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General Studies program curriculum

Ranging from topics in the hard and soft sciences to humanities and fine arts, our General Studies program curriculum provides a comprehensive education in a wide range of subjects. Required courses in English composition and college-level mathematics will set up a foundation for further studies in the electives of your choice. That means you can specialize your skill set, build the confidence you need to succeed professionally, and even choose to continue on to a more advanced degree.

Required courses

EN120 - English Composition I  

This course offers an introduction to basic writing skills that are especially relevant to academic assignments. The course focuses on APA paragraph development and organization in conjunction with a review of basic grammar and mechanics. The course also covers basic techniques for critically editing and revising one's work.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Use appropriate style, grammar, and mechanics in writing assignments.
  • Compose a strong paragraph with attention to the following: topic sentences; and effective use of transitions.
  • Identify and use a variety of essay structures, including expository, descriptive, narrative, comparison and contrast, and persuasion/argumentative.
  • Organize, develop, and produce a fully developed five-paragraph essay.
  • Differentiate and apply correct techniques for prewriting, writing, and proofreading using a variety of styles.
  • Correctly apply the rules of APA for use in direct or indirect quotations and reference citations.

Credit Hours: 3

C17 - College Mathematics or MA240 - College Algebra*  

College Mathematics focuses on the fundamental math concepts through the use of real-world scenarios and step-by-step instruction. You'll perform operations and problem-solving with whole numbers, fractions, percentages, and decimals. Units of time, weight, capacity, length, and mass are applied to mathematical calculations, and basic geometric shapes are categorized. Statistical values for mean, median, mode, and standard deviation are determined, and basic statistical graphs are created. Other topics include ratios, proportions, US standard and metric units of measure, algebraic expressions, and equations.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Solve problems with whole numbers.
  • Solve fractions.
  • Solve problems using decimals.
  • Solve problems using ratios, proportions, and percent.
  • Solve problems using measurement and geometry.
  • Solve problems using statistics and probability.
  • Solve problems with integers.
  • Solve linear equations.

Credit Hours: 3

College Algebra This course is a graphical and numerical approach to algebra that incorporates the use of technology. Emphasis is placed on solving algebraic application problems, and results are solutions-oriented. The concept of a function as a tool to model real-world data will play a central role. Emphasis will also be placed on the study of equations and inequalities, graphs, matrices and determinants, quadratics, sequences, inductive reasoning, and probability.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Solve equations using the addition principle.
  • Solve equations using the multiplication principle.
  • Solve problems using applications of percentages.
  • Solve inequalities.
  • Identify functions.
  • Graph linear functions.
  • Find the domain & range of a graph or equation.
  • Find equations of lines.
  • Use and simplify integers as exponents.
  • Evaluate exponents and scientific notation.
  • Add and subtract polynomials.
  • Multiply polynomials.
  • Factor and expand differences of squares.
  • Evaluate and simplify exponential functions.
  • Recognize, create, and simplify composite functions.
  • Create and simplify inverse functions.
  • Evaluate and simplify logarithmic functions.
  • Apply properties of logarithms to expand or simplify logarithmic expressions.
  • Recognize mathematical modeling.
  • Complete matrix arithmetic operations.
  • Solve systems of equations with Cramer's Rule.
  • Solve systems of equations with Inverses.
  • Identify and apply sequence notation.
  • Identify and apply formulas to arithmetic sequences and series.
  • Identify and apply formulas to geometric sequences and series.
  • Use the counting principle to determine the number of possible outcomes.
  • Calculate and interpret probability.
  • Solve quadratic equations using the quadratic formula or factoring.
  • Graph quadratics.
  • Solve mathematic modeling problems using quadratics.

Credit Hours: 3

Science course electives

SC140 - Elements of Chemistry  

Chemistry exists in all parts of our modern world. From the polymers in our technological devices to the pharmaceuticals that fight against diseases such as AIDS and cancer, chemical elements and processes are involved in all aspects of human life. This course explains how chemical principles are reflected in everyday living. It also offers a contextual framework of significant social, political, economic, and ethical issues. You should leave this course with a thorough understanding of chemistry fundamentals. Important emphasis is placed on the environment and human energy sources.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Describe the chemical nature of the ozone layer.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the periodic table.
  • Explain the factors involved in global warming.
  • Explain the chemical bonding of elements.
  • Distinguish between heat and energy.
  • Describe properties of drinking water.
  • Demonstrate comprehension of acids and bases.
  • Describe the risks and benefits of the use of nuclear power.
  • Explain the nature of plastics and polymers.
  • Describe some of the benefits and risks of herbal medicine.
  • Discuss various methods of food preservation.
  • Explain DNA's role in cell division, fingerprinting, and cloning.

Credit Hours: 3

SC160 - Basic Biology  

Basic Biology introduces you to a world of exciting biological discoveries. Included in these discoveries are biological organization; prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and ecosystems; chemistry; Darwin's theory of natural selection; and fungi, plant, and animal phyla and kingdoms. In addition, you'll discover how biology impacts your life, its relationship with technology, and how it's differentiated from other disciplines. This course also covers the evolution of animals, vertebrates, and invertebrates.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Describe the relationship of biological organization and the fields of biology and chemistry.
  • Explain the structure and functions of cells.
  • Describe Darwin's theory of natural selection views and differentiate the domains and kingdoms of eukaryotic life.
  • Discuss DNA and its relationship with inheritance.
  • Extend the DNA discussion to include technology and related fields and issues of concern.
  • Describe biological diversity, its evolution, and the discovery of microbial life.
  • Develop knowledge extension about parts of speech.
  • Describe colonization and diversification of plants and fungi.

Credit Hours: 3

SC260 - Introduction to Ecology  

Introduction to Ecology exposes you to the many interdependencies that exist within and among various ecosystems. You'll begin to understand how the climate, species, ecosystems, landscape, and sustainability factors all participate in diversity of plant and animal life. The goal of this course is to take the fundamental principles and biological concepts of the science of ecology and provide clear evidence of research approaches used in various areas of ecology.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Outline the principles of ecological science, explaining how those principles help to understand the nature of Earth's physical environment and including variations in climate and the characteristics of aquatic versus terrestrial environments.
  • Explain the processes by which organisms adapt to their environment and, in that context, the dynamics of natural selection in producing the great diversity of plant and animal adaptations.
  • Describe the properties of populations, including population density; sex ratios; and other aspects of population growth, such as birth and death rates, life history patterns, mode of reproduction (asexual or sexual), mate selection patterns, and the interaction of phenotypes and environments.
  • Describe the varying modes of species interaction, including population dynamics in respect to natural selection, interspecies competition, predation, parasitism, and mutualism.
  • Explain the nature of an ecological community with respect to the varieties of community structures, factors influencing the structure of any community, the nature of community dynamics, and the significance of landscape dynamics.
  • Define ecosystem ecology as it relates to ecosystem energy inputs and outputs in the context of decomposition and nutrient cycling and the various biogeochemical cycles, such as the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the phosphorus cycle, and other salient cycles.
  • Explain the nature of ecological biogeography with respect to terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems, and coastal and wetland ecosystems.
  • Identify large-scale patterns of biological diversity, such as how biological diversity has changed over geologic time, and how patterns of species diversity vary geographically. With such ideas as background, describe numerous indices consistent with evidence of accelerating global warming and climate change resulting from human activity.

Credit Hours: 3

Behavioral/Social Science course electives

C04 - Introduction to Psychology  

This course covers the psychology of biology and behavior, consciousness, memory, thought and language, intelligence, personality and gender, stress, and community influences.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Demonstrate a high level of inquiry, analytical, and problem-solving skills.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the liberal arts, natural sciences, and social sciences.
  • Describe the science of psychology and the basic structures and functions of the human nervous and sensory systems.
  • Explain various states of consciousness, learning theories, and thought processes and development.
  • Summarize the nature of human motivation and development, the human development cycle, and approaches to understanding and assessing personality.
  • Prepare an essay on the topic of conditioning, memory, or motivation and emotion.
  • Recognize psychological disorders and available treatments.
  • Explain social psychology as it relates to attitudes, influences, behaviors, and stress.
  • Use critical thinking skills to determine the likely causes of behaviors of individuals and groups discussed in case studies.

Credit Hours: 3

C08 - American Government  

In this course, you'll explore how the founders formed the government, how it's structured, and how it operates. You'll consider how civil liberties and civil rights are affected by federalism. You'll examine the three branches of government that comprise the system of checks and balances—legislative, executive, and judicial. You'll also learn about the political system of parties and interest groups and how they influence public opinion and participate in the government. You'll find that although the Constitution, in principle, grants certain rights and liberties to the people, many groups still need to be allowed those rights in practice and have had to fight for them. The nature of the US government means that the people have a voice and that the Constitution is a living document because it can be adapted and amended to change with the times.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Analyze how political thinking in America and the historical basis for such thought contributed to the process required to form the foundations of the government
  • Summarize the debate, factors, principles, and events that led to the creation of the US Constitution
  • Explain how our civil rights and civil liberties are affected by federalism
  • Describe the roles and responsibilities of the executive branch of government and how it functions through the federal bureaucracy
  • Describe the roles and responsibilities of the legislative branch of government
  • Describe the roles and responsibilities of the judicial branch of government
  • Explain how political parties and interest groups influence governmental policy and their role in campaigns and elections
  • Identify the ways that public opinion and public participation influence governmental policy

Credit Hours: 3

C11 - Macroeconomics  

This course will cover the topic of macroeconomics, which is the study of the economy as a whole. It analyzes economy-wide phenomena, including inflation, unemployment, and trade deficits.

Macroeconomic information shows up daily in news articles and broadcasts because its implications are important to the quality of our lives. For instance, why is income high in some countries and very low in others? Why do production and employment expand in some years and contract in others?

These questions and many others can be addressed by macroeconomic analysis. Studying macroeconomics can help you better understand how the condition of the overall economy affects us all. You often hear about things like average prices rising at a particular rate (inflation) and the imbalance of trade between the United States and the rest of the world (the trade deficit). This information and several other statistics are compiled and monitored by the economists who study the macro economy.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Explain economic systems and the economic perspective
  • Identify the key factors in macroeconomics and how economists use them to study the economy as a whole
  • Explain the macroeconomic models and fiscal policies
  • Explain money, banking, and financial policy
  • Explain the extending analysis of aggregate supply, current issues in theory and policy, and international economics
  • Analyze foreign exchange and investment and the effects each nation's economy has on another nation's economy

Credit Hours: 3

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Program Description

The General Studies program is designed to prepare you for further study in electives of your choice or for a more advanced degree in your chosen field by establishing a foundation of knowledge that ranges from hard sciences to humanities and the fine arts.

Program Objectives

After completing the General Studies program, you’ll be able to do the following:

  1. Produce college-level writing for academic assignments across content areas.
  2. Solve real-world mathematical problems using fundamental math and algebra concepts.
  3. Apply APA rules to correctly develop paragraphs, cite references, and note direct or indirect quotations.
  4. Explain how fundamental chemical, biological, and ecological principles impact everyday living.
  5. Apply high-level inquiry and problem-solving skills to analyze human behavior and systems.
  6. Explain differing perspectives on politics and the economy.
  7. Identify principal characteristics of the world’s major civilizations.

Open up more possibilities

With our Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies, you will graduate with practical skills and a foundation of knowledge across a range of subject matters. We’ll also give you exclusive access to our Career Tools, where you will get guidance on things like how to write a better resume and sell yourself in an interview. Additional professional development resources, such as tips for using social media and technology in your job search, are also available through The Ashworth College Central Network.

Prepare for career possibilities

The Undergraduate Certificate in General Studies is more than just a semester toward the next degree level, it's your launch pad for career growth. Make every lesson count by taking advantage of the career services provided by the Ashworth College Central Network. From the moment you enroll, you gain access to a complete toolkit of resume and letter templates so you can pitch your new job skills before your coursework is done. After you graduate, feel free to revisit your account any time. Learn more on the Career Services page.

Advance your career in our online API Program Name program. Call 1-800-957-5412