What is an accelerated online general studies degree and why in the world would I get one?
It is the question everybody has.
A general studies degree allows you to explore different interests, classes and majors without being stuck following one track. Typically, you do have to choose a major or concentration such as:
- Criminal Justice
- Legal Studies
- Computer Information Technology
- Healthcare Administration
While pursuing your general studies degree you can explore any of these different fields. Give yourself an idea of what sparks your passion.
But you won’t find many job opportunities that list “General Studies” as a degree requirement. A major in one of the above fields will allow you to start out at an entry level position with many companies. Or make sure you get good grades in your general studies degree and get admitted to a specialized degree program or apply for graduate school.
A bachelor’s degree in general studies is your stepping stone, either into another bachelor’s degree, into an entry level position or into graduate school.
But that doesn’t mean that you must slowly work your way through a 4-year general studies degree while wasting $1000s of dollars on tuition.
You can explore the different areas of study while earning a bachelor’s degree in much less time and for a fraction of the usual tuition cost. This stepping stone could be the start of your career. You are the one who decides which direction you want to take after!
Accelerated General Studies Degree Programs Overview
A general studies degree can give you the skills you need to work in any industry. You can learn how to be a:
- Problem solver
- Good writer
- Confident public speaker
- Competent manager
- Strong decision maker
These skills are transferrable to whatever career path you choose. Your wide range of knowledge and classes can give you the tools you need to go far in your career.
A general studies degree (also known as an interdisciplinary degree) can involve up to 42 credits of core competency classes, 48 credits focused on your major and 30 hours of free electives.
It is like a choose your own adventure degree! There are 26 classes that you get to decide what you want to study.
You could be taking classes in:
- Aviation Safety
- Marriage and Family Therapy
- Business Leadership
- Social Media Management
- Computer Science
- Fashion Design
- Criminal Justice
- Athletic Training
- Global and Intercultural Communications
These classes sound very random and unconnected but that means you are in charge of creating your own path. A general studies degree could be a perfect fit for the entrepreneur and self starter in you.
Consider if you wanted to open your own fitness gym. You could major in business, athletics and management.
Careers with an Accelerated General Studies Degree
The career you will get with an accelerated general studies degree will be the one you make. It can be whatever you choose. You have the opportunity in your studies to match your interests and your goals in a very self-directed way.
Your top 3 areas of studies will determine (and let you figure out!) what career is a good fit for you. Or prepare you for multiple careers in your lifetime. According to Career Change Statistics the average person will change careers 5-7 times in their lifetime. Sometimes even changing jobs every 12 months. A general studies degree gives you the flexibility to reinvent yourself for each new career.
Some of the possible careers and salaries will give you an idea of where you might want to start once you have your degree.
|Account Director|| |
|Editorial Director|| |
|Marketing Director|| |
|International Sales Manager|| |
|Brand Manager|| |
|Media Relations Manager|| |
|Public Relations Manager|| |
|Copy Editor|| |
|Content Writer|| |
|Administrative Services Manager|| |
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Remember with any career you start, you don’t immediately walk into a manager/director position (and the $90,000 paycheck). That is a position that you will earn through experience and hard work.
Other tips for making your general studies degree more valuable would be to add skills/classes in marketing, sales, business, social media, graphic design, data analysis, computer programming, IT, communications, management, research and operations.
No matter what career you take these classes help you to be ready for almost any role. You might even go on to a master’s degree to advance your career and you could be looking at a satisfying career of your making.
Accelerated General Studies Degree Programs Offer Year-Round Admissions
Are you getting the idea that a general studies degree is all about doing what works best for you? Then you are on the right track. This even counts for when you start your degree.
Almost all online colleges and universities will offer you start dates for your general studies degree every month. Instead of waiting for September to roll around to start you first class, you could register for a class today and be starting this month.
Accelerated General Studies Degree Programs Online – Accelerated Classes vs. Self-Paced Classes
You want to get the most out of your classes but that doesn’t mean that you must take your classes slowly. There are 2 options that can help you to fast track your classes and complete your degree at a faster pace than you might have thought.
- Accelerated classes
- Self-paced classes
Both are online, and both are fast. But which one works best for you depends on what type of learner you are.
An accelerated class operates like a traditional classroom course. The school gives you a start date, end date and assignment due dates that you must keep pace with. But the difference is that the class schedule is twice as fast.
A self-paced class removes all the deadlines and course restrictions of a traditional class. You register for the full semester and can complete as many classes as possible. That’s right. There is no class schedule, you set your own pace.
Option 1: Accelerated Online General Studies Classes
Do you remember how classes work? It’s a bit of a painful process to be honest. You register for the class and have no control over when the class runs. You must rearrange your life and work schedule to make the class work. You spend hours over the next 16 weeks commuting to class, sitting in class and completing the coursework. Painful.
An accelerated online class allows you to cover the exact same material, but the class is done twice as fast. In only 6-8 weeks. You might have the same professor, class material and assignments but all the work is done online. In half the time.
All those hours you would have spent commuting can now be invested in completing your classwork from your nice cozy couch. Of course, once you finish the first class you just register for another one and keep checking off your classes.
Option 2: Self-Paced Online General Studies Classes
An accelerated class works well if you need structure and guidance. But if you are a go-getter who can motivate yourself better than a class schedule than self-paced classes might be a better fit.
Universities like Capella and other online universities give you the option of registering for a 12-week semester for a one-time fee. During that semester you have access to the course material and will have assignments, projects or exams to write that prove you have covered the material.
How many classes you complete is up to you! You could plan to lock yourself away for a weekend and complete an entire class.
Types of Accelerated General Studies Degree Programs
A general studies degree is exactly that, a degree in that allows you to generally choose what you want to study. Typically, your degree goes by the names:
- Bachelor of General Studies
- Bachelor of Liberal Arts
- Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
While completing your degree you may choose to major in any one of these fields (or even another one!):
- Criminal Justice
- Legal Studies
- Computer Information Technology
- Healthcare Administration
Each general studies degree is as unique and individual as the person completing the degree. You get to make your own degree.
3 Ways to Accelerate Your General Studies Degree Even More
One of the best ways to make your own degree is to put yourself in charge of how you complete your degree. Don’t feel that a good education requires you to put in the maximum amount of time and money. You can choose to receive a good education in half the time and for $1000s less than what a typical student will pay.
Most bachelor’s degrees will require at least 120 credits, a Bachelor of General Studies is no different. But with at least 30 of the credits being free electives and 42 credits being your core competency credits you have lots of freedom in how you earn those credits.
1. Test out of college classes (up to 1 year)
You can earn your entire first year of introductory classes by testing out of the class. Most universities will allow you to take up to 30 credits through Credit by Exam. The College Level Examination Program has a registry of 33 examinations covering topics like:
– composition and literature
– world languages
– history and social sciences
– science and mathematics
You can register to take the exam, which involves 90 multiple choice questions. You have 90 minutes to finish the exam, if you get 50% of the questions right than you pass and walk out with 3 college credits.
Seriously, the fastest and easiest way to earn credit for all the introductory classes.
2. Get college credit for your life and work experience
The other no-brainer for earning credit without taking the classes is to apply for Credit for Prior Learning. Check with your university but you can most likely earn 15 credits by submitting a portfolio.
Your portfolio would outline your life and work experience and how that meets the core competencies for any of the courses available for your degree.
In your portfolio you would list your training, credentials, experiences and letters of reference. You can earn credit for classes such as computer systems, management, composition and administration. That portfolio can earn you a whole semester of credit! So, do this.
3. Stay continuously enrolled with max course load
Do you want to be done your degree faster than usual? Than you will have to earn your credit faster than usual. Credit by Exam and Credit for Prior Learning will take you far. You could earn 45 credits before you even enter a classroom (online or traditional). But once you start taking classes you can take a heavier course load than the usual 15 credits.
Your university will most likely allow you to take 18 credits in both the fall and winter semesters. You can also maximize the summer months and take another 18 credits. In 12 months you can complete 54 credits. 18 months has you at 81 credits. You add in the 45 credits you earned through Credit by Exam and Credit for Prior Learning and…ta-da!
A 4-year 120 credit degree in general studies is yours.
Transferring Your Existing College Credits
A general studies degree is almost made for transferring your existing college credits. Those spots for 30 free elective credits can easily be filled by ANY college credit that you earned in the past.
You only need to check 2 things:
- That the college that you earned your credit at was accredited
- You earned a minimum grade of C in the class.
That’s all! With the space available for free electives you can transfer in 2 full semesters of credit as electives and even up to 60 credits of that match your major.
Lower Tuition Costs
A degree in general studies will often be less expensive than a specialized degree but tuition will still cost you $1000s. Tuition is always the biggest expense in getting a post-secondary degree. You can save yourself thousands of dollars by using the time-saving tips you just read.
Credit by Exam and Credit for Prior Learning will not only save you years off your degree but can save you big money.
120 credits earned through the University of South Florida online campus costs you $347 for each credit hour. Your degree will cost you at least $41,640! That’s $1000+ for each class you take.
If instead you submitted a portfolio for credit and earned the full 15 credits for $1500, you are paying a 1/3 of the price per credit
Cost Of General Studies Degree
|Ways To Earn Credit||Number Of Credits||Total Cost|
|Attend University of South Florida||120||$41,640|
|Attend Harvard University Extension Program||128||$49,600|
|Attend Liberty University||120||$46,800|
|College Level Examination Program |
Credit for Prior Learning
Remaining classes at Liberty University
By skipping out of class and choosing to make best use out of the time saving programs you can save $15,000 off your tuition no matter what school you attend. How can that be wrong? It’s not.
General Studies Degree Accreditation
Accreditation means that the school you are attending has met the standards of an accrediting board that has reviewed the curriculum, faculty and research. It is the golden stamp of approval that proves to future employers and grad schools that your degree is valid.
A general studies degree will not have specific program accreditation because it is not specific. Instead you will be looking for the school to have either regional or national accreditation. Some of the big names to look for at a national level are:
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
- Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
- Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
But national accreditation is not necessary, even regional accreditation is enough proof that your degree is acceptable.
An online general studies degree could be your stepping stone on your career path, no matter what field you want to pursue. Or if you don’t know what field to pursue!
You can make your own career, design your own degree and choose exactly how you complete your degree. There is no other degree that will give you this much flexibility!
Use this flexibility to test out of classes, take online classes and submit a portfolio. You can design a bachelor’s degree that will only take you 18 months and less than $40,000.
Then take your expanded skills and knowledge and wow the world with your innovative ideas!