Online Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies

Why Penn Foster?

  • Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

If you are looking to fulfill your general education requirements without spending a lot of money, or if you are wondering whether you’re even ready for college at all, Penn Foster College’s Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies is the program for you. The Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies is the optimal way to begin your college education and build the foundation for your new career path. You’ll complete two required courses and three electives. All of the courses in this program are ACE-reviewed¹ and you can transfer the credits to more than 2,000 higher education institutions that recognize ACE credit recommendations for incoming transfer students.

Unlike sitting in crowded lecture halls, you’ll take a series of courses online in your own home, and at the pace that’s right for you. And best of all, at only $79 per credit, you can save more than $6,000 toward your college education!² Save money to put toward courses in your major and begin learning something new today.

Curriculum Details

Course 1

Basic Skills Assessment

All applicants are required to complete two Basic Skills Assessments, one in reading and one in math, to determine the level of readiness for beginning their selected program. Additional studies may be required.

CSC104 Computer Applications 3 credits

This course will allow you to build your computer skills through a combination of reading and hands-on practice. You will navigate popular software tools such as Windows® and Microsoft® Office.

Objectives:

  • Create, edit, and illustrate Microsoft® Word™ documents.
  • Apply formulas and functions to large data sets in Microsoft® Excel.®
  • Incorporate useful charts and graphs to summarize data.
  • Add, delete, sort, and lay out table data.
  • Create presentations in Microsoft® PowerPoint® using advanced tools, tables, and charts.

Course 2

Science Elective (Choose one) 3 credits

SCI110-Earth Science

This course will allow you to learn about planet Earth and the various aspects of the environment.

Objectives:

  • Describe specific characteristics of Earth.
  • Describe different types of rocks and minerals.
  • Discuss the various components of our solar system.
  • Explain the components of weather and climates.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Earth Science

 

SCI120-Introduction to Biology

This course will allow you to explore the origin of life and the relationships among all living things.

Objectives:

  • Explain how organisms are structured and how they work.
  • Discuss the various forms of life and their processes.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Essentials of Biology

 

SCI140-Nutrition

This course will allow you to develop a healthier lifestyle by making smarter nutritional decisions.

Objectives:

  • Explain the various components of nutrition as a science.
  • Describe nutrition from a global viewpoint.
  • Understand the importance of water and exercise.
  • Identify the basics of human growth and aging.
  • Discuss food safety procedures.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Personal Nutrition

 

Course 3

Social Science Elective (Choose one) 3 credits

SSC105-World Civilizations

This course will help you understand the importance of studying history as it relates to the individual and society as a whole.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the major events of the sixteenth through twentieth centuries.
  • Explain the consequences of events and the trends that they cause.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Understanding World Societies, A Brief History: Volume 2: Since 1450

 

SSC125-Introduction to Sociology

This course is designed to introduce you to social structure and social interaction through groups, networks, and organizations. Study politics, the economy, population, social movements, technology, and social change.

Objectives:

  • Describe deviance, crime, and social control.
  • Discuss the effects of stratification, racial and ethnic inequality, sex, gender, and sexuality.
  • Examine the role of health, family, education, and religion in human behavior.

SSC130-Essentials of Psychology

This course will introduce you to the relationship between biology and behavior. You will learn about human development throughout the life span.

Objectives:

  • Identify major psychological theories.
  • Discuss consciousness, memory, thought, and language.
  • Define intelligence, personality, and stress.
  • Analyze the role of gender in psychology.
  • Explain how community influences behavior.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Psychology and Your Life

 

Course 4

Arts and Humanities Elective (Choose one) 3 credits

HUM102 - Art Appreciation

This course will provide you with the foundational knowledge needed to critique a variety of artwork.

Objectives:

  • Understand artistic media.
  • Identify historical periods and artistic movements.
  • Explain the roles of the artist and the viewer.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: The Power of Art

 

HUM104 - Music Appreciation

This course will allow you to understand and appreciate the art of music.

Objectives:

  • Identify the basic principles of music theory, including melody, harmony, dynamics, and timbre.
  • Name the main types of musical instruments.
  • Distinguish various styles of music.
  • Identify influential composers of various periods of musical history.

ENG115 - Introduction to Literature 

This course will allow you to develop your critical thinking skills and broaden your knowledge of literature.

Objectives:

  • Identify themes and forms of literature.
  • Define the main genres of literature—poetry, fiction, and drama.

Course 5

ENG100 English Composition 3 credits

This course will allow you to polish and enhance your writing skills.

Objectives:

  • Effectively use free writing and brainstorming.
  • Perfect your ability to edit and revise your writing.
  • Apply techniques for getting the reader’s attention.
  • Write descriptive essays, first-person narratives, reflective essays, persuasive essays, and effective thesis statements.

Additional Course Materials:

  • Textbook: Successful College Writing
  • Supplement:The Little, Brown Essential Handbook

Proctored Exam

Exam information

This assessment will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the program. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.


Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 7 or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, Microsoft® Office 2013, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, Excel, and PowerPoint are registered trademarks and Word is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a General Studies sample lesson, click here.

Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies Program Details

Penn Foster’s Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies awards students with 15 credits for taking five courses, including two required courses and three electives. Computer Applications and English Composition are required, and you choose one elective within each of the following categories:

  • Social Science
  • Science
  • Arts and Humanities

Note that this certificate program is not a degree program, nor does a student receive a degree upon completion of the program.

The Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies will prepare you for any college degree you choose to pursue, whether you start that program a few months or a few years from now. If you are looking to save money on the cost of college, or you are trying to figure out whether college is right for you without making a large financial commitment, the Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies is for you.

Here are a few qualities that successful students have in common:

  • Independent: You are self-motivated and work well on your own.
  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Patient: You understand that good work takes time, and you work well despite obstacles.

I enjoyed very much the ability to become part of the Penn Foster group. The instructors were extremely helpful and kind. They were always there when I needed help or just plain needed advice.

- Ashley L., Penn Foster College Graduate

After earning my degree I received a pay increase and a promotion to a supervisor position. The instructors are superb, helpful, and are there with you every step of the way. Also, the student services representatives are courteous and understanding; they are there to answer any questions you may have. After each assignment I completed, the staff of Penn Foster always had encouraging statements that helped me to stay on course. Congrats to Penn Foster College on being the best and bringing the best out of me.

- Shawn C., Penn Foster College Graduate

Having a degree will increase my chances of being put at the top of the promotion list. I suggest Penn Foster programs all of the time to my coworkers. I am in the military, and Penn Foster is a very military-friendly school. I got all of my materials shipped to me while I was overseas for deployment.

- Amy G., Penn Foster College Graduate

We make sure you have everything you need:

  • Graduate debt free with 0% interest
  • Books and learning aids included
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our world-class faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online campus, plus immediate membership in the Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

What are post-graduation education and career options for General Studies students?

The General Studies Undergraduate Certificate Program is designed for adults looking to earn college-level credits. The 15 credits earned in this program may be used to meet general education requirements in Penn Foster College degree programs and may also be accepted for transfer at another university.

Can students who take individual courses (such as Art Appreciation) transfer those credits to the General Studies Undergraduate Certificate?

Yes.

More FAQs >

¹ The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) has evaluated and recommended college credit for many Penn Foster College courses.

² Compared to an average college price of $500 per credit.

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