The Traditional 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 and/or career/technical disciplines.
Requirements for the Traditional Associate Degree
- Major/Area of Emphasis and General Education: Choose from these two options and complete Major or Area of Emphasis requirements (18 units minimum) and General Education requirements (29–32 units minimum):
- Units: Satisfactorily complete at least 60-semester units of degree-applicable college credit courses (as defined in Title 5 § 55002(a)). (General Studies Patterns II & III degrees require all 60 units to be CSU transferable units).
- Grades: Earn a grade of "C" or better or a "P" in every course in the selected major or area of emphasis (Title 5 § 55063). 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 may 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 may be completed on a "pass/no pass" basis.
- GPA: Achieve a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better in degree-applicable college credit coursework.
- Competency: Demonstrate competency in reading, written expression, and mathematics.
- Reading—Minimum competency in reading is satisfied by completion of the requirements for the associate degree.
- 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 examination, or
- A score of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) Literature and Composition examination, or
- A score of 5 or higher on the International Baccalaureate (IB) English HL examination, or
- A score of 50 or higher on the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam.
- Mathematics—Minimum competency in mathematics is satisfied by one of the following:
- 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 Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB or Calculus BC examination, or
- A score of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) Statistics examination, or
- A score of 4 or higher on the IB Mathematics HL examination, or
- A score of 50 or higher on the CLEP College Mathematics or Precalculus examinations, or
- Successful passing of the VCCCD mathematics 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, and algebra and composition of functions on related applications.
- Solve elementary exponential and logarithmic equations and related applications.
- Residency: Complete a minimum of 12 semester units in residence at the college granting the degree. Exceptions to the residence requirement can be made by the VCCCD Board of Trustees when injustice or undue hardship would 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 May 2017. AP 4100 Graduation Requirements for Degrees and Certificates; last reviewed by the VCCCD Board of Trustees in April 2021.