Is a General Studies Major for Me?

The Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) degree is an interdisciplinary degree designed for learners with specific learning and/or career goals that can be better accomplished through an individualized program of study than a traditional major.

As an interdisciplinary degree the BGS degree provides graduates with a broad base of knowledge that makes them marketable in a number of different professions.

BGS learners create individualized programs of study that directly apply to their personal and professional goals.

Note: Learners interested in the BGS degree will prepare a proposal for individualized program of study addressing the areas they wish to pursue and how they apply to their personal and/or professional goals. To access the proposal form, click Current Learners > Forms.

Program Outcomes

  1. The learner demonstrates that s/he has gained breadth and depth of key concepts and generally accepted theories and practices in the disciplines applicable to their program goal.
  2. The learner can demonstrate the ability to apply critical thinking to the completion of projects and case studies associated with their primary goals.
  3. The learner can demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of ethical reasoning in organizations.
  4. The learner can demonstrate an understanding of how to effectively lead people and processes in complex organizational settings.
  5. The learner can demonstrate the ability to produce documents which showcase an understanding of the use of technological tools.
  6. The learner can demonstrate the use of effective written communication skills.
  7. The learner can demonstrate competencies applicable to a preparation for a specific career path.

Required Core Courses

Foundation Courses

CORE101 Developing Academic and Professional Strengths
CORE110 Information Literacy
ENGL101 Composition I
ENGL102 Composition II
COM 125 Speech
Mathematics Requirement*
HUM 201 Ethics
COM 301 Professional Communication

Disciplinary Perspective Courses

Humanities (6 credits)
Natural Sciences/Mathematics (4 credits)
Social Sciences (6 credits)

Areas of Study (36 upper division credits)

2-3 approved areas of study (12+ credits each)
CAPS495 Senior Capstone

* MASC110 Statistics & Probability, or MASC115 College Algebra, or more advanced college credit bearing mathematics course requiring college algebra or higher as a prerequisite

Course Descriptions

CORE101 Developing Academic and Professional Strengths

How does higher education help create the type of person that businesses want to hire? Learners will explore the answer to this question, and in doing so, help lay the foundation for academic and professional success. Each learner will develop a core set of skills needed to be both an effective college student and a successful professional in the 21st-century workplace. Learners will develop and practice practical strategies with which to become more efficient and effective learners, while also developing higher-order learning skills to reflect on critical issues relevant to both academic and professional environments such as personal responsibility and ethics.

CORE110 Information Literacy

This course is designed to provide learners with the skills that are fundamental to becoming an information-literate professional who can locate, evaluate, organize and communicate information. The abundance and rapid flow of data requires skill development in the understanding of information resources, accessing information sources, determining the credibility of Internet information, logically organizing sources and finally presenting the information professionally.

ENGL101 Composition 1

This course helps learners develop writing skills that are transferable to any academic or workplace writing task. The course guides learners through the process of planning, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading academic and workplace writing. Learners will develop skills necessary to craft coherent sentences and paragraphs, to edit editing their writing for proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. They will learn about narrative structure and techniques as well as the elements of successful argumentation and persuasive discourse. This course also guides learners through every stage of the research process. Learners will develop a research plan, conduct research, organize and draft a research paper, and then revise, edit, and proofread that research paper.

ENGL102 Composition 2

This course builds on the thinking and writing skills introduced in Composition 1. Learners will write critical, argumentative essays based on their interpretations of nonfictional texts, including literary, film, and cultural texts, and in doing so, will recognize the role of rhetoric in the writing situation as they craft persuasive discourse. In doing so, they will learn methods of questioning, analyzing, and evaluating their own beliefs as well as the perceptions and perspectives of others. These methods of critical thinking are intended to improve the quality and organization of learners’ writing for any purpose, including academic and workplace purposes. In addition to writing essays, learners will develop more advanced research strategies, as well greater proficiency in APA style. Prerequisite: ENGL101.

COM 125 Speech

This course helps learners majoring in any discipline strengthen communication skills essential for success in academics and the workplace. Learners will focus on listening, evaluating, and delivering spoken discourse based on audience and purpose. Learners will evaluate why some people are more effective than others as public speakers, analyze speeches and audiences, study ethical considerations for speakers, research and organize findings on a topic, and present findings before an audience, and learn techniques for identifying and reducing speech anxiety.

MASC110 Statistics & Probability

This course acquaints learners with the tools and major components of statistics. Learners will apply technology to analyze data. The course also includes the foundational terminology and practices used in contemporary statistics, such as data collection, metrics, score interpretation, and experimental design. Additionally, this course will promote the skills that learners need to be able to take information from the world around them and use it to make sound decisions based on solid evidence.

MASC115 College Algebra

This course provides learners with the algebra, reasoning, and problem-solving skills needed for everyday life. The course focuses on simplifying expressions and solving equations in real-world situations using variables for unknowns. Learners will solve problems using algebraic principles and tools and then incorporate these mathematical concepts into realistic business, consumer, science, and statistical contexts.

HUM 201 Ethics

Ethics introduces learners to moral philosophy, the branch of philosophy that questions what is good and bad. The course surveys a number of important ethical theories—ethical relativism, objectivism, egoism, altruism, utilitarianism, duty-based moral theory, natural law, natural rights, and virtue ethics—as they examine reasons why certain actions are morally right or wrong. Learners will apply ethical theories in the evaluation and analysis of current controversial issues, question ethical matters from a variety of angles, and acquire new tools to assist them in making ethically sound, well-informed decisions throughout their lives.

COM 301 Professional Communication

This course prepares learners to communicate effectively in business settings by helping them develop their written and oral communication skills. The course focuses on traditional and Web-based forms of communication used in business today, including e-mail, letters, memos, reports, proposals, and presentations. The course teaches learners to plan, write, and revise communications for a variety of audiences and in different mediums. It also teaches learners to communicate with greater clarity, economy of language, and vigor, as well as how to communicate professionally with employees, customers, and hiring managers. Learners will participate in interactive online activities and complete real-world assessments that help them produce, evaluate, and improve their own written, oral, and multimedia communication skills.

CAPS495 Senior Capstone

Learners will be required to develop a professional portfolio that demonstrates their knowledge, skills, and abilities in their major discipline. Particular attention will be given to the presentation of evidence and artifacts from their major courses as well as recent research relevant to their major courses and their specific program outcomes. The purpose of the final portfolio project is to document learner achievement and to ensure learning outcomes are met. Additionally, learners will conduct research and report on career potentials within their major field, careers for which they are potentially most qualified, and a specific career and career path of interest resulting from their research. This project is both submitted individually and as a part of the professional portfolio. Both projects are required for successful course and degree completion. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all major courses.

All classes are 3 credit hours unless otherwise indicated.

Admission Requirements

Entering learners must have earned at least 6 college credits from previous college coursework or ACE evaluated military training, a GPA of 2.0, and have three years of work experience. Transfer hours accepted for Professional Studies admittance should include English Composition I and II, and mathematics (college algebra preferred). These courses may be considered in transfer or completed at Southwestern College.

With the assistance of an academic success coach, and with approval of the Chief Academic Officer, each learner will outline a plan of study incorporating a minimum of 21 hours from a combination of majors in addition to the 5 required foundation courses listed above. Learners will be required to fulfill the entrance requirements for Comp I, II, Math, General Education courses, and will complete CORE101 as their first course.

Contact an admissions counselor to evaluate your options.


Bachelor of General Studies online undergraduate major