Degree Components

Degree Components
What are the major pieces that make up an Ohio State degree?

Your Ohio State degree will be comprised of General Education (GE) courses, major coursework and electives. You could also consider completing two majors or adding a minor to your program. Advisors can assist you in determining the best courses to take to explore majors and fit your interests and skills, while ensuring that you are meeting overall degree requirements and making degree progress.

What each component means

General Education (GE)

Ohio State is a liberal arts institution and has a core curriculum called the General Education. Regardless of major, every undergraduate student completes coursework in a mutitude of categories. GE courses comprise nearly a third of most students' degree programs; students focus on completing GE requirements as a way of exploring majors or careers, connecting interests, and making degree progress.

Single Major

In addition to completing GE requirements, you will declare a major. Your major will concentrate a significant portion of your courses and studies into one subject area. This will help you build skills and knowledge in an area of interest and strength for you. Majors range widely in size but must be more than 27 semester credit hours of coursework.

Multiple Majors

Some students select more than one major. Depending on the majors chosen you will complete:

  • Second Major: this can refer to the completion of two majors in the same college (e.g. Biology and Women's Studies, both of which are in Arts and Sciences) that are of the same degree type (e.g. BS, BA, BFA, BSBA). You can also add a major to some degree programs--in these cases you would complete the general education requirements specific to one of the programs and add a major to it (completing all requirements for the second major but not completing any additional GE requirements). An advisor can discuss the possible options for a second major with you. In this case, you earn one diploma and must complete both majors at the same time.
  • Dual Degree: this refers to completion of majors in different colleges (e.g. Electrical Engineering in College of Engineering and Accounting in the College of Business), of two different degree types, or completing majors within the same college and degree type where there is no course overlap. When you complete a dual degree, you will complete both the specific major requirements and the required GE requirements. You earn one diploma for each degree and can complete the degrees at different times or at the same time.

A minor exposes you to coursework that gives you proficiency in additional subject matter and consists of at least 14 semester hours of coursework. Minors need to be selected from outside the area of the major in most cases and can compliment a major or serve as an opportunity to explore additional academic interests. Coursework used on a minor may also overlap with a general education requirement in some cases. Certain major programs require that a student declare a particular minor while others leave the option open to the student.

Adding multiple minors is also a great opportunity for a student with many diverse interests. Minors take fewer credit hours to complete, can overlap to count as a GE requirement on the minor, and they don't have a separate GE to complete (as is the case with dual degrees).


After completing GE and major requirements, students often have room for electives. These electives can explore a thematic area of interest or allow a student to take coursework across a variety of disciplines and interests. Electives may be required to reach the 120 hour minimum for any OSU program (note, certain programs have a higher number of minimum hours required for graduation).