Earning a Master's in General Studies Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in General Studies Online?

New students and working professionals who successfully earn online master's in general studies degrees develop multiple skill sets, including strong interpersonal skills, big-picture understanding, and the ability to apply knowledge in practical ways. Graduates can pursue careers in management, human resources, teaching, hospitality, and other complex, socially-oriented fields.

General studies master's programs can appear under a variety of names, including master of liberal arts, master of arts in interdisciplinary studies, or master of arts in humanities. These programs take a broad approach, surveying different fields to give a wide point-of-view and sometimes offering specializations, making them perfect for a jack of all trades. The online version of this degree creates more opportunities for students to study, work, and participate in conferences and organizations simultaneously, making programs accessible to a wider variety of students.

Employment Outlook for Master's in General Studies Graduates

Master's in General Studies Salary

Salaries for graduates of online master's degrees in general studies vary by career path. Graduates of these programs tend to find careers where there is a lot of flexibility to explore ideas, define their own responsibilities, and use creative problem-solving skills. Desirable jobs for these graduates usually involve independently directed projects and overseeing large groups of people or complex productions. Therefore, salary rates usually parallel those of managers, directors, educators, coordinators, and standards specialists.

Master's in General Studies Careers

General studies degrees attract people who love the process of solving problems as much as the satisfaction of finding a solution. They are curious and self-educating with a variety of skills, which means they are well-suited for various careers, especially in supervisory positions. Below are a few of the careers that general studies master's degree holders can pursue.

High School Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $60,320

With a focus on providing students with skills for the workforce or college-level studies, teachers create lessons, manage projects, develop and model positive behaviors, and work with the community to build opportunities for the school and students to become more successful.

Quality Manager

Annual Median Salary: $78,457

Quality managers spend their time creating, maintaining, and improving company standards to meet the demands of executives and clients. These managers evaluate products and people for quality and they guide other employees in finding solutions for quality problems.

Administrative Coordinator

Annual Median Salary: $43,705

A good administrative coordinator can maximize production and motivation across an entire company. This includes supervising and evaluating people and their work with the goal of improving the organization's use of assets and resources.

Purchasing Manager

Annual Median Salary: $65,377

Effective purchasing managers help balance a company's costs and keep it financially secure while also staying competitive with rival companies. They do this by developing relationships with inventory managers and outside vendors, ensuring that the company is stocked with what it needs to get work done.

Human Resources Generalist

Annual Median Salary: $52,925

Human resources generalists aid in hiring decisions and maintain healthy, productive work environments for all employees. They focus on providing employees with security, training, and teamwork strategies while also helping companies comply with hiring regulations.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in General Studies Program?

Online master's in general studies programs vary quite a bit, so an example curriculum might not reflect actual offerings in any given program. Usually, general studies students can concentrate on humanities, international studies, business, liberal arts, education, or any number of scientific fields. Some programs let students pick each course, while others set concentration routes; however, general studies programs usually focus on interdisciplinary classes, helping to develop a varied knowledge base.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in General Studies

Contemporary Issues in Liberal Studies

This big-picture course surveys current ideas and methodologies in liberal arts studies, including issues in the popular discourse and emerging research methods. Often, courses like this also cover common oral and written communication strategies.

Popular Culture

This class is broad in its approach to understanding popular culture, covering food, fashion, entertainment, myths, stereotypes, movies, music, and celebrities through a multicultural lens. In particular, this course focuses on how to think and write critically about culture, and how it influences and is influenced by human behavior.

Art in Social Science

When studying human behavior, art is an excellent source of data. This course examines the relationship between human society and artistic expression, exploring the social mechanics behind the production and appreciation of art and the ways in which art influences human psychology.


Leadership courses have become popular in interdisciplinary studies because they prepare students for careers with major responsibilities. For those who don't want to pursue leadership roles, this course develops the ability to stay organized and better communicate with peers and leaders. Teachers, in particular, benefit from the skills covered in this course.

Internship or Independent Project

Most general studies master's programs require an internship or research project that reflects each student's core interests or field of study. This helps students apply their skills practically and demonstrate their creative problem-solving abilities to future employers.

Professional Organizations and Resources

People who are successful in this field are always seeking a broader understanding of their individual fields and of humanity in general. For this reason, general studies master's degree holders often join professional organizations where they can stay current with changes and developments in their fields. Having a strong presence in the wider community is another benefit of joining an organization like the ones listed below.

  • National Association of Foreign Student Advisers: General studies masters can benefit from this organization by connecting with a diverse group of people, maintaining healthy and progressive relationships within an international community to build cultural understanding. NAFSA helps its members through career networking, continuing education, and regular meet-ups across the globe.

  • International Studies Association: Since general studies graduates are often big-picture thinkers, they also tend to value international relationships; ISA is a great place to develop those relationships. It provides three tiers of membership, with each offering international grants, databases, and listservs to help members develop professionally.

  • American Society for Quality: Quality assurance is a key component of any professional field; a high-quality product or service is required before a company can compete with rival organizations. ASQ strives to create a network of professionals who care about maintaining standards and improving them through study and practice.

  • Association for Project Management: This organization seeks to help professionals confidently manage workplaces, helping them comply with standards and organize projects more efficiently. APM offers multiple member levels, each including a different set of training and networking opportunities.

  • The Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs: The AGLSP offers resources and publishing opportunities that help members gain renown in the liberal arts world, enhance the field, and further their educations. The program offers a national honor society, annual faculty and student awards, and an annual conference.

  • Entrepreneur: Entrepreneur offers interviews, articles, and trainings on a wide array of leadership and development topics, covering a variety of perspectives on the latest trends and controversies in business.

  • Society for Human Resource Management: General studies graduates are strong communicators, and it benefits them to keep up with current practices in business communications. SHRM publishes articles and studies on international human relations trends and trainings, keeping its members up to date on the latest developments.

  • International Organization for Standardization: Knowing and practicing the standards is a building block of any field because it allows professionals to improve working and production conditions. For master's in general studies graduates, membership in an organization like this serves as continuing organization, helping them learn what's important in different fields.

  • Macmillan Education: Macmillan English is an online resource that offers self-pacing online education, allowing professionals to continue learning in any area they choose. Enrolled individuals can take webinars in just about any area, but particularly in communications-related fields.

  • American Psychological Association Databases: Access to educational materials is an advantage for any professional, and APA databases offer the latest studies and texts for most careers. Subscribing to a database like this means easy access to continuing education on your own time and schedule.

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