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Basic general ed classes before classes for 4 yr Bachelor's degree?

  1. Jun 13, 2010 #1
    I'm in the U.S. and i was wondering if you have to take the general ed classes before the classes that relate to you degree. like the general ed classes could be English 1A, some history classes, etc.. just those. I thought that after you graduate high school you can immediately start working on getting your BA or BS degree? How do I know i need to take the gen ed. classes and how long will those take? To get a degree seems like an avg. 4 yrs, would it be longer with the Ged classes?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2010 #2
    Most schools will require you to take about two courses that are not relevant to your degree. I majored in math and was required to take one social science and one arts & humanities course (which was history and philosophy respectively). Besides that, what courses you choose are up to you.

    Most programs are general enough that you can take a few unrelated courses while you are still figuring out exactly what you want to do.
  4. Jun 13, 2010 #3


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    Most students don't wait until finishing their general education courses before starting on their major-specific courses. They mix them together, usually trying to finish the general-education stuff as soon as possible without impeding progress in the major. I teach at a small liberal-arts college that has a lot of general-education requirements. Most physics majors finish most of the g.-e. requirements by the end of the second year, but most of them still take a few g.-e. courses in the third and even fourth years.

    Your college/university's Web site should list the requirements for a BS degree, including general education requirements.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
  5. Jun 13, 2010 #4


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    At my university in the US, the general ed classes are usually two years worth... maybe a year and a half, they really are just courses you need to toss in during your 4 years of education. The only restrictions at my university are very minor things such as not being able to take more then 2 upper division GE courses in majors that relate to your own major and I think I remember another being you couldn't take certain upper division GE's until you had completed 60 units.

    You do your courses related to your major from the semester you start and GE courses are just sprinkled in around that schedule when you have time. You tend to do most your GE at the start since you're pretty limited with how many courses in your major you can actually take to begin with (then again my only experience and knowledge is of science tracks) in the first year or so.
  6. Jun 13, 2010 #5


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    You can and should start taking the classes for you major as soon as you get to college. The gen ed courses, if they are required (a few schools with no or only one gen ed requirement include Amherst, Brown, Smith, and Kenyon Colleges) can usually be taken at any time before you graduate.
  7. Jun 13, 2010 #6
    The few programs I've seen spread the GE or liberal arts classes over several semesters. For the program I'm enrolled in, the recommended course sequence lists liberal art classes up to the 7th or 8th semester.
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