Individuals who’ve begun to explore the job market realize how important it is to obtain a well-rounded, diversified education. Perhaps this is why so many students opt for a degree program centered in general or liberal studies. Both paths provide an excellent education that produces graduates with a deep understanding of social issues and the arts and sciences.

The terms “general studies” and “liberal arts” or “liberal studies” are often used synonymously. Depending on the college or university, coursework may include literature, the arts, computer science, social science, math, science, public speaking, history, philosophy and more. Many programs allow students to concentrate in a specific area such as art, teaching or business.

General Studies

The benefit of choosing a degree in general studies is that it offers the opportunity to explore and then hone interests, while simultaneously preparing students for careers in a wide array of settings. General studies students develop stronger written and verbal communication skills, increase literacy and math skills, bolster critical thinking methods and gain a broader knowledge base of a number of interesting subjects. Courses are offered in communication, critical thinking, math, physical and biological sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences, cultural studies, history and information literacy.

With an associate degree in general studies, graduates are qualified for many entry-level positions in sales, banking and customer service, among many other fields. In addition, they’re prepared to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Liberal Studies

Like general studies, liberal arts or liberal studies coursework covers a wide range of topics to prepare graduates for work in a number of exciting fields. Those who choose liberal studies are prepared to pursue a bachelor’s degree in their chosen field such as health care, business or law.

Salary Potential

Perhaps the most tangible benefit of earning an associate degree is increased earning potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that those who hold an associate degree earn an average of $798 per week, or $120 more than those with only a high school diploma. This earning potential translates into better opportunities not only for graduates but also for their families.