What is General Studies?

With its combination of strong student-centered values, excellent support services, and personalized advising, the General Studies Program (GSP) offers students a great opportunity to grow, learn, and achieve in their first year at NU.  GSP is a one-year, full-time academic program for selected first-year students who excel in small, structured, rigorous learning environments.  The GSP helps students find academic success by offering caring, highly accessible advisors, excellent support services, and an engaged and diverse peer group. The program typically has between 160–180 students.

The curriculum GSP students take serves a two-fold purpose: to fulfill general first-year requirements and to ensure students’ readiness for success in upperclass study. In addition to taking courses that fulfill first-year requirements, students take two GSP seminars which focus on critical thinking and learning strategies.

Because GSP students participate fully in University programs and activities, they enjoy all the benefits and resources available at the University. In addition, GSP students have access to various unique features, including the following:

  • A diverse, friendly community 
  • Critical thinking seminars
  • Frequent one-on-one advising
  • Nationally certified peer tutoring

General Studies students are part of a community dedicated to success. The students come from diverse academic, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds. GSP faculty and staff also have diverse backgrounds, but share common training and focus on first-year college learning. General Studies selects and carefully evaluates its faculty and advisors for their abilities to teach and advise first-year students. They are devoted to teaching and available to students both inside and outside of the classroom. 

GSP advisors work closely with students to monitor their progress and develop their academic strengths. Strategic Thinking and Learning (GENS 1101 & 1102) instructors also serve as students’ academic advisors. These advisors see students each week in class and meet with them frequently outside of class. Students unsure of the major they would like to pursue will be offered guidance in identifying academic interests and strengths through visits to the NU Career Service Center and Skills and Interest Inventories. Peer mentors who meet with the students every week in their GENS seminars are also a valuable source of support, advice, and guidance. Students who have already decided upon their intended majors will be guided and advised to maximize opportunities for successful entry.

The GSP also encourages students to help and mentor each other. Students especially skilled in the course material may serve as peer-tutors-in-training, providing assistance to individuals and small groups of students. The majority of GSP peer tutors, however, have completed extensive, mandated training. These peer tutors are upperclass Northeastern students who were once General Studies freshmen and want to help new GSP students to have as positive an experience as they did. For more information about peer tutoring, please visit the Peer Programs page.