General Studies Associate's Degree

Find out what earning an associate's degree in general studies could do for your future educational and employment options. Get information about classes offered and whether online study is available. Schools offering General Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a General Studies Associate's Degree?

A general studies associate's degree is a general degree that gives the students a base of knowledge and skills necessary to eventually move on to achieve a higher college degree, such as a bachelor's degree. You should consider an associate's degree in general studies if you plan on earning a bachelor's or master's degree in the future, but have not yet decided what field you would like to pursue.

One of the benefits of a general studies program is the opportunity to sample several different academic and occupational fields. This experience will help you realize what you find most interesting and what you would like to study in the future. Another benefit of an associate's degree in general studies is that the credits you earn typically transfer to 4-year schools, decreasing the time it will take you to earn a bachelor's degree.

Essential Info General studies associate's programs are often designed for transfer to 4-year schools; students can explore multiple fields
Common Courses Mathematics, composition, history, literature, biology and others
Learning Environments Traditional classroom and online degree programs are available
Potential Median Weekly Salary (2018)* $862 with an associate's degree

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Classes Will I Take?

The classes that you take in a general studies program will be basic and cover a wide range of topics. Some examples include:

  • Composition
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Biology
  • History

The purpose of these classes is two-fold. One aim is to help you figure out what area you would like to pursue as a major in a bachelor's degree program. The second aim is to help you develop all the skills you will need in a 4-year school, such as computer skills, math skills and writing skills.

Do I Have to Go to Campus?

Many schools offer general studies associate's degrees completely or partially online. One advantage of an online program is that your class schedule will typically be more flexible, allowing you to access course material and online lectures any time throughout the day. Another benefit is that many online courses include a class discussion thread online, allowing you to communicate with your fellow students about course assignments, projects or even theoretical topics discussed in a lecture. You should keep in mind that some schools still require you to come to campus for some classes or other extracurricular duties, such as registration, and you should check each school's requirements before enrolling.

How Will My Degree Help Me?

Earning your associate's degree can help you in several ways. One way is that it immediately makes you more likely to become employed and higher paid than those with only a high school diploma. According to a 2018 report by the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS), those with an associate's degree had an unemployment rate of almost three percent compared to about four percent for those with a high school diploma (

The other way that a general studies associate's degree can help you is by making it easier for you to earn a bachelor's degree or possibly even a master's degree. According to the same 2018 BLS report, those with a bachelor's degree earned a median weekly salary of $1,198 compared to $730 for those with only a high school diploma.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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