Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies

15 Credits

Program Outline

The Online Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies is a great way to begin your college education and build the foundation for your new career path. Unlike sitting in crowded lecture halls, online learning allows you to study in your own home, and at the pace that’s right for you. You’ll complete two required online general education courses and three electives at any average rate of just $79 per credit and there’s no application fee. So you can save money and begin learning something new today.

The first course, Basic Skills Assessment, is available online only, which allows you to start studying right away. You will not receive hardcopy program materials for these lessons. You can access your first course as soon as your tuition payment has been received. Other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, Microsoft® Office 2019 or Microsoft 365®, and an email account to complete this program.

This outline covers all the courses required for your certificate program. You complete the following courses in the order indicated:

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.

Program Outcomes
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

 

Courses

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.

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.

Science Elective (3 credits)
(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.

Textbook: Earth Science

SCI120-Introduction to Biology
An introductory course that explains the origin of life and the relationships between all living things. It describes how a significant number of organisms are structured and how they work, in order to enable students to discuss intelligently the various forms of life and their processes.

Objectives:

  • Analyze cells and their processes for obtaining energy and reproducing.
  • Explain how traits are passed on from one generation to the next.
  • Explain how different species of living things have evolved and are classified.
  • Write responses to fundamental biology essay prompts.
  • Identify the characteristics and behavior of plants and animals.
  • Diagram the anatomy and physiology of the human body.
  • Describe the ecology of living things.
  • Summarize complex biological issues using research articles.

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.

Textbook: Personal Nutrition

Social Science Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one)

SSC105-World Civilizations
This course serves as an introduction to many of the major events of the fifteenth through twenty-first centuries and examines the causal relationships between events and trends.

Objectives:

  • Summarize the various causes and consequences of global trade and its conflicting worldwide impact
  • Report the impact of social and industrial revolutions, fifteenth century onward, on various nations
  • Analyze the conditions that led to the World Wars, decolonization, and the Cold War
  • Analyze post–World War II effects on the economic and political structures around the world
  • Summarize an event that occurred after the fifteenth century and had an impact on a world civilization
  • Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of World War II and its effects on the world population

Textbook: A History of World Societies, Volume 2

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.

Textbook: Psychology and Your Life

Arts and Humanities Elective (3 credits)
(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

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

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

English Composition (3 credits)
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 (such as illustration, comparison and contrast, and classification), critical reading toward revision of structure and organization, editing for standard written conventions, and use and documentation of outside sources. Students submit two prewriting assignments and three essays (process analysis, comparison and contrast, and 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
  • Contrast the revising and editing steps of the writing process
  • Distinguish between different patterns of development
  • Write a process analysis essay using prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing skills
  • Recognize how to determine the reliability of secondary sources and to give proper credit to sources referenced in an essay
  • Write a comparison and contrast essay by using persuasive writing techniques to defend a claim
  • Create a sound written argument using techniques of drafting and evaluating sources

 

Online Library and Librarian
Students at Penn Foster College have access to an online library during their college studies. Students can use the library to do the required course research or for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and will assist students in research activities.

 

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 macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.