Degree Type: B.A., B.S.
CIP Code 24.0102
Major Code GNS
Department Code DEA
Degree Website

Recognizing that many prospective students have relocated to the Sarasota-Manatee region, USFSM hopes to serve those who have accrued college credit elsewhere and now seek to complete an undergraduate degree in a timely and economical manner.  The B.A. or B.S. degree in General Studies is designed to accommodate as much transferred credit as possible while developing a broad base of knowledge and skills for a variety of career applications.


The mission for the Bachelor of General Studies major (GNS) is to develop college-level generalized knowledge and competency.  Therefore, students pursue three content areas of concentration; competency in effective writing and critical thinking; and conversance in concepts of leadership, ethics, diversity, and civic engagement.

This is a “degree completion” major intended to serve students who, for a variety of reasons, might not seek or be eligible for any of the other major options at USFSM.  The GNS is not intended for currently enrolled USFSM students making satisfactory progress toward degree completion.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The curriculum for the B.A. or B.S. degree in General Studies develops the ability to do the following:

  • Demonstrate conversance in the essential facts and/or skills of a concentration area, as determined by the discipline faculty.
  • Demonstrate conversance in the essential principles, theories, and/or problems of a concentration area, as determined by the discipline faculty.
  • Think critically in analysis of problems related to the concentration areas.
  • Write analytic argument effectively and correctly.

Admissions Requirements

In order to be admitted into the Bachelor of General Studies (GNS) program at USFSM, applicants must:

  • Have satisfactorily completed at least 60 credits at a regionally accredited college or university
  • Be in good standing with the most recent former educational institution
  • Meet USFSM general admissions standards for transfer students
  • Be approved for admittance to the GNS program by the dean of the College of Liberal Arts  and Social Sciences (CLASS)

Admissions Process

  • After admission to USFSM, meet with the CLASS academic advisor
  • With the advisor, complete the GNS Curriculum Audit
  • Fill out and submit to the advisor a GNS Applicant Profile
  • If currently a USFSM student, submit a letter from your current dean supporting your request to change your major to GNS


Students majoring in General Studies must meet all degree requirements of USFSM and CLASS.

GNS majors must earn at least a C (not C-) in all concentration courses and the capstone course.

State-Mandated Common Prerequisites

There are no State-Mandated Common Prerequisites for the General Studies degree program.

Program of Study

The General Studies degree is not intended for students who enter USFSM with fewer than 60 credits.

A minimum of 37 semester hours of major coursework is required of all undergraduate majors in General Studies.

  • Students must meet with an advisor to declare three (3) areas of concentration when they declare the General Studies major. Each concentration must have at least three upper-level courses (9 credits).
  • One (1) concentration may be entirely transfer credit.
  • Two of the three concentrations, which may include transfer credit, will be examined in the last semester and the two selected will be those with the most USFSM credit.
  • Either within their concentrations or as electives, students must take upper-level courses with the following emphases:
    • writing
    • critical thinking
    • leadership and ethics
    • diversity and engagement
  • In the final semester, students must take a capstone course (SLS 3113, 1 credit), in which they will take essay exams in two of their areas of concentration.

Degree Requirements



  • General Education Curriculum – 36 credit (exempt for transfers with completed Florida Gen. Ed.)
  • USFSM Foundation Sequence – 3 credits (exempt for transfers with 60 credits)

For B.A. only:  Foreign Language Requirement (0-2 courses / 0-8 credits)

  • Satisfactory completion of SPN 1121 or tested competency at that level
  • Satisfactory completion of ASL 2150 or tested competency at that level

Electives: upper- or lower-level to bring credits to 60



Concentrations: (at least 12 upper-level courses, 36 credits)

Students choose three (3) concentrations.  Coursework done at another institution may be counted for concentration credit.  Only one concentration may be fully transfer credit; however, this concentration is limited to three (3) courses (9 credits), and may not be considered for examination.  At least two concentrations must be curricula offered at USFSM and include courses taken at USFSM.

  • Concentration A (4-5 upper-level courses, 12-15 credits) – Subject to examination
  • Concentration B (4-5 upper-level courses, 12-15 credits) – Subject to examination
  • Concentration C (3-4 upper-level courses, 9-12 credits)

Pillars: (can be satisfied through concentrations or electives)

  • Ethics and Leadership Pillars Course (1 course)
  • Community Engagement and Diversity Pillars Course (1 course)

Writing course: (1 upper-level course / 3 credits) (can be satisfied through concentrations or electives)
Course must be approved by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Critical Thinking course: (1 upper-level course) (can be satisfied through concentrations or electives)
Students should select an approved critical thinking course as listed on the IBCT website,

Capstone Course, SLS 3113 (1 credit, must be taken at USFSM): Students take an essay exam in each of two concentrations.  The exam average must be 70 or above for the student to pass this required course.

Course Number Title Credit Hours Requisites (KEY) Notes (KEY)
SLS 3113 Critical Thought for Academic Transitions 1 Permit required

Should be taken in the final semester of the major, except will not be offered in summer.

Students planning to complete in summer should try to complete concentrations before taking the capstone in spring, or they should plan to enroll in the capstone in fall.

Electives: Upper-level electives as needed to reach minimum of 42 upper-level credits.

If additional credits are needed to reach 120, students may choose upper or lower level electives.