The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is an incredible opportunity for students interested in completing a graduate degree based on one or more interests. This is a 100 percent online degree that requires one campus residency; this is in the form of an oral defense for the final thesis, which takes place the semester prior to graduation. Students will be able to access the school's online academic library and resources as part of their entry into the program. Courses are delivered asynchronously and are on 10-week term schedules; this allows students to complete the necessary requirements in two years of part-time study. The curriculum offers three concentration areas: Social Concerns and Cultural Systems, Environment, Science, and Society, and Literature, Arts, and Society. It is also possible for students to undertake directed independent study, which is a form of a tailored curriculum supervised by a faculty member. Students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a final thesis, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Contemporary Issues in Liberal Studies, The Social Organization of Cruelty, and Atheism and Unbelief.
10 Most Affordable Master’s in General Studies Online
For many professionals, an online Master’s in General Studies is the perfect opportunity to diversify or specialize their expertise and interests. Because the degree is generally created with the intent to allow students to have a large say in their curriculum choices, it is a good choice for students who have very specific interests that may not be available in specific graduate programs. It also provides a way for working professionals to earn a graduate degree in fields that are of interest to their current or new career path.
Online degrees in general studies, also known as humanities or liberal arts, provide a foundation of advanced knowledge that may be highly useful for professionals. They are also more flexible and affordable than traditional programs; students often choose programs that provide on-demand courses as well as short term schedules while the cost for an online program is significantly less than that of traditional campus degrees. This ranking has been created with the intention to showcase each school’s features, ensuring that professionals who are interested in the degree have the information they need in order to make a decision.
Top 10 Most Affordable Master’s in General Studies Online
|1||University of North Carolina at Wilmington||Wilmington, NC|
|2||University of North Carolina at Greensboro||Greensboro, NC|
|3||Western New Mexico University||Silver City, NM|
|4||American Public University||Charles Town, WV|
|5||Baker University||Baldwin City, KS|
|6||University of Toledo||Toledo, OH|
|7||University of South Dakota||Vermillion, SD|
|8||Wayland Baptist University||Plainview, TX|
|9||SUNY Empire State College||Saratoga Springs, NY|
|10||Tiffin University||Tiffin, OH|
Accredited Online College Programs
This ranking was created using information provided by the College Navigator database, an online tool that is supported by the National Center for Education Statistics. An initial pool of 30 schools were considered for this ranking, with the 10 listed below chosen based on their in-state graduate tuition rates.
Ranking Low-cost Online General Studies Master’s
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Your Career Options for an Online Master’s in General Studies Degree?
Career options available with an online Master’s in General Studies consist of so many job positions that it is best to list the careers in which a master’s in this field will not grant entry to a professional. These include:
These professions require specialized education; therefore, a general studies graduate degree is of little use. It can be useful, however, if a student is already working in one of these fields and would like to enhance their knowledge of the liberal arts disciplines at play within their environment.
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
A general studies degree can help with a variety of careers and salaries; currently, the salary range is $25,000 to just over $150,000. An attempt to explain the salary ranges for each position would be futile because there are too many career options, industries, and sectors in which general studies can play a role in salaries.
One thing to note, however, is that while a graduate degree in general studies alone will not provide a specialized career and high salary for a professional, it can aid them in proving expertise which could lead to higher wages. Graduates who hold mid to senior-level positions in a variety of fields who take on this degree and choose a customized curriculum that favors their employers may find themselves earning a substantial raise. Other times, the degree is the gateway to a new career; students in this situation should expect lower salaries since they will be considered entry-level employees.
What are the Various Disciplines of General Studies?
General studies is such a broad term that every single discipline found in natural sciences, the humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and more could fit under it. Everything from management to instructional technology can be housed in a general studies program. The term is so vague that even most schools don’t try to limit the areas that are available for study. It is best for students to think of general studies as a field in which their particular interests, as well as research and critical thinking, take the spotlight.
Is a Master’s in General Studies Really Right For You?
A graduate degree in general studies may seem like an odd choice for a working professional who is already working in a particular field. However, more professionals are interested in diversifying not only their personal interests, but also their professional interests. They may also be making a decision to change careers and feel as though a graduate degree in general studies may be a good fit for them.
For example, a professional who works in the for-profit business sector may have a personal interest in humanitarian causes. If they do not have an education in nonprofits, a degree in general studies may be a good fit for them, especially if the school has a variety of social science and politics courses available to students. Since most general studies degrees require three core interests, this professional may choose to learn about social justice, management, and perhaps take further business courses.
That same professional from the above example may also want to switch careers and become the director of a nonprofit organization. They will need further education on how to run a nonprofit and the specific field they want to work in. A general studies program is perfect for them as well, providing them with advanced courses in various fields of study that could help them move from the for-profit sector to the non-profit sector.
An online Master’s in General Studies is not for a professional who wishes to advance in their current career. This is especially true if there are already educational avenues open to them, such as the Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, or Master of Science in Nursing. These professionals already have pathways built into the educational system for them, so a degree in general studies will be of little help.
This degree is also not a good fit for students interested in pursuing professional licensure or certification. These degrees do not provide a pathway towards either distinction alone; further study in a certificate program built for a particular field will be required.
In the end, the decision comes down to the professional. Whether undertaking the degree is for lifelong learning or to build expertise on a particular matter, only an individual knows what’s best for them.
Why Do Some Schools Require a Core Curriculum and Others Don’t?
General studies is a term that encompasses liberal studies, the humanities, and also natural and social sciences. The term’s definition varies from school to school, meaning that some schools believe it is necessary to have some core course requirements while others do not. In some cases, the core requirements serve a purpose, especially in research and project-oriented degrees.
Some programs on this list require a core curriculum. These courses are generally an introduction to advanced liberal arts studies or the humanities. They often also require research courses. This is because these degrees require a project, such as a thesis or a portfolio, or a research paper as the exit exam for that program. Requiring research and critical inquiry courses prior the beginning of any tailored program ensures that students are well aware of the requirements of their final project.
Requiring core courses, such as a final project or critical thinking courses, also serves another purpose for students. Those who choose to pursue doctoral study in their chosen field need a program that requires a thesis in order to prove they understand the advanced material well enough to move onto terminal education, which is the main purpose of the degree. Most doctoral programs prefer students who have completed a graduate thesis over those who have only needed to complete a comprehensive exam.
Other schools on this ranking do not require any core requirements at all. These programs operate under the belief, which is stated on the program website, that the majority of their students are lifelong learners and who wish only to complete graduate education in a field that is of interest to them. Programs without core requirements rarely request a thesis or final project for graduation.
General studies is often regarded as an undergraduate degree, but working professionals have also become interested in having the freedom to tailor their curriculum. That’s why schools are creating graduate programs in the field, enabling those with specific needs to build the degree that will help them in their career ambitions. With an online Master’s in General Studies, professionals will be ready to take on advanced positions in their career, all while studying other specific interests that may become useful later on in their profession.
This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Master’s in General Studies Online.
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