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Bachelor of Arts: General Studies

New, Bachelor of General Studies program, available fully online, will help former college students finish their undergraduate degrees

SUNY New Paltz now offers a new Bachelor of Arts: General Studies degree completion program.  Available fully online, or as a seated or hybrid program, the BA: General Studies is designed to expand educational access to people who have earned some college credits but never finished a four-year undergraduate program.  

This new General Studies program provides a flexible, high-quality educational opportunity for an underserved population in our society: former college students, often working adults, for whom a residential, on-campus experience is not a realistic option.


How the Bachelor of Arts: General Studies works

The Bachelor of Arts: General Studies program is open to anyone who already has at least 60 college credits from an accredited institution.

Students will enroll for a flexible, fully online course schedule that can be completed full- or part-time.

In-state tuition costs will be the same as those paid by students enrolled in on-campus programs.

All class sections are established, existing online courses taught by the same New Paltz faculty who teach our in-person courses.

Students choose from seven focus areas and create an educational plan tailored to their skills and interests.

All students in this program will also have access to professional advisors with expertise in online learning and technical support from the College’s IT Help Desk.


Focus Areas (from which students choose 3)

Literature & Writing

The Literature & Writing focus area of the General Studies major develops students’ knowledge, skills, and appreciation of the written and spoken word.  “Appreciation” here means attention to aesthetic questions of genre, form, and style. These will be primarily courses in which students read or write fiction, nonfiction, poetry, song, drama, literary criticism, journalism, and/or screenplays, but will also include courses that teach students how to analyze literature and other texts from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Although all courses in the department of English might count toward the focus area, “Literature and Writing” will also include courses from other departments that teach students how to write creatively and/or analyze literature.


Social Sciences

The Social Sciences include the many disciplines that use quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry to understand the human condition, our histories, our cultures, and our institutions. This focus area includes most coursework associated with the departments of Anthropology, Asian Studies, Black Studies, Economics, Geography, History, Latin American Studies, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Sociology, and Women & Gender Studies as well as many courses in the departments of Communication, Digital Media & Journalism, Philosophy, and Religion.


Global Studies

The Global Studies focus area provides students with knowledge of the world, deepening their understanding of global issues, processes, and systems as well as world histories, arts, and culture.  Coursework in this focus area spans a wide range of disciplines across all five academic colleges and includes the study of arts, humanities, languages, social sciences, natural sciences, and business from an international or world perspective.


United States Studies

The United States Studies focus area provides an interdisciplinary examination of the diverse experiences and cultures within the United States, emphasizing coursework from across many departments, including Art, Art History, Black Studies, Communication Studies, English, History, Geography, Music, Political Science, Religious Studies, Theater, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.


Fine & Performing Arts

The School of Fine & Performing Arts offers individual majors in Art, Art History, Music, and Theater Arts.  The Fine & Performing Arts focus area of the General Studies major offers students the opportunity to explore coursework across all four of these areas of study to gain a broad and interdisciplinary knowledge of and appreciation for the visual and performing arts.


Environmental Literacy

The Environmental Literacy focus area prepares students with a foundation in ecological and socio-political knowledge enabling them to better understand sustainability issues of our day and to develop environmentally responsible attitudes and behaviors.  Coursework draws from a wide array of disciplines exploring how we understand environmental sciences, how we explore ethical and business considerations related to the environment, how we communicate with one another about the environment, and how society evaluates and responds to environmental challenges.


General Business     

While the undergraduate degree programs in the School of Business focus on specific areas of Business such as Accounting, Analytics, Finance, Marketing or Management, the General Business focus area of the General Studies major offers students an interdisciplinary opportunity to explore a broad-based selection of courses across multiple areas of Business as they prepare themselves for their career goals.  All BUS courses can count toward the General Business focus area as well courses in other disciplines where the focus of the course is related to Business skills or functions (ex: Business Communication).  NOTE:  The General Business focus area of the General Studies major is NOT a Business degree and should not be confused with the BS: General Business major.  The BS: General Business major is available for students who qualify for admission to the School of Business and for whom a business degree is essential.

Who the Bachelor of General Studies program serves

This online degree completion program was created to help former college students earn a bachelor’s degree and advance toward their professional goals.

Nationwide, about 40% of students who enroll in college leave before completing their degree, according to a 2021 report from the non-profit research group

That can be a costly decision. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a bachelor’s had median weekly earnings of $1,305, compared to just $877 per week for those with some college but no degree.

By giving these students a flexible pathway back into college, New Paltz’s Bachelor of General Studies is using online teaching and technology to help more citizens access a quality education and achieve their goals.