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What are the Benefits of a General Studies Degree?

Choosing the right major is a lot like choosing the right car. 

Both are big investments, and both boast an overwhelming amount of options. What is the best way to avoid overspending your time and money? Perhaps general studies programs can help you make the right choice and help you get where you want to go. 

What sets general studies apart?

"It offers a degree of flexibility not found in other programs," said senior academic advisor Joie Hendricks, from Columbia College Online Student Services. "The bachelor of general studies will have the same general education requirements as other degrees, but rather than having a prescribed list of major area core courses, the student will complete their degree by selecting elective courses in their areas of interests."

Because you can pick your core classes and elective classes in this program, you'll have more control over your schedule. The general studies major is also interdisciplinary, meaning you can take courses from several different departments. 

The means to get from point A to point B

If you know you need a degree, in any field, to get to the next step in your career, then general studies can be like that trusty, hardworking car that will get you from point A to point B. 

"A general studies degree is a good option for students when they don't need a specific major to meet employer qualifications," Hendricks said. "A general studies program is often a good option for military students too, as a lot of military training can transfer as elective credit that just wouldn't apply in a more prescribed degree."

The smart speedster

Sometimes, you just need to graduate fast.

If you're interested in earning a degree as soon as possible, general studies can be a great option. Because you can select electives from so many fields, it is less likely that you'll have to wait until the next term for a certain class to be offered. Instead, you can usually choose a different one instead. 

Hendricks says students with a lot of transfer credit who want to earn a degree as soon as possible are also good candidates for general studies programs. Because you can tailor your general studies degree around your existing transfer credits, you can craft a degree that maximizes the work you've already accomplished. 

The road trip explorer

If you're a student who doesn't have a convincing answer to the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" the general studies major can help you stay on track towards a degree while exploring a variety of fields.

"General studies is great for students who aren't sure of the field in which they wish to major," Hendricks said. 

Get the most mileage

To get the most mileage out of your degree, Hendricks has a few tips for general studies students. 

She recommends working with the Columbia College Career Services team to leverage the wide variety of experience the general studies degree offers. And don't forget about adding a minor! Hendricks recommends minors to enhances your degree and add marketable knowledge. 

Because the choice can be a big one, general studies can also be used to "test drive" future careers as you learn about the field through coursework. By keeping in mind where you want to go and how long you're willing to spend to get there, you decide if general studies is the right vehicle to carry you to graduation. 

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