Is a General Studies Degree Right for You?

A bachelor’s degree in general studies is an ideal option for students who aren’t sure what career they want to pursue and want to get exposed to as many areas of study as possible. It’s also beneficial for professionals who need a degree to qualify for a promotion or a more advanced position at another company.

A general studies degree allows students a great deal of flexibility in deciding what courses to take, which is an advantage if they need a diverse skill-base to qualify for a certain job. For example, a general studies class allows you to develop practical skills, such as graphic design, technology, or accounting, as well as develop your analytical and critical thinking skills through courses in literature, history, political science, ethics, and more.

Advice for Earning Your General Studies Degree Online

General studies programs are available through online and campus-based programs. In some cases, general studies programs may be called “interdisciplinary studies” or “independent study”. However, some interdisciplinary studies programs may have a slightly more defined curriculum. General studies programs are unique because the curriculum is based on electives. You may have only 30 hours of general education and core courses, with as many as 50 to 60 hours of electives. While general studies is great for undecided majors looking for answers, it’s important to choose your electives carefully in order to bring defined skills to the workplace.

Required Courses

As stated, online General Studies degree programs allow you to design your curriculum. However, the school’s general education curriculum will still be required. General education classes will include introductory and survey courses from the humanities, social sciences, life sciences, mathematics, and more. Some required courses might include:

  • Survey of American Literature
  • United States Government
  • College Algebra
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Biology

Common Career Paths

Some potential careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in General Studies include:


  • Expected Growth: 21%
  • Average Annual Salary: $61,690

Corporations, organizations, and non-profits rely on lobbyists to promote their interests in political environments. The lobbyist is charged with steering legislation to benefit their employers. As a result, lobbyist must understand the legislative process, have strong negotiating skills, and an in-depth understanding of broad range of issue. They must often be present at meetings and hearings and many lobbyists live in capital cities in their state. The above salary and employment growth figures were gathered from the BLS.

Social Workers

  • Expected Growth: 25%
  • Average Annual Salary: $48,550

Social workers are trained to resolve a broad range of social issues. They provide micro-level services, in which they provide clinical care to individuals and families struggling with relational or mental health problems. They may also provide case management services, in which they connect clients with organizations and resources that meet their needs. Other social workers manage human and social services organizations, act as lobbyists and advocates, or pursue international social work practice.

A degree in general studies is useful in social work, as it provides a broad understanding of a range of topics and many social work graduate programs value a diverse or liberal arts undergraduate education. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

  • Expected Growth: 17%
  • Average Annual Salary: $54,105

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers plan lessons and curricula for students grades K-5. Many of them teach a variety of subjects, including reading and writing, language and grammar, arithmetic, history, art, science, and more. You must have at least a bachelor’s degree and be certified to teach in almost every state. However, actual job requirements may vary by grade and educational district. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Public Relations Managers and Specialist

  • Expected Growth: 21%
  • Average Annual Salary: $74,350

Public relations managers promote their clients’ businesses and manage their image in the public eye. They do this by garnering interviews, writing and circulating press releases, hosting events, and more. Many of their duties involve journalistic skills, except their opinions are subjective, rather than objective. Public relations professionals need strong writing and problem-solving skills, which can be developed in a general studies bachelor’s degree program. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Writers and Authors

  • Expected Growth: 6%
  • Average Annual Salary: $69,025

Writers and authors compose unique written material for a variety of outlets. Some write novels, articles, and screenplays, while others write website copy, press releases, brochures, and more. Many writers work for themselves on a freelance basis. As a result, the most successful writers will have natural writing talent but will also be skills and self-promotion. A general studies degree is a great way to become knowledgeable about a wide range of topics while also developing your writing skills. Figures above were provided by the BLS.


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