College of General Studies

Choosing Online Courses

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College of General Studies online courses are available in a veriety of formats. This page is designed to help you decide which format is best for you and identify which courses are available in that format.  

What Format is Right for Me? 

The first step in finding a course that is right for you involves answering these questions:

  1. Are you available to meet on the Pittsburgh campus a few times during the term? 
  2. Do you have the self-discipline to work through material on your own? 

Compare the differences in formats shown below to find those that will work for you and your schedule. 

Course Feature

Course Format
(also called "modality" or "instructional delivery method") 

Face-to-face instruction
(meetings in a classroom) 
NoneSome, but only at scheduled dates - check the course descriptionSome, but only at scheduled dates - check the course description 
Web-based instructionYesYesYes
Web-based discussion, activities, and interaction with instructor and fellow studentsRequiredRequiredSometimes required - check syllabus
ScheduleAll students move through the material together, with flexibility within the week*All students move through the material together, with flexibility within the week*Students work on the material at their own pace, but target dates are supplied*
Must complete within one term?Yes**Yes**Yes**


*For specific deadlines and targets, check the syllabus and schedule for your course in Blackboard. 

** Although CGS Online courses have greater flexibility than traditional face-to-face courses, all requirements for CGS Online courses must be completed within a single term unless extenuating personal circumstances intervene.  See the G-grade policy for your school and your course; many courses follow the College of General Studies G-Grade Policy.  

What is Available? 

Now that you know what class format(s) you want, you can search for courses available in an upcoming term with the Course Search Tool.  

  1. Go to the General Studies drop-down menu, third from the top of the list
  2. Select the format you are interested in: CGS Online – Web, CGS Online – Hybrid, or CGS Online – Self-Paced
  3. Click the button to the right for the term you are interested in
  4. From the results page, click on a course to view its description, including the dates and locations of any required meetings or workshops

Many courses satisfy general education requirements in the College of General Studies, or can be used as part of a major or certificate program.  A sample listing of courses available by modality:

Web Hybrid Self-Paced
Medical Sociology Introduction to International Economics Academic and Career Exploration Introduction to Asian Art
Risk Factors and Health Media and Consumer Culture Written Professional Communication Seminar in Composition
Abnormal Psychology Introduction to World Art Visual Literacy Introduction to Legal Research
Health Communication Television and Society Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality Greek Tragedy
Minority Groups Archaeology: An Overview Ireland Intermediate Microeconomics
Human Factors in System Design Physical Anthropology: An Overview Russian Fairy Tales Labor and the Economy
Statistics and Probability for Business Management Psychology of Gender Sci-Fi: East and West World Politics
Public Service Technologies Introduction to Literature Vampire: Blood and Empire American Presidency
Introduction to Cybercrime Principles of Behavior Modification Interpersonal Communication Civil War History
Introduction to Logic Organizational Communication    
Introduction to Microeconomic Theory Health Psychology    

Ready to Register?  

Current students can register for CGS Online courses through the University portal at, just as they do for their face-to-face courses.  Students from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences or other schools should discuss their registration intentions with their advisor and observe the relevant policies and procedures. 

New students should read about the application process and submit an application to the College of General Studies.