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Associate of Arts Degree Program in General Studies Overview

Majors Overview December 25, 2013

This program allows students to choose the courses they feel are required for their goals. It also provides students with a general educational basis and prepares students for a four-year program.

Associate of Arts (AA) Programs in General Studies

Students who are not sure about what careers they wish to pursue could benefit by enrolling in an Associate of Arts in General Studies program that would enable them to earn an open-ended degree while completing core coursework. Graduates can either seek entry-level jobs or choose to continue their learning by ensuring that the specific courses or programs they choose are transferable to the 4-year school of their choosing for further education.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria in some community colleges offering two-year Associate of Arts programs do not require either a GED certificate or high school diploma from applicants seeking enrollment. Applicants may be required to prove their relevant skills by submitting placement essays; schools may bypass the conditions for those who don’t satisfy them after assigning remedial classes as needed to assist these candidates.


Coursework in an Associate of Arts in General Studies program stresses broad-based educational courses. Students are helped to develop strong critical-thinking and communication skills even as they synthesize knowledge from multi-disciplinary courses that may include topic areas such as:

•English composition
•U.S. history
•College algebra
•Lab science
•Foreign language

Career Choices

Many students enrolled in Associate of Arts programs in General Studies choose to continue their education by enrolling in a baccalaureate program. Those who choose not to continue their education can seek entry-level careers in various fields. In 2007, associate degree program graduates earned an average annual wage, exceeding that earned by high school diploma holders by $10,000 (source: National Center for Higher Education Management Systems).

Continuing Education Choices

Students enrolled in many general studies programs are helped with discovering their career goals and choosing a goal for additional training or education. They may choose to enroll in a short certificate program or bachelor’s degree program depending on their niche career goals. Those who successfully graduate from an associate’s degree program may opt for certifications, internships or vocational training as needed within their potential career choice. Advisors in schools that offer strong counseling services may assist the student in deciding on their future career path and the necessary steps he/she would have to complete to accomplish it.

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