.

You become a super communicator, a creative problem-solver, and someone who understands how different parts of the world connect—perfect for making a difference!

Let’s break down a few areas where your general studies degree can shine:


Businesses need people who can understand customers, analyze information, and put together plans. A  general studies major can open doors to jobs in sales, where you get to persuade and help people, or as an analyst, where you make sense of numbers and data.

Social Sciences

Maybe you’re passionate about helping others and making your community a better place. With a general studies background, you could be a caseworker, supporting people through hard times, or work in social services, connecting people to resources they need.


Do you enjoy being creative and getting a message out to the world? Your communication skills from a general studies degree are perfect for public relations (PR), where you make companies look good, or advertising, where you convince people to try new things.

Remember, internships or volunteering while you’re in school can help you discover what you really love within a broad field. Even within your general studies degree, you can often focus on specific subjects that help you land the kind of job you dream about.

You’ve Got Options

A general studies degree means you’ve got plenty of options. It gives you the freedom to explore different subjects and build a variety of skills that you can use in lots of careers.

If you’re not totally sure what you want to do with your life yet, or you simply love learning about many different things, a general studies degree could be a great fit. Think of it as an exciting adventure where you get to build your own path!