Credits and costs
Broaden Your Career Opportunities with an Online Liberal Arts Associate Degree
Build a solid foundation for a future career. Increase your writing and speaking skills by taking courses in the arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, and quantification. The course work can help you prepare for a future career, or you can transfer the credits you’ve earned in the program toward a more advanced degree such as:
- Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies
- Bachelor of Arts in Labor and Human Relations
- Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society
- Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
- Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Why a Multidisciplinary Studies Degree Online at Penn State?
Customize your degree — The Associate in Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies at Penn State is a student-designed major that allows you to use elective courses to enhance your learning experience in business, history, or math.
Immediate results — While earning your associate degree online, you can add credentials to your résumé by acquiring a professional certificate. For example, both the Undergraduate Certificate in Organizational Communication and the Undergraduate Certificate in Labor and Human Resources include many of the courses required for the Associate in Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies. You can gain credits toward the associate degree while also achieving these notable milestones along the way.
The Penn State Difference — In this program, you will have the opportunity to study with highly regarded faculty from Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts, one of the premier institutions in the world to study and work in the liberal arts disciplines.
Who Should Apply?
Create opportunity — If you are interested in exploring new job opportunities or if you want to prepare for entry-level positions, a career change, or career advancement without having to set foot in a classroom, the Associate in Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies could be for you. With the broad base of knowledge, communication, and critical thinking skills you can acquire in this program, you can immediately apply what you’ve learned in your present job — and add an important credential to your résumé.
The 60-credit Associate in Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies is an excellent way to build a solid educational base and expand your career options as a working adult. In this program, you can enhance your written and speech communication skills and broaden your understanding of many subjects. You may also use the elective requirements for the degree to focus on a particular area of interest, such as business, history, or math. In addition, students in this associate degree program have ample opportunity to earn one or more related professional certificates along the way.
Contact an adviser by email or by phone at 800-252-3592 to learn more about how to reach these impressive, résumé-building milestones on your educational path to an associate degree.
The degree's 30 credits of major courses focus on writing and speaking skills, the arts, the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, and quantification. A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of "C" or better in all courses required for the major.
Prescribed Courses (6 credits)
Additional Courses (select 3 credits)
Select one of the following:
Supporting Courses and Related Areas (21 credits)
- Any additional course designated arts (GA) — 3 credits
- Any additional course designated humanities (GH) — 3 credits
- Any additional course designated social and behavioral sciences (GS) — 3 credits
- Any additional course designated natural sciences (GN) — 3 credits
- Any combination of courses in ONE of the following areas: arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences and quantification; one foreign language — 9 credits
Elective Courses (15 credits)
Courses chosen in consultation with an adviser.
General Education Requirements
Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Arts (GA): 3 credits
- Humanities (GH): 3 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 3 credits
- Quantification (GQ): 3 credits
- Any General Education course, including Integrative Studies (Inter-domain or Linked courses): 3 credits
- United States Cultures (US), or International Cultures (IL) or combined designation (US; IL): 3 credits
May be satisfied by designated courses that also meet other degree or General Education requirements.
- Writing Across the Curriculum (W, M, X, Y): 3 credits
May be satisfied by designated courses that also meet other degree or General Education requirements.
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||If you have 59 or fewer credits||If you have 60 or more credits|
|11 or fewer||$620 per credit||$664 per credit|
|12 or more||$7,527 per semester||$8,125 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Fall Deadline: Apply by June 30 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by October 31 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 15, 2024, to start May 13, 2024
New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.
Thank you for your interest in applying to this program. Contact an admissions counselor to discuss your educational goals, financial aid options, and application deadlines.
To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate or have completed your GED.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need the following items to complete your application:
High school transcripts or GED transcript — First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR). Official high school transcripts will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.
Official college or university transcripts, if you attended another institution, and/or official military transcripts (if applicable) — All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.
Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Please send your transcripts by mail or electronically through Parchment, eScrip-Safe, or the National Student Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where course work was attempted.
Submit official documents by mail to:
Undergraduate Admissions Office
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
Start Your Application
Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.
If this is your first time applying to Penn State, you'll need to complete the following steps:
- Review the application instructions before beginning.
- Complete the online application and submit all official documents.
- Pay the application fee.
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form and choosing "MyPennState — Check Application Status." Your decision letter (confirming your acceptance or denial) will be mailed four to six weeks after receipt of all application materials. An admissions counselor will contact you if additional information is required.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State associate degree?
Start Your Career
Start Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this multidisciplinary studies degree program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
To learn more about the Associate in Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, please contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
DegreePh.D., Educational Leadership, Penn State
DegreeM.A., English Education, University of Puerto Rico
DegreeB.A., English, University of Puerto Rico
Dr. Stephanie Cardona is an academic advising liaison and instructor with Penn State World Campus for interdisciplinary programs in the College of the Liberal Arts. A Penn Stater since 2008 living in Key West, Florida, Stephanie has been teaching in higher education for 19 years in the areas of English and composition. Her interests and skills are in the areas of curriculum development and design, qualitative research, distance learning, culturally relevant pedagogies, and immersive technologies.
DegreeM.S., College Student Personnel, Western Illinois University
DegreeB.A., Sociology & Social Psychology, University of Minnesota
John Kryst is an academic adviser and instructor with Penn State World Campus in multiple College of the Liberal Arts programs. John has been with Penn State since 2012. Currently living in New York, John has lived in Minnesota, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, working in higher education since 2007. He has served many student populations in that time and is passionate about education being accessible and open to anyone seeking to learn.
DegreeD.Ed., Adult Education, Penn State
DegreeM.A., English, Penn State
DegreeB.A., English, Penn State
Dr. Avis Kunz is the senior assistant dean for Online Education and Outreach and the director of the Filippelli Institute for e-Education and Outreach in the College of the Liberal Arts. Her interests are broadly in distance learning and teaching and administration of online programs. She has more than 25 years of experience in educational administration, including community colleges, community education, adult literacy, and Penn State.
DegreePh.D., Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine
DegreeM.A., Political Science, Virginia Tech
DegreeB.A., English, Virginia Tech
Dr. Bryan McDonald is the director of interdisciplinary programs in the College of the Liberal Arts and an associate professor of history. Dr. McDonald is a historian of modern America with research and teaching interests in food security and food systems. He is currently working on a book project that explores the history of food as a security issue in modern America. He is the author of Food Power: The Rise and Fall of the Postwar American Food System (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Food Security (Polity Press, 2010) and the co-editor of Global Environmental Change and Human Security (MIT Press, 2009) and Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and War’s Hidden Legacy (SUNY Press, 2004). He has published more than 25 articles, book chapters, reviews, and policy documents.
DegreeM.A., Leadership, Georgetown University
DegreeB.A., Communication with minor in Journalism, Wake Forest University
Tycely Williams is a certified fundraising executive who has led teams that have raised and managed more than $580 million. She is the chief development officer at The Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. In her career of more than 20 years, she has held C-Suite leadership positions at America’s Promise Alliance, The American Red Cross, and YWCA USA. She has extensive experience governing organizations and is an award-winning philanthropic thought leader with features in numerous publications, including The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The L.A. Times, The Nonprofit Times, and The Washington Post.
DegreeM.A., Education, Ashford University
DegreeB.A., Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Andrea Woerman has worked in the field of higher education for 13 years as both an academic adviser and an instructor, specializing in adult learner and military student populations. She has seen many students through to graduation and thoroughly enjoys developing students and seeing them move their lives forward using education as a tool. Andrea considers herself a lifelong learner and is passionate about education, continuous self-improvement, and animal welfare.