When you pursue a bachelor’s degree, you declare a major: an area of focus for your degree such as  communication, business administration, criminal justice, or psychology. However, before you begin that focused aspect of the program in earnest, you must complete a wide-ranging selection of general education courses, no matter which college or university you attend. Have you ever wondered why this is a requirement? Let’s discuss general education courses and why they’re a critical part of every bachelor’s degree program.

What Are General Education Courses?

General education, “general ed,” or “gen ed” refers to a broad range of foundational courses that every undergraduate student must complete. The general education component of a bachelor’s degree program is sometimes referred to as a liberal arts education, but should not be confused with a standalone liberal arts degree. Britannica refers to this comprehensive approach as being the “basis of a general, or liberal, education.” In the United States, the advent of general education is connected in part to changes that took place in the education system throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. This interdisciplinary curriculum includes courses in areas of study such as:

  • Communication
  • Creative arts
  • History
  • Language, philosophy, and culture
  • Life and physical sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Political science
  • Social and behavioral sciences

The American Association of Colleges and Universities asserts that general education is what enables students to “cultivate the competencies and dispositions associated with humanistic inquiry, including the communication skills, analytical skills, and intellectual agility required to navigate a variety of perspectives and participate effectively in democracy.” A crucial component of higher education, a general education background helps lay the groundwork for a successful career in any number of fields.

Why Does Every Bachelor’s Degree Program Require Gen Ed Courses?

No matter what career path you follow, general education courses explore the fundamental subject matter that you will need to function and thrive within society. Advanced degrees, such as a master’s degree, require the completion of a bachelor’s degree; hence, they assume students already have this foundation and are ready for fully specialized learning. But bachelor’s degree students need more advanced instruction in these essentials than a high school education can provide.

Not everyone enters college at the bachelor’s level already knowing what they want to do with their life. General education courses introduce students to a broad variety of subjects that can help them determine where their interests and natural talents lie. While completing a bachelor’s degree program’s general education requirements, students also develop important communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills that will serve them well throughout every aspect of their lives. These so-called “soft” skills are in high demand among employers, according to studies of major employers and the U.S. Department of Labor, and can therefore increase a graduate’s career opportunities.

UT Permian Basin Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Online undergraduate programs from UT Permian Basin feature a diverse selection of general education courses. Our bachelor’s degree programs generally require at least 42 credits of general education courses before you can move into courses specifically related to your major and applicable electives. However, you may be able to transfer general education credits previously earned from an accredited institution toward your UT Permian Basin undergraduate program. Our expanding selection of online bachelor’s degree programs include:

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

BA in Communication

BA in English

BA in Humanities

BA in Political Science

BA in Psychology

BA in Sociology

Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS)

BAAS in Industrial Technology

BAAS in Industrial Technology with a concentration in Healthcare Leadership

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)

BBA in Accounting

BBA in Finance

BBA in Healthcare Management

BBA in Management

BBA in Marketing

Bachelor of Science (BS)

BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies

BS in Industrial Technology (BSIT)

RN to BS in Nursing

Advantages of Our Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Our programs are delivered in an online format that gives you the flexibility to complete coursework at your own pace from anywhere in the world—from Texas to Tasmania. If professional and personal obligations currently keep you busy, you’ll find this flexibility makes all the difference. What’s more, all our online programs are based around the same rigorous curriculum taught by the same renowned faculty who teach at our Odessa, Texas campus. Each program offers exceptionally high quality and value, with affordable tuition rates that most accredited universities of our stature can’t match.

Expand your horizons with general education courses as part of an online bachelor’s degree program from UT Permian Basin! Browse your options now.