Best Online Associate in General Studies

Best Online Associate in General Studies

Find top-ranked online associate degrees in general studies programs to prepare you for a number of entry-level jobs ranging including customer service, retail management, research assistance, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • An associate degree can greatly increase your salary over someone who has a high school diploma alone.
  • Many students go on to earn a bachelor’s degree.
  • The versatile general studies degree prepares graduates for entry-level jobs such as customer service, retail management, research assistance, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions About General Studies Degrees

Why get an associate degree?

Associate degrees are a great alternative to a traditional four-year bachelor’s degree. An associate degree can be earned in half the time and can help to advance your career and boost your earning potential.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earning an associate degree can increase your salary by more than $8000 over someone who has a high school diploma alone.

And the cost of an associate degree is around $3500 per year, while the average tuition for a bachelor’s degree at a public college or university sits at around $9000 per year.

However, if you want to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree can also be a great stepping stone towards earning that next degree.

In fact, many community colleges have transfer agreements with nearby public and state colleges that make the prospect of continuing on towards higher education as painless as possible.

Even better, many regionally accredited colleges now offer degree programs online, ensuring that students receive a high quality education with the convenience of an online program.

Why get an online associate degree in general studies?

Online students earning an associate degree in general studies can help students explore a variety of disciplines and career paths while also working toward a versatile degree.

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How long does it take to get an associate degree in general studies?

In about two years, students earning associate degrees in general studies can complete the required 60 credits either online or in person.

If you have your high school diploma and are wondering how to pay for college, check out our handy Guide to Financial Aid in Higher Education.

In fact, we have a number of financial aid resources available to help you navigate towards earning your associate degree:

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What kind of courses are required to get an associate degree in general studies?

During their studies, online students will take courses in math, computer science, fine arts, social science, and humanities. Many programs will also require you to earn credits through elective courses in areas like marketing, business, criminal justice, and education, all to the end of gaining a well-rounded educational experience.

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What can I do with an associate degree in general studies?

Graduates of general studies degree programs will be prepared for a number of entry-level jobs ranging including customer service, retail management, research assistance, and more. Associate degrees in general studies are also a great starting point for those who will go on to pursue a four-year undergraduate degree in a wide variety of disciplines.

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Best Online Associate in General Studies Degree Programs

Best Online Associate Degree in General Studies Programs

  1. #1

    Pace University

    New York , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/24

    Online Degrees

    AA in General Studies

    Concentrations

    • Degree Completion
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    AA in General Studies Degree Completion
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1116/24

    Online Degrees

    AGS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  3. Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/23

    Online Degrees

    AA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  4. #5

    Golden Gate University

    San Francisco , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Student body

    1K

    Online Degrees

    AA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  5. #6

    Andrews University

    Berrien Springs , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/25

    Online Degrees

    AA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 62
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    7K

    Online Degrees

    AA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  7. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/23

    Online Degrees

    Associate in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #10

    Regent University

    Virginia Beach , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    Online Degrees

    AA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Online Degrees

    AS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  10. #12

    Montgomery College

    Rockville , MD

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    14K

    Online Degrees

    AA in General Studies

    Concentrations

    • Technology
    • Communication And Languages
    • Humanities
    • Arts
    • Social Sciences
    • Administration And Health
    • Engineering And Math
    • Science
    • Technology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #13

    New England College

    Henniker , NH

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    4K

    Online Degrees

    AA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  12. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1142/24

    Online Degrees

    AA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 39-43
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/20

    Online Degrees

    AA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  14. #16

    Columbia College

    Columbia , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    7K

    Online Degrees

    Associate in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. #17

    Arkansas Tech University

    Russellville , AR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    9K

    Online Degrees

    AS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  16. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/21

    Online Degrees

    AA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  17. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    7K

    Online Degrees

    AA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  18. Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/20

    Online Degrees

    AA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 64
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  19. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    30K

    Online Degrees

    AS in General Studies

    Concentrations

    • Health Science
    • Required Credits: 60-62
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  20. #24

    King University

    Bristol , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1097/22

    Online Degrees

    AA in General Studies

    Concentrations

    • General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 20 months
    • Format: Online
  21. #25

    Albertus Magnus College

    New Haven , CT

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/19

    Online Degrees

    AA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?

If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.

In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).

While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities-educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Online College-Bound Students

Whether you’re just getting started on your college search, you’re looking for survival tips on your way to a bachelor’s degree, or you’re preparing for the transition into grad school, we’ve got guides, how to’s and tons of other valuable resources to keep you moving forward in your educational journey.