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15 Best Online Colleges for General Studies in 2018

For the undecided college student, a degree in general studies is a popular choice – but just because it’s often seen as a last resort major doesn’t make it a bad one. The degree’s diverse curriculum can act as a springboard for further advanced study or careers in various fields like human resources, sales, or business management, which are expecting modest or above-average growth in the next few years. Human resources, for instance, is expected to grow by 22% between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Some schools also offer general studies programs to adults continuing their education as a flexible way to complete their degree requirements. Whatever the route, earning a general studies degree from an accredited college can help those seeking to enter the job force or further their studies.

General studies is commonly pursued either as an associate or bachelor’s degree. Courses cover a broad range of areas, from arts and humanities to social and natural sciences. As a result, it often can lead to further study at the graduate or professional level if the student discovers a specific area of interest. The degree also helps prepare graduates for their careers. Given its interdisciplinary nature and emphasis on developing communications, human relations, and leadership skills, general studies majors commonly find jobs in human resources, retail management, or sales. Indeed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a combination of courses in the social sciences, business administration, and behavioral sciences is a useful background for human resources, while a wide range of educational backgrounds is suitable for careers in advertising and marketing.

Beyond undergrad, general studies can also refer to a bachelor’s degree program geared toward adults who are looking to finish their degree after taking time off from their education. In such a setup, students can design their own curriculum to efficiently complete a bachelor’s degree without having to fulfill all the requirements of a specific discipline. A degree in general studies ultimately provides graduates with a broad knowledge base, helps develop critical learning and intellectual skills that they can continue to use throughout their lives, and encourages a broad perspective that’s open to other ways of thinking.

When choosing a general studies degree program, confirm that it is offered by an accredited college or university because this will allow you to transfer your credits should you switch schools, as well as enable you to pursue a higher degree level later on. In addition, employers typically only accept degrees from accredited institutions. Another important thing to consider is what types of classes your degree program offers. If there is a particular subject you wish to take, review your course requirements to ensure that your degree program offers it.


When we decided to rank the best colleges online, we strove to use a method and formula that would produce the most objective and fair results possible. All of our data is quantified and taken from authoritative and reliable sources, such as the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator tool, the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, and the official websites of the schools included in these rankings.


Rank School Name Average Rating
1 Southern New Hampshire University 6.67
2 Ottawa University 7.98
3 Fisher College 11.27
4 Schiller International University 13.14
5 Liberty University 13.53
6 National University 15.01
7 Columbia College 15.15
8 Ohio Christian University 15.56
9 Regent University 16.66
10 Champlain College 18.52
11 Granite State College 18.64
12 Grantham University 18.82
13 Walden University 20.11
14 Keiser University 20.33
15 Grand Canyon University 20.64

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