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General Studies Student Resources

Mackay Statue in the SpringProgram Requirements

  • Students must complete a 30-credit cluster of thematically-related coursework
  • Eighteen of the 30 credits must be 300-400 level
  • The thematic cluster must include coursework crossing three departments within one college or two colleges
    • To see which departments fall under each college, view the UNR course catalog at
  • The student will design the cluster and may use courses already completed. Students submit a cluster proposal which lists the courses being used in the thematic cluster along with a proposal paper that defends the use of the coursework as a thematic cluster
  • Students in the General Studies program may declare no more than two minors
    • A maximum of 9 credits from any minor may be included in the thematic cluster
  • Students must also complete additional coursework related to General Education totaling 60 credits. The curriculum for this coursework can be found in the following document: BGS Information Handout

Cluster Proposals

The cluster proposal is the heart of the General Studies degree. The cluster proposal paper is designed to synthesize the coursework from a student's thematic cluster. This academic narrative should clearly explain the importance of the thematic cluster to a student's educational and/or career goals. This narrative is evaluated based upon the following components:

  • Completion of the thematic cluster form
  • A title representative of the content of your thematic cluster
  • A description of the courses that are proposed to be included in the thematic cluster
  • An explanation of how the content of the courses fit together to form a coherent program of study that interests the student
  • A discussion of the ways in which the thematic cluster fits your educational, career, and/or personal goals
  • Overall writing quality

If student needs to change a course that they have already proposed in their thematic cluster proposal, they must submit a substitution request, including a brief write-up of how the new course fits with the approved thematic cluster.

Program Deadlines

We suggest that you submit your cluster proposal at least two semesters in advance of graduation. In addition, there are final deadlines which students must abide by in order to graduate in the appropriate semester. Those dates are as follows:

  • For Fall 2016 graduation:  August 1, 2016
  • For Spring 2017 graduation:  November 1, 2016
  • For Summer 2017 graduation:  February 1, 2017

All cluster proposals must be submitted to the University Advising Center in Pennington Student Achievement Center, Suite 405.

Helpful Resources for the Thematic Cluster

Thematic Cluster Form

Cluster Proposal Guidelines

Sample Cluster Proposals

Substitution Request Form

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