The Associate Degree
About the Traditional Associate Degree
An associate degree is an undergraduate academic degree consisting of a minimum of 60 degree-applicable semester units including general education (GE) requirements, major or emphasis requirements, and (if necessary) free electives. Associate degrees may be earned in academic disciplines, and/or career/technical areas, or in the arts, mathematics, sciences, and humanities areas.
Requirements for the Associate Degree
- Major/Area of Emphasis and General Education
Choose from these two options and complete the required general education (GE) and Major or an Area of Emphasis (18 units minimum)
- Associate in Arts (AA) or Associate in Science (AS) in a specific major.
- Associate in Arts (AA) degree in General Studies, Patterns I, Pattern II or III.
2. Units: Satisfactorily complete at least 60-semester units of degree-applicable college credit coursework (General Studies Patterns II and III degrees require all 60 units to be CSU transferable units)
3. Grades: Earn a grade of “C” or better or a "P", if the course is taken on a "pass-no-pass" basis (Title 5 § 55063), in every course in the selected major or area of emphasis. Even though a grade of "P" is allowed, it is highly recommended that students complete all their major or area of emphasis coursework for a letter grade (A, B, or C).
Note: Universities have limitations on the number of units that can be taken "pass-no-pass" and therefore it is strongly recommended that students take all major coursework for a letter grade. Most universities also have limitations on the number of general education units that can be taken on a "pass/no pass" basis.
4. GPA: Achieve a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better in degree-applicable college credit coursework.
5. Competency: Demonstrate competency in reading, written expression, and mathematics.
a. Reading – Minimum competency in reading is satisfied by completion of the requirements for the associate degree.
b. Written Expression – Minimum competency in written expression is satisfied by one of the following:
- Successful completion (A, B, C, or P) of a college English Composition course at the freshmen composition level; or
- Successful completion (A, B, C, or P) of an equivalent English Composition course from a regionally accredited institution; or
- A score of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) Language and Composition; or
- A score of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) Literature and Composition; or
- A score of 5 or higher on the International Baccalaureate (IB) English HL exam; or
- A score of 50 or higher on the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam.
c. Mathematics – Minimum competency in mathematics is satisfied by one of the following:
- Successful completion (A, B, C, or P) of a high school mathematics course in Intermediate Algebra or taught at the level of Intermediate Algebra (i.e. High School Algebra II or Integrated Mathematics 3).
- Successful completion (A, B, C, or P) of a high school mathematics course with Intermediate Algebra or equivalent or higher as its prerequisite (i.e. Math Analysis, Financial Algebra, College Algebra, IB Math HL 1, IB Math HL2, IB Math Applications and Interpretation SL, Trigonometry, Analytic Geometry, Statistics, Precalculus, Calculus or higher.
- Successful completion (A, B, C, or P) of a college mathematics course in Intermediate Algebra; or
- Successful completion (A, B, C, or P) of a course offered by the college mathematics department with an Intermediate Algebra or higher prerequisite; or
- Successful completion (A, B, C, or P) of a course offered by a different department with an enforced prerequisite of Intermediate Algebra or higher; or
- A score of 3 or higher on the AP Precalculus exam; or
- A score of 3 or higher on the AP Calculus AB or Calculus BC exam; or
- A score of 3 or higher on the AP Statistics exam; or
- A score of 4 or higher on the IB Mathematics HL exam; or
- A score of 50 or higher on the CLEP College Mathematics or Precalculus exam; or
- Successful passing of the VCCCD math competency exam; or
- Successful completion (A, B, C, or P) of any course offered by the college’s math department, or approved by the math department if offered by another department, which includes demonstrated ability in all of the following:
- Simplify rational expressions and solve rational equations
- Solve problems and applications involving systems of equations in three variables
- Graph systems of inequalities in two variables
- Simplify expressions involving positive, negative, and rational exponents
- Perform mathematical operations on radical expressions and solve radical equations
- Solve quadratic equations and their applications using multiple methods
- Graph and evaluate elementary functions. Use definitions, domain and range, algebra and composition of functions on related applications.
- Solve elementary exponential and logarithmic equations and related applications.
6. Residency: Complete a minimum of 12 semester units in residence at the college granting the degree. Exceptions to the residency requirement can be made by the Board when an injustice or undue hardship would otherwise be placed on the student.
References: AP 4025 Philosophy and Criteria for Associate Degree and General Education; last reviewed by the VCCCD Board of Trustees in 2017. AP 4100 Graduation Requirements for Degrees and Certificates; last reviewed by the VCCCD Board of Trustees in December 2022.