College of General Studies

The College of General Studies’ innovative, integrated, interdisciplinary, global, team-based program inspires students to make connections between disciplines and to connect their knowledge to real-world problems. During their two years at CGS, students fulfill most of their BU Hub requirements and complete electives toward their majors. In their junior year, they continue into their specific majors in one of the University’s liberal arts and professional degree programs.

The CGS Program

With over six decades of leadership in general education, CGS embodies the BU Hub’s commitment to the depth and breadth of interdisciplinary knowledge. Three faculty teach a team of 80–100 students, helping students to connect with each other while providing an integrated curriculum of social science, rhetoric, humanities, and natural science. Students apply their interdisciplinary education to real-world problems through experiential assignments and the Capstone project at the end of the second year. CGS gives students a unique pathway through BU, building skills and knowledge that students take into their chosen major in one of BU’s other schools or colleges. Its interdisciplinary global program prepares students for their majors—and their careers—having learned: how to apply broad learning to a problem that transcends disciplines; how to think analytically, critically, and creatively; and how to communicate effectively. These skills propel CGS alumni to succeed in any profession—from education to entertainment to business to medical fields.

The Team Structure

CGS aims to provide the most effective and intensive teaching possible through an innovative system of instruction and advising: the team approach. The team structure reinforces the interdisciplinary character of the college’s program, and a team is often called a “college within a college.”

Three professors on a team teach three cross-disciplinary courses to a team of 80–100 students. In the first year of the program, the faculty team has professors from the divisions of social sciences, humanities, and rhetoric. In the second year, the team has professors from the divisions of natural sciences and mathematics, humanities, and social sciences. The faculty meet regularly together and with a professional academic advisor to coordinate coursework and to discuss the progress of their students. This team meeting enhances professors’ understanding of their students and helps them plan interdisciplinary projects that make connections between courses.

CGS professors are full-time BU faculty appointed to the college and are fascinating, accomplished scholars and scientists who also love to teach. CGS has no intermediaries between the students and their professors—no teaching assistants, teaching fellows, lab assistants, or graders. The professors grade exams, read every word of students’ essays, and evaluate term papers themselves.

Similarly, our academic advisors are full-time professionals with master’s degrees or higher in education, counseling, social work, and other relevant areas. Their chief responsibility is successfully guiding students in their academic progress, particularly in their selection of courses, majors, and career paths.

Professors and advisors come to know their students. They know their work, their writing, and their interests. These relationships enhance student learning and growth and foster their success at Boston University.