2021 Best Online Associates in General Studies Degrees

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An online associates in general studies enables you to advance your professional skill set and can open up a range of career opportunities in a variety of industries.

Online Associates in General Studies Degrees

A general studies program allows you to study a multitude of essential topics and offers the flexibility to structure your educational journey based on your future career goals.

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If you are unsure of what you want to study following high school, an associate degree in general studies can let you explore numerous options.

Online Associates in General Studies

If you have plans to pursue an advanced degree but are unsure of what field of focus interests you most, you might consider online associate degrees in general studies or liberal arts.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Often, these two associates degree titles are used synonymously, and both degrees can help prepare you to be a well-rounded, knowledgeable candidate for the workforce.

Online Associates in General Studies

Online Associates in General Studies

An online associate in general studies allows you to explore and gain foundational knowledge from a variety of courses that peak your interest. This degree path can also help prepare you for entry-level jobs upon graduation.

You can build your written and oral communication skills and your critical thinking methods. You can also have the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of topics that interest you. You might be enrolled in introductory courses such as history, biology, social sciences, cultural studies, or mathematics.

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General studies can enable you to direct your programming in a way that is geared toward your career goals. Because you’re likely to gain a variety of knowledge and soft skills through an Associate of General Studies, you may be an attractive candidate to employers.

Graduates may pursue roles such as general manager, administrative assistant, retail sales agent, customer service representative, or public relations representative.

Online Associates in Liberal Arts

Online Associates in Liberal Arts

Most individuals who pursue an associates degree in liberal arts have plans to continue their education after their program is complete.

This associate’s degree can help you strengthen your critical thinking and communication skills. These versatile skill sets can be valuable following your degree. A liberal arts program analyzes real-world issues while encouraging you to design and formulate clearly reasoned responses and solutions to these issues.

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If you don’t intend to go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, you may find yourself in a range of entry-level positions. Common associate-level positions include administrative assistant, food service manager, information clerk, or copywriter, just to name a few.

While the coursework of an associates degree in liberal arts is broad, it is generally focused on humanities, social sciences, history, science, mathematics, and technology studies.

General Studies Careers and Salaries

General Studies Careers and Salaries

An associate’s degree in general studies can help prepare you with the core skills that can make you a knowledgeable researcher, analytical and critical thinker, and professional communicator. With a general studies associate’s degree, you can pursue the coursework that aligns with your career goals.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are some jobs that graduates may pursue following their general studies degree.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Sales Managers $132,290
Legal Support Workers $59,540
Funeral Service Workers $58,170
Food Service Managers $56,590
Desktop Publishers $47,560
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks $42,410
First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers $41,580
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $40,990
Information Clerks $36,920
Dietetic Technicians $30,110

As you can see, the career options for the field of general studies can be very diverse in both industry focus and salary earnings. The jobs that you can qualify for will also depend on how you arrange your course selection to gain certain skill sets.

General Studies Associate’s Curriculum & Courses

General Studies Associate’s Curriculum

A general studies associate’s degree can be tailored to your interests and future career goals. A benefit of this degree is that you can take a broad range of classes and gain a foundational understanding in a variety of subject matter.

Here are some courses you may encounter during your associate’s degree programming:

  • Introduction to Sociology: You’ll gain a foundational understanding of human society and how they are structured, function, and can be changed and influenced by external factors.
  • Food and Nutrition: You’ll learn about the science behind food and eating as well as how our habits can be impacted by nutritional changes and wellness changes.
  • English: This is a college-level writing course where you’ll learn professional composition skills and learn various writing types. You’ll also learn advanced critical reading skills.
  • Math for Business: You’ll learn about math concepts that are applied in business settings and about tools used in areas like accounting or finance.
  • Marketing: This basics course teaches you foundational knowledge in business marketing. You can develop your digital and social media skills and your understanding of branding and business growth.
  • Psychology: This general course covers a basic understanding of humans and studying how they respond and behave in their environment. This course can help you develop extensive research skills.
  • Communications: Through this course, you can learn how to communicate effectively and with great impact, using a variety of techniques and strategies, depending on the real-world situation that requires your input.
  • American History: This course looks at the development and impact of the US on a global scale, as well as its expansion and great events.
  • Introduction to Philosophy: You can gain a basic understanding of philosophical methods, writers, and questions focused on morality and ethics. This course can strengthen your reasoning skills.
  • Human Resources: This introductory course teaches you basic management skills, employment and recruitment processes and techniques, and general HR knowledge.

The courses in these associate’s degree programs can vary greatly, and what you choose to take may depend on your own passions and needs. You can often tailor your educational path to your career goals.

Admissions Requirements

Associates in General Studies Degrees admissions

Many colleges that offer an online associates degree in general studies want to make it easier to apply to their programming. Some even offer an open-door admission, meaning there is no application fee or requirements to meet.

There are schools, though, that have admissions requirements that need to be met. Here are a few you may encounter when you’re looking to apply for an associates degree in general studies:

  • SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
  • High school or GED transcripts
  • Personal essay
  • Minimum GPA, typically 2.0 or higher

It’s strategic to research the individual application requirements for the school that interests you.

Accreditation

Associates in General Studies Degrees accreditation

Many people believe accreditation is essential only for transferring credits. So, they don’t always understand the importance since an associate’s degree in general studies is often a non-transferable program. There are actually a variety of other reasons why accreditation is critical.

For instance, if you wish to pursue a career following your degree, employers often check to ensure your degree is from an accredited institution. Regional accreditation ensures that your degree is credible, adheres to high-quality educational standards, and meets an accrediting organization’s recognition criteria.

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Before selecting your program, you can check to see if your school is accredited by visiting the US Department of Education’s website. 

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Associates in General Studies Degrees financial aid

There are numerous professional associations that offer scholarship or funding opportunities to qualifying students who are pursuing associate degrees.

Some of these organizations include the American Association for Women in Community Colleges and the GEICO Pathway to Completion program. It can be beneficial for you to research any cost-saving opportunities available to you.

Upon applying to your school of choice, you may be offered scholarship or credit from your college due to your grades in high school. In addition, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can determine your eligibility for federal aid, state aid, and other need-based financial aid.

General Studies Professional Organizations

General Studies Professional Organizations

Joining a professional organization is not mandatory, but there can be a number of benefits. For instance, you may open yourself up to networking opportunities and various resources.

Here are a few professional organizations you may want to consider joining following your associate’s degree in general studies.

These professional organizations may also host conferences and have award programs for their members.

What Is a General Studies Associate Degree?

General Studies Associate Degree

A general studies associate degree is a strategic degree option for students who are unsure of what field to study and dedicate themselves to.

This program helps you develop critical thinking skills and general knowledge in a variety of subject matters. You can build a professional skill set to prepare you for the workforce, or you can plan to continue toward a bachelors degree.

An associates in general studies is a well-rounded degree that can help prepare you for entry-level work in a variety of industries.

What Can You Do with an Associates Degree in General Studies?

Associates Degree in General Studies careers

A general studies associate’s degree can help you gain a well-rounded foundation of knowledge and versatile skills. As a result, this degree can be applicable to opportunities in a variety of fields.

Because you can tailor the degree to your interests and career goals, there can be a number of potential career paths available to you following your degree. Some entry-level positions include funeral service worker, legal support worker, bookkeeper, or administrative assistant.

Is an Associates Degree in General Studies Good?

Yes, an associates degree in general studies is good for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that additional education can lead to higher wages and lower unemployment. There’s only a 2.7% unemployment rate for associate’s degree holders.

On average, those with an associate degree earn roughly $7,000 more annually than those who only have a high school diploma (Bureau of Labor Statistics). A general studies degree can also be designed according to your interests and long-term goals.

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You might intend to find work or pursue more school following your associate’s degree in general studies. Either way, this degree can help you build the necessary foundational knowledge and skills.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online General Studies Associate Degree?

If you are enrolled in a full-time, 16 week semester program, it will generally take you around 2 years to earn your general studies associate degree online.

If you plan to accelerate your program through summer enrollment or by taking more courses through your online program, you may finish in less time. In addition, some high school AP credits or former college credits may be transferable toward the program, which could also shorten the length of time it takes to complete.

What’s the Difference Between an AA vs. AS in General Studies?

AA vs. AS in General Studies

There are a few notable differences between an A.A. in General Studies, and an A.S. in General Studies:

  • AS in General Studies: An Associate of Science degree typically has a narrower focus, with more courses focused on math and science.
  • AA in General Studies: An Associate of Arts degree consists of broader studies, generally with classes that touch on nearly every field.

While most general studies associate degrees have foundational courses, it’s usually the electives that determine whether you’re headed toward an AA or an AS certification.

What’s the Difference Between an Associate’s Degree in General Studies vs. General Education?

Associate’s Degree in General Studies vs. General Education

Although these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are a few differences between an associates in general studies and an associates in general education that are worth noting:

  • General education: An associates in general education usually touches upon all course topics, often building a foundation toward a bachelor’s program.
  • General studies: For a general studies program, you typically pick a focus of interest, and your courses are geared toward that interest. This type of associate degree can help you develop more field-focused skills, potentially leading to entry-level jobs.

To determine which is best for you, it can help to consider your plans after earning your associate’s degree.

Is an Associates Degree in General Studies Worth Anything?

Associates Degree in General Studies

Yes, an associates degree in general studies can be worthwhile for many professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that graduates with an associates degree experience less unemployment and tend to find work in entry-level positions.

This degree can also prepare you with professional skills and knowledge that you wouldn’t have otherwise gained in your high school education. The flexibility of this program allows you to plan and organize your degree according to your goals.

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Earning a general studies degree is a unique educational experience that may lead to work in a variety of industries upon graduation.

Universities Offering Online Associates in General Studies Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

American Public University System

American Public University campus

American Public University System offers an online program for an Associate of Arts in General Studies. Students must complete 60 credits to graduate and can transfer in up to 45 qualifying credits. Classes start monthly and range from 8 to 16 weeks long. Applicants must have a high school diploma or an equivalent degree and may apply online.

APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University campus

Arkansas State University offers an Associate of General Studies online degree program. To graduate, students must complete 60 credit hours, with up to 35 credit hours of electives. Applicants must submit official high school transcripts and have a GPA of 2.75. Official test scores need to be sent to the school.

Arkansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University campus

Campbellsville University offers an Associate of Science in General Studies. The program consists of classes that are 8 weeks long and typically takes 2 years to complete. To graduate, students must obtain 64 credit hours. Those interested in the program may apply online with official transcripts from any schools attended.

Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

City University of Seattle

City University of Seattle campus

City University of Seattle offers an Associate in General Studies. Students may complete the 90 credits required to graduate online.

The online program is run through FlexCourse, which allows students to have a 1-on-1 learning experience at their own pace. Accepted students may start at the beginning of each quarter. Applicants should meet with an academic advisor before applying online.

The City University of Seattle is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University campus

Eastern Kentucky University offers an online program for an Associate in General Studies. Students must complete 60 credit hours to graduate and may transfer in up to 49 qualifying credit hours. Each course is 8 weeks long. Applicants must have a high school GPA of 2.0 or higher to be considered for the program.

Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Georgia Military College

Georgia Military College campus

Georgia Military College offers an online Associate in General Studies program. Students must complete 70 to 73 quarter hours from courses in Communication and Quantitative skills, Institutional skills, Humanities, Natural Science, and Social Sciences. Those interested in the program may apply online with their official high school transcripts.

Georgia Military College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University campus

Louisiana State University offers an online Associate of General Studies. Students must complete 60 credit hours, including 21 elective credits, within 2 years.

To graduate, students need to take a certain number of courses in English, math, and the humanities. Applicants may apply online and are required to submit their high school transcripts and their ACT test scores.

Louisiana State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Touro University Worldwide

Touro University Worldwide campus

Touro University Worldwide offers an online program for an Associate in General Studies. The program can often be completed in a year and requires 60 credit hours to graduate. Each course is 8 weeks long. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a high school GPA of 2.0 or higher and must pass an English and math placement exam.

Touro University Worldwide is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

University of South Dakota

University of South Dakota campus

The University of South Dakota offers an online Associate of Arts in General Studies program. The program is designed to help students reach the general education requirements for a bachelor’s degree from any South Dakota public university. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.6 or higher from high school and an ACT score above 21.

The University of South Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Toledo

University of Toledo campus

The University of Toledo offers an online program for an Associate in General Studies. The program requires 61 credit hours to graduate and can typically be completed in 2 years. Those interested in the program may apply online and must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Official high school transcripts need to be sent to the school when applying.

The University of Toledo is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your General Studies Associate’s Degree Online

General Studies Associate’s Degree Online

An online associates degree in general studies can be a strategic stepping stone into entry-level positions in a variety of industries. It can also help you build a foundation of knowledge for continuing down the path of higher education.

A general studies associate’s degree can be designed according to your passions and your goals. In addition, the flexibility of an online degree in general studies program can allow you to schedule your coursework around your professional and personal life.

If you’re interested in earning an associates degree in general studies, you can start exploring online programs from accredited universities today.

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Claudia Amendola Alzraa
WRITTEN BY
Claudia Amendola Alzraa
Claudia has a Master's in Library and Information Studies, a Bachelor's in Education, and a Bachelor's with Honors in English and Philosophy. With a history working in Special Education, Claudia is an advocate for diversified and equitable education, and student success initiatives.