General Arts and Sciences

Students in Lilley LibraryIncreasingly, employers and graduate schools are recognizing that liberal arts graduates have a solid foundation in critical reading, writing, and analytical thinking that encourages lifelong learning. The ability to take individual responsibility for one’s education and to adapt to constant change is highly valued in the workplace.

The General Arts and Sciences major at Penn State Behrend allows students to design a liberal arts program that meets their interests and career goals. Students have four options (Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Science/Mathematics, Liberal Studies), allowing them to select credits from a variety of courses to meet upper-division requirements. This individual program must be approved by the faculty adviser to assure that each student’s plans reflect serious thought and a coherent set of goals.

Why Major in General Arts and Sciences?

Students who choose this major generally do so after their first or second year, feeling that their career goals may not be met by a traditional degree program. In return for the flexibility, students accept greater responsibility for the planning of their educations. Graduates of this program follow a variety of career paths in business, industry, or service sectors, or pursue further graduate or professional studies.

The major also is popular with returning students who want to use transfer credits to their greatest advantage, and with students who don’t have a firm career plan but know they will be more successful with a college degree than without one. The General Arts and Sciences major can also be an excellent career foundation for students planning to pursue a certification program in education.

Contact Dr. Joshua Shaw, Program Chair of General Arts and Sciences, with any questions (

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