A.A./A.S. in General Studies

Earn your General Studies Degree at SUNY Empire State College

Our Associate in Arts or Associate in Science in General Studies is a 64-credit program that is a great option for students who have completed some college credits but have not yet earned a degree, as well as for students who are just beginning their college careers.  This degree is also a good choice for students who want to develop strong foundational learning on their way to a bachelor's degree. 

Of the 64 credits required to complete the program, up to 52 credits of advanced standing credit will be accepted, an exception to the college's regular residency requirement of 24 credits for an associate degree, with the remaining 12 credits to be completed in residence at SUNY Empire State College. Within the 64 required credits, students must complete at least 30 credits across seven of ten SUNY General Education areas, including at least three credits each in Mathematics and Basic Communication.  Four credits of Educational Planning are also required.  The program must fulfill breadth, meaning that it covers diverse knowledge areas, and depth by which students may take multiple courses in one or more subject areas.

Students work with a mentor to individually design a degree plan that maximizes previously earned credits while completing college learning objectives.  In order to graduate, students must have a degree plan concurred by the Office of Academic Review.  Each degree plan must contain at least 32 credits designated as liberal studies.  Students with between 32 and 48 liberal arts credits will earn an Associate in Science degree (A.S.), while those who earn more than 48 credits in liberal studies will earn an Associate in Arts degrees (A.A.).  These credits may then become part of bachelor’s degree or certificate program for students who choose to continue beyond the associate degree.



The admissions requirements for the A.A. or A.S. in General Studies will be the same as current undergraduate admissions requirements. The program is an an exception to the college's regular residency requirement of 24 credits for an associate degree, with students needing to complete a minimum of 12 credits at SUNY Empire.

A.A./A.S. in General Studies Program Requirements

This program allows for a maximum of 52 advanced standing credits with a minimum of 12 credits earned at SUNY Empire State College for a total of 64 credits.

Of these 64 credits, 30 must meet SUNY General Education requirements in a minimum of seven out of ten areas.

Students with a minimum of 48 Liberal Arts and Sciences courses will be awarded an Associate in Arts, while students with fewer than 48 but with a minimum of 32 Liberal Arts and Sciences courses will earn an Associate in Sciences degree.

Course List


Maximum Advanced Standing  


Minimum Residency Requirements:


Required Course #1: Educational Planning


Required Course #2: Elective


Required Course #3: Elective


Total Credits


Program Outcomes

The interdisciplinary and general studies approach of the program makes it possible for students to broadly explore their academic interests without having to define a disciplinary focus, while laying a foundation for the next step in their educational path.  Further, the educational objectives include:

  • Demonstration of breadth and progression in college level learning, including SUNY Empire's college learning goals.
  • Meeting SUNY general education requirements in at least seven content areas, including Math and General Education.
  • Completion of Educational Planning.
  • Consideration of college-level learning prior learning assessment options.

Tips for Mentors and Students

Students at SUNY Empire State College write a rationale essay as part of the Educational Planning process.  Students in the General Studies program may instead use this worksheet Associate Degree in General Studies Worksheet


Contact Us

Administrative Assistant for the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Liza Rieger
914-948-6206 ext. 3589

Coordinator for Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary Studies

Cindy Conaway, PhD
Prospective students should contact enroll@esc.edu