General Studies Undergraduate Certificate - Curriculum | Penn Foster College
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General Studies Certificate Details

Penn Foster's General Studies Program consists of five courses that are designed for those looking to build a fundamental knowledge and earn credits toward a college degree. Your lessons will cover Computer Applications, English Composition, and three electives of your choice.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

The Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies Program prepares students to continue their education in an associate or bachelor's degree program.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...
  • Demonstrate computer and information literacy
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the liberal arts, natural sciences, and social sciences
  • Demonstrate a high level of inquiry, analytical, and problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrate effective written and interpersonal communication skills

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.

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.

(Choose one) ...

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

 

(Choose one)...

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

 

(Choose one)...

HUM102 - Art Appreciation

In this course, you will gain an understanding of artistic media, historical periods and artistic movements, the roles of the artist and the viewer, and the principles of art criticism.

Objectives:

  • Define the language, visual elements, and principles of design of art
  • Identify two-dimensional media
  • Identify three-dimensional media
  • Explain the evolution of art from ancient Mediterranean cultures through eighteenth century Europe
  • Identify features and popular examples of art throughout the history of African, Asian, Pacific, and American cultures
  • Compare the genres of the Modern and Postmodern eras of art from around the world

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Living with Art, 11th Edition

 

HUM104 - Music Appreciation

In this course, you'll understand how to appreciate music by learning about the roles of the composer and the listener, the principles of music theory and instrumentation, musically significant historical periods, and varying styles of music.

Objectives:

  • Identify the building blocks of music a composer can use to create a piece, such as rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, form, and timbre
  • Explain the evolution of Western music through history, from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century
  • Differentiate between the music of the baroque era and the musical styles of previous time periods
  • Recognize the major characteristics of classical music, including form, melody, and instrumentation
  • Discuss the musical trends and innovations that occurred during the romantic era
  • Trace the evolution of American popular music in the twentieth century
  • Recognize the influence of world music on modern Western composition

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Experience Music, Fourth Edition

 

ENG115 - Introduction to Literature 

This course will allow you to develop your critical thinking skills and broaden your knowledge of the main genres of literature — fiction, poetry, and drama.

Objectives:

  • Explain how to effectively read fiction for both knowledge and enjoyment
  • Identify different styles and forms of poetry
  • Use what you've learned in this course to discuss, write about, and understand literature
  • Prepare a critical interpretation of fiction or poetry based on what you've learned in this course
  • Discuss how literary dramas differ from fiction and poetry
  • Identify different strategies of critical literary analysis

This course teaches the skills and techniques of effectively developing, drafting, and revising college-level essays toward a specific purpose and audience: active reading, prewriting strategies, sentence and paragraph structure, thesis statements, varied patterns of development (e.g., illustration, comparison and contrast, classification), critical reading toward revision of structure and organization, editing for standard written conventions, use and documentation of outside sources. Students submit two prewriting assignments, and three essays (process analysis, classification and division, argumentation).

Objectives:

  • Use writing skills to construct well-written sentences and active reading skills to understand and analyze text
  • Develop paragraphs using topic sentences, adequate detail, supporting evidence, and transitions
  • Describe the revision, editing, and proofreading steps of the writing process
  • Distinguish between different patterns of development
  • Use prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing to write a formal, college-level essay
  • Recognize how to determine the reliability of secondary sources and to give proper credit to sources referenced in an essay
  • Use prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing to write a formal, college-level essay
  • Use techniques of drafting, evaluating, and creating a sound written argument
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.

Additional Details

Undergraduate Certificates from Penn Foster College are awarded under licensing from the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education.

Penn Foster College Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster College has been nationally accredited for over 40 years, and has met the high standards of integrity and performance set by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) in Washington, D.C. Penn Foster College has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations and licensing. We also participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

DEAC
SARA
Surround Sound Support

Surround Sound Support

Whether you prefer chat, text, email, or phone, our faculty is here to help you achieve your goals. Penn Foster students also have access to our expert team of Success Coaches to help with budgeting for your education, career guidance, or simply some extra motivation.
Webinars
Over the course of the Penn Foster College General Studies Undergraduate Certificate program, you will have the opportunity to attend live or recorded webinars to help you better understand your lessons. The live webinars will allow you to ask our instructors questions in real time.
Webinars
Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools

Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools

Our customizable goal-setting tools will help you create a schedule and stick to it. Need some extra time to complete a lesson or take an exam? Not a problem - you can adjust your study plan at any time to set a pace that works for you.

Student Community

Looking to connect with other Penn Foster students? Our Student Community is the perfect place for you to interact with your peers - as well as Penn Foster faculty and staff - to discuss your online learning experience, congratulate fellow students, and share your Penn Foster experience.
Penn Foster Student Community
Penn Foster Sample Lesson

Sample General Studies Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a General Studies course would look like.
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, 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, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.
Access to Microsoft® Office 365 is a requirement for this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered 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.
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