College of General Studies

The College of General Studies’ innovative, integrated, interdisciplinary, 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 their final assignment, the Capstone project. 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 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

The College of General Studies is committed to the belief that freshman and sophomore students are entitled to the most intensive and effective teaching that can be provided for them. Therefore, the College has developed its own innovative approach to teaching through the team structure—a system in which faculty, students, and academic advisors work closely together.

The team system, pioneered by the College, has been described as an intimate “college within a college.” Each freshman faculty team consists of three professors—one from each of the divisions of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Rhetoric. These faculty members are responsible for a team of approximately 90 students who are grouped into three discussion sections. Each sophomore faculty team consists of three professors—one each from the divisions of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, Humanities, and Social Sciences. There is also a professional academic advisor who works with a freshman and sophomore team.

The College avoids the use of intermediaries between the professors and the students. Hence, there are no graduate student teaching assistants, graders, or lab assistants. All discussion sections and labs are led by the professors.

The team system assures students of comparatively small sections, in which discussion and dialogue are emphasized. Professors readily get to know their students and are aware of each student’s individual progress. Team suites provide a comfortable, informal setting for individual conferences and open discussion among students, faculty, and academic advisors. Regular consultation among faculty members enables them to coordinate coursework, reinforcing the interdisciplinary character of the College’s curriculum.