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Associate of Arts in General Education

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Earn a General Education Degree and Expand Your Knowledge and Opportunities

A well-rounded education is vital for living a more rewarding life, and in preparing you for further study in a major field of specialization. National University’s Associate of Arts in General Education program provides the building blocks for your intellectual growth with instruction on English and mathematical skills, as well as the humanities, information literacy, science, and social science disciplines.

Your general education curriculum will begin with a focus on writing and speech, then expand to develop your abstract reasoning capabilities through courses in mathematics and informational literacy. Finally, you’ll explore the natural sciences, humanities, fine arts, language, and the social and behavioral sciences. Throughout many of these courses, the instruction will include an examination of the human condition in a multicultural society.

Pursuing an associate of arts in general education is an opportunity for discovery and self-improvement on its own, but it also serves as an introduction to and foundation for areas of study you may want to explore further. It prepares you for a more insightful, rewarding life, whether you aspire to additional education or not.

Why National University’s Online General Education Program?

  • Hands-On Learning in the Essentials of Education. With new writing and speech skills and a better understanding of mathematics, the sciences, and multicultural environments, you’ll have a firm foundation for communicating, learning, and decision-making in all aspects of life and work.
  • Designed for Working Professionals. Our program offers asynchronous and online course formats that fit the busy schedules of adult learners with convenient four-week courses, monthly starts, and year-round enrollment.
  • Tools for Life and More Advanced Studies. The focus on communication fundamentals combined with a broad range of math, science, humanities, and cultural subjects prepares you for a lifetime of personal growth, self-development, and greater possibilities for further education.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

Course Details

Requirements for the Concentration

  •  8 courses; 36 quarter units

This concentration is designed for students enrolled in the Associate of Arts degree to provide a broad base of introductory business-related disciplines. Students completing this degree and concentration are prepared for entry-level positions in business and/or articulation into a bachelor’s program in business.

Key mathematical and statistical concepts useful for understanding business problems and making informed decisions with the right tools are introduced. Concepts relate to numbers, formulas, linear equation models and descriptive statistics. Applications focus on personal decisions and decisions within businesses in the areas of finance, discounts, pricing, interest rates, loans, insurance, investment, payroll and taxes. Microsoft Excel is the software used in this class. MNS 205 and MTH 210 are the primary quantitative courses required for MNS 407. Students who have taken college algebra or calculus (MTH 215 or MTH 220) are exempt from this course.

In this course, students will study the price system, market structures, and consumer theory. Topics covered include supply and demand, price controls, public policy, the theory of the firm, cost and revenue concepts, forms of competition, elasticity, and efficient resource allocation, among others.

This course provides an examination of aggregate economic activity. It includes a study of aggregate supply and demand, the monetary and banking systems, aggregate economic accounting, inflation, unemployment, the business cycle, macroeconomic policy, and economic progress and stability, among other things.

A survey of basic accounting theory and the application of accounting principles, this course includes the recording and summarization of business transactions in the form of financial statements under the rules of generally accepted accounting principles. (GAAP). It is designed for students who have little or no prior knowledge of financial accounting. This course corresponds to Principles of Accounting I at other colleges.

PrerequisiteACC 201

This course is an overview of the use of financial accounting and cost accounting data for the design and preparation of reports to aid management in organizing, directing, controlling, and decision-making functions. The topics include the fundamentals of cost accounting, budgeting, and responsibility accounting for cost and profit centers.

PrerequisiteACC 201

This course is a survey of the basic principles and concepts used in the financial management of a business enterprise addressed from both theoretical and practical standpoints. Topics include money and capital markets, financial management of working capital, capital budgeting and fixed asset management, cost of capital, and short-term and long-term financing by means of debt and equity capital.

A survey of contracts, sales, agencies, personal property, commercial paper, and associated topics. Emphasizes prevention of litigation and liability arising from business operations.

Introduction to the roles of managers and the vision, mission and goals of organizations. Investigates management theories and explores the four primary functions of managers: planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Covers issues related to human resource management, organizational structure and behavior, creative problem solving, effective communication, and the management of teams, change and innovation.

Associate of Arts in General Education Degree and Course Requirements

To receive the AA degree in General Education, students must complete at least 90 quarter units, 18 of which must be taken in residence at National University. Of the 90 units required, 69 must fall into the areas of General Education as listed below. A list of courses for each category can be found in the General Education section of the Catalog under General Education for Bachelor Degrees. In the absence of transfer credit, additional general elective courses may be taken to fulfill the total unit requirement for the degree. 

The General Education Program consists of a minimum of 69 quarter units. Of the 69 units, students must complete at least 4.5 units at the upper-division level and 4.5 units in diversity enriched coursework. A plus [+] indicates a diversity enriched offering.

Students are urged to meet English and mathematics requirements as early as possible in their college studies to avoid serious difficulties in other coursework. Refer to the section on Undergraduate Admission Procedures for specific information regarding application and placement evaluation.

AREA A:         English Communication (Minimum 13.5 quarter units)

AREA B:         Mathematical Concepts & Quantitative Reasoning (Minimum 4.5 quarter units)

AREA C:         Information Literacy (Minimum 4.5 quarter units)

AREA D:         Arts, Humanities, & Languages (Minimum 18 quarter units in at least 2 areas)

AREA E:         Social & Behavioral Sciences (Minimum 13.5 quarter units)

AREA F:         Physical & Biological Sciences (Minimum 6 quarter units)*

                        *Note: one science lab is required

AREA G:        Lifelong Learning & Self Development (Minimum 4.5 quarter units)

AREA A-G:     General Education (Minimum 4.5 quarter units)

With an emphasis on literacy, math, business, and the sciences, National University’s Associate of Arts in General Studies degree prepares you for a lifetime of personal development, greater possibilities for more advanced education, and jobs that require a solid foundation in communication, math, and business fundamentals.

Career Opportunities in the General Education Field

  • Bookkeeping and accounting
  • Computer support specialists
  • Preschool teachers and teaching assistants
  • Paralegals and legal assistants

Employers of General Education Graduates

  • Business, government, and non-profit accounting departments
  • Computer support centers
  • Public and private education providers
  • Law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies

National University has always been dedicated to meeting the needs of working adult learners. While earning your degree is important to your future, you don’t need to put your life on hold to do so.

The Associate of Arts in General Education can be completed 100% online, so you can study when and where it’s most convenient for you. You will engage with faculty weekly and participate in discussions with faculty and classmates on threaded online discussion boards. Quizzes and exams are completed online, and you can submit your papers or homework directly to your professors through the online portal.

Program Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this program, you’ll be able to demonstrate:

  • A capacity for responsible citizenship in a diverse society
  • Skills for self-development that contribute to lifelong learning 
  • Literacy in written and oral communication
  • Information literacy skills in developing research projects and presentations
  • Awareness of past and present human and cultural diversity
  • Ability to identify ethical issues raised in different disciplines
  • Scientific and quantitative literacy skills in appraising information and solving problems
  • Ability to use the elements of critical thinking to analyze issues, solve problems, and make decisions
  • Ability to work successfully in a team

Hear From Our Faculty

Learn more about the Associate of Arts in General Education at National University.


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-Francisco R., Class of 2016

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Frequently Asked Questions

The growing business and education sectors are always in need of team members with foundational training in communications and business. Your career path could include a variety of bookkeeping, accounting, or computer support opportunities, as well as teaching assistant and paralegal professions.

General education studies provide essential self-development skills in literacy, math, business, and sciences that form a foundation for lifelong learning. They also help prepare students with the fundamentals necessary for more advanced education.

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review programspecific requirements. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.