Top online associate’s degrees in general studies programs are broad in scope, allowing students to explore an array of academic subjects at the post-secondary level. Typically, these programs fulfill the general education requirements of four-year universities, meaning students can enroll in a baccalaureate program as a junior. Since these offerings tend to be highly affordable, students can save a considerable amount of money by earning their associate’s in general studies online prior to completing their bachelor’s degrees. In this ranking, we explore the top ten online general studies associate’s programs.
The Best Online Associate’s General Studies Programs
1. Arkansas Northeastern University
2. River Parishes Community College
3. Fort Hays State University
4. Pima Community College
5. Cossatot Community College
6. Housatonic Community College
7. Genesee Community College
8. Southern Arkansas University Tech
9. Columbia Southern University
10. Tidewater Community College
• Under $6,000—1 point
• Under $5,000—2 points
• Under $4,000—3 points
• Under $3,000—4 points
• Under $2,000—5 points
• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, Accelerated, Degree Completion, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
• Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option (5-point cap)
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us
Ranking the Top 10 Associate’s General Studies Online Programs
To develop the following ranking of top associate’s general studies online programs, our editors began with an initial pool of over two dozen programs. We narrowed this pool by applying an affordability filter so that only schools with tuition costs of under $6,000 per year according to College Navigator would appear in the ranking. Other information needed to apply the ranking methodology above was taken from each school’s website. Tuition was used to break any and all ties.
#10 –Tidewater Community College
Online AS in General Studies
Tidewater Community College offers an online associate of science in general studies degree program. This offering fulfills the general education requirements for nearly every public college and university in Virginia, making it easy for students to transfer to four-year schools like Liberty University, Regent University, George Mason University, and Old Dominion University, for example. To earn their AS in General Studies, students must take 38 credit hours of general education classes like Principles of Public Speaking, College Composition, and Success Skills. Two-year transfer grants are available for eligible students to apply towards their bachelor’s degrees. TCC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
In-State Tuition: $5,434
#9 –Columbia Southern University
Online AA General Studies
Columbia Southern University offers a 60-credit hour online AA in general studies program. The curriculum for the program emphasizes soft skills valued by employers such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication. Enrolled students will take courses such as American Military History, Philosophies of World Religions, Finite Math, and Principles of Modern Physical Science. Elective options include Sports Marketing, Legal Aspects of Hospitality and Tourism, and Destination Marketing and Tourism Geography. Columbia Southern University is accredited by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC). It is important to note that this particular general studies associate’s online program is not eligible for federal student aid.
In-State Tuition: $5,415
#8 –Southern Arkansas University Tech
Associate of Arts in General Education Online
Southern Arkansas University Tech’s online associate’s in general studies offering is an AA in General Education. The program is primarily intended for students who plan to transfer to Arkansas State University-Jonesboro to study at the baccalaureate level. The curriculum for the program features developmental coursework such as Introduction to Language Arts, Writing Workshop, and Transitional Mathematics. Students will also fulfill institutional requirements such as Student Success and Introduction to Computers. Other required classes include The Biological Sciences, U.S. History, Principles of Speech, and General Psychology. To round out the curriculum, students will also take 15 credit hours of directed electives. Southern Arkansas University Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
In-State Tuition: $4,810
#7 –Genesee Community College
Online AS in Liberal Arts and Science: General Studies
The online associate’s in general studies option from Genesee Community College is an Associate of Science in Liberal Arts and Science program with a concentration in General Studies. The program facilitates easy transfer to one of 64 colleges and universities in the SUNY network for baccalaureate studies, including Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY College at Brockport, Argosy University, Medaille College, and many more. Courses comprising the curriculum for the program include Composition in the Humanities, Basic Math Skills, Cultural Anthropology, and World Civilizations, for instance. Genesee Community College is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is authorized by the State University of New York to award associate’s degrees.
In-State Tuition: $4,580
#6 –Housatonic Community College
Associate’s General Studies Online
Housatonic Community College offers a versatile online associate’s in general studies degree program featuring individual study options. The core curriculum is comprised of course titles like Literature and Composition, Scientific Knowledge and Understanding, Written Communication in English, and Social Science. One year of foreign language study is recommended, and students must fulfill a computer fundamentals requirement. Housatonic Community College is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education and the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education.
In-State Tuition: $4,276
#5 –Cossatot Community College
Online Associate’s General Studies
Cossatot Community College offers a 60-credit hour general studies associate’s online program. The curriculum is comprised of general studies required courses like Success Strategies, American Government, Composition I and II, and Introduction to Fine Arts. Students will also take 31 credit hours of elective classes. Because of the large number of electives, students can easily customize their degree plan to accommodate their desired outcomes, whether it be to transfer to Arkansas Tech to pursue a Bachelor’s in Professional Studies or to pursue a vocation after graduation. CCC offers over 60 online courses, including four fully online associate’s programs. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
In-State Tuition: $3,600
#4 –Pima Community College
Online Associate of General Studies
Pima Community College offers a 60-credit hour online associate’s general studies program. The offering is technically an Associate of Arts program with a concentration in general studies and is designed primarily for students who plan to transfer to a four-year university to complete a bachelor’s degree. The curriculum for the program is comprised of 29 credit hours of general education requirements in subjects such as English Composition, Humanities, Fine Arts, Mathematics, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Biological and Physical Sciences. Students will also take 12-16 credit hours of transferable electives as well as required support courses like College Success and Career Planning and University Transfer Preparation, for example. Pima Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school offers approximately 180 transfer and occupational degree programs, and it awarded nearly 4,000 associates degrees in 2018.
In-State Tuition: $2,118
#3 –Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University offers its online associate’s general studies program from its College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. The program is highly customizable, offering over a dozen different areas of studies for students to choose from. Some popular options include Media Studies, Child Development, Leadership Studies, and General Business. Aside from concentration-specific courses, students will take foundational classes like Introduction to Computer Information Systems, Foundations of Oral Communications, and Liberal Arts Mathematics as well as humanities classes like Current Political Issues, Principles of Economics, and Diversity in the United States. Fort Hays State’s Virtual College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
In-State Tuition: $5,009
#2 –River Parishes Community College
General Studies Associate Online
River Parishes Community Colleges offers one of the most customizable online general studies associate’s online programs currently available. Students may choose from six available concentration options: Arts and Humanities, General Business, Natural Sciences/Mathematics, Social/Behavioral Sciences, Computer Science, or Natural Sciences/Mathematics. In addition to concentration-specific classes, students will take general education courses such as Introduction to Poetry and/or Drama, Fundamentals of Speech, Principles of Biology, Contemporary Social Problems, and Introduction to Contemporary Math, for instance. The format of the program is also versatile as it can be completed entirely online, via a hybrid model, or on campus. River Parishes Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate’s degrees.
In-State Tuition: $4,079
#1 –Arkansas Northeastern College
Associate of General Studies Online
The affordable general studies associate’s degree online program from Arkansas Northeastern College is a flexible and fully transferable option. The program is highly customizable, featuring concentrations in Pre-Allied Health, Math/Science, Computer Technologies, Fine Arts/Performing Arts, and Humanities/Social Sciences. The curriculum features a robust 35-credit hour general education core, including courses like Introduction to Communication, College Algebra, General Biology, Physical Science, World Literature, and Art Appreciation, for instance. Institutional requirements include classes such as Academic and Career Enrichment and Fitness for Life. In addition, students will take between 21 and 27 credit hours in their chosen concentration. Arkansas Northeastern College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. It is the most affordable community college in the state of Arkansas.
In-State Tuition: $2,570
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Associate’s in General Studies Program
Q: What’s the best online general studies associate’s degree program?
A: A common question for prospective students involves identifying the best online associate’s degree in general studies. This is a tough question to answer since the best program for you may not be the ideal choice for other students. That said, a good associate’s degree in general studies online is an accredited offering that meets the common general education requirements you’ll find at most four-year colleges and universities. Good AA and AS in general studies programs are also versatile, allowing students to customize their degree plans to meet their specific academic and career goals.
Q: What do general studies associate’s degrees online cost?
A: It all depends on the specific program. Tuition costs for online associate’s degrees in general studies vary significantly. Over the course of our research, we identified programs with costs below a few thousand dollars a year and above twenty thousand a year. It’s safe to say there are programs to suit everyone’s budget. Keep in mind, too, that financial aid—including grants and scholarships— is available for some programs.
Q: What are the requirements for admission into an online general studies associate’s degree program?
A: A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required prior to enrollment. You may also have to pay an application fee and submit a personal essay in order to be admitted into an associate’s in general studies online program. Since admissions requirements can vary, though, it’s best to consult with an admissions counselor at the specific school you’re considering.
Q: Can I complete a general studies associate’s fully online?
A: Yes. There are typically no on-campus requirements required for online associate’s general studies degrees. Furthermore, many programs offer asynchronous classes, meaning there are no required online meeting times. Instead, you’ll have the freedom to log on to your learning platform at a time that’s convenient for you. There, you can view course content, participate in class discussions, submit assignments, and more.
Q: What are my options after receiving my associate’s in general studies online degree?
A: Generally speaking, you’ll have two options after graduating from an online associate’s general studies degree program. You can either begin your career or continue your studies in a bachelor’s degree program. Keep your plans in mind when selecting a program, though. Some programs are better suited for vocational pursuits while others make good transfer degrees.