Definition of Associate Degree
The associate degree leads students through patterns of learning experiences designed to develop certain capabilities and insights. Among these are the ability to think critically and to communicate clearly and effectively both orally and in writing; to use mathematics; to understand the modes of inquiry of the major disciplines; to be aware of other cultures and times; to achieve insights gained through experience in thinking about ethical problems; to find, evaluate, use, and communicate information in various formats; and to develop the capacity for self-understanding. In addition to these accomplishments, the student shall possess sufficient depth in some field of knowledge to contribute to lifetime interest.
An Associate of Arts degree is granted in a discipline in which behavioral sciences, fine arts, human movement, humanities, public affairs, or social sciences are integral within the academic area.
An Associate of Science degree is granted in a discipline in which scientific thought and investigation are integral within the academic area or where there is emphasis on the application of mathematics, science, or technology.
Philosophy for Associate Degree and General Education
Board Policy 4025
El Camino College recognizes the importance of educating individuals who will serve the local, state, national, and international communities. The associate degree requirements lead students through a general education pattern designed to encourage the development of broad knowledge in core subjects and the acquisition of sufficient depth in a specific field of knowledge.
The awarding of an associate degree is intended to represent more than an accumulation of units. It recognizes a successful attempt on the part of the College to lead students through patterns of learning experiences designed to develop certain capabilities and insights. Among these are the following:
- to think and to communicate clearly and effectively both orally and in writing
- to use mathematics
- to understand the modes of inquiry of the major disciplines
- to be aware of other cultures and times
- to achieve insights gained through experience in thinking about ethical problems
- to develop the capacity for self-understanding
- to engage in lifelong learning
In addition to these accomplishments, the student shall possess sufficient depth in some field of knowledge to contribute to lifetime interest. Each associate degree offered by the College shall contain a pattern of general education and major courses selected to assure the collection of experiences, capabilities, and insights.
Central to an associate degree, general education is designed to introduce students to the variety of means through which people comprehend the modern world. It reflects the conviction of Colleges that those who receive their degrees must possess in common certain basic principles, concepts, and methodologies both unique and shared by the various disciplines. College-educated individuals must be able to use this knowledge when evaluating and appreciating the physical environment, the culture, and the society in which they live. Most importantly, general education should lead to better self-understanding. Courses approved for inclusion in the general education requirements shall be evaluated as meeting this philosophy.
The Superintendent/President shall, in consultation with the Academic Senate, develop and submit to the Board for approval procedures to assure that courses used to fulfill general education and associate degree requirements meet the standards used in this policy.
General Education Criteria for Associate of Arts and Associate of Science Degrees
- Natural Sciences
Courses in the natural sciences are those which examine the physical universe, its life forms, and its natural phenomena. To satisfy the general education requirement in natural sciences, a course shall be designed to help the student develop an appreciation and understanding of the scientific method and encourage an understanding of the relationships between science and other human activities.
This category would include introductory or integrative courses in astronomy, biology, chemistry, general physical science, geology, meteorology, oceanography, physical geography, physical anthropology, physics, and other scientific disciplines that emphasize experimental methodology, the testing of hypotheses, and the power of systematic questioning, rather than only the recall of facts. Courses which focus on personal, practical, or applied aspects are not suitable for this category.
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
Courses in the social and behavioral sciences promote an appreciation and understanding of how members of diverse societies operate or have operated as individuals and social groups. To satisfy the general education requirement in social and behavioral sciences, a course shall develop an awareness of methods of inquiry and stimulate critical thinking about the ways in which people act and interact within social and cultural contexts.
This category would include introductory or integrative survey courses such as child development, cultural anthropology, cultural geography, economics, family and consumer studies, history, political science, psychology, sociology, and related disciplines.
Courses in the humanities are those that promote an appreciation of the cultural activities and artistic expressions of human beings. To satisfy the general education requirement in humanities, a course shall develop the student’s awareness of the ways that people throughout the ages have artistically and culturally responded to themselves and the world around them and shall develop the student’s aesthetic understanding and ability to make value judgments.
This category would include introductory or integrative courses in the arts, foreign languages, literature, philosophy, and religion.
- Language and Rationality
Courses in language and rationality are those that develop for the student the principles and applications of language toward logical thought, clear and precise expression, and critical evaluation.
- English Composition
Courses that fulfill the written composition requirement shall focus primarily on both expository and argumentative writing.
- Communication and Analytical Thinking
Courses that fulfill the communication and analytical thinking requirement shall include oral communications, written communications, critical reasoning, mathematics, logic, statistics, and computer languages and programming.
- Health and Physical Education
Courses in health and physical education promote lifelong understanding of the basic human need for development and maintenance of good personal health and fitness. To satisfy the general education requirement in health education, a course shall help the student develop knowledge of personal health through the examination of health-related social problems, potential preventative strategies, and mediating actions. A physical education course shall establish a foundation for regular life-long physical activity and provide opportunities for a student to develop competencies in activities that promote movement, reduce disease risk, and improve overall quality of life.
- Mathematics Competency
A course satisfies the Mathematics Competency requirement if it integrates numeric, symbolic, functional, and spatial reasoning concepts, and enables students to apply their knowledge of mathematics to solve mathematical problems and to judge the reasonableness of their results in meaningful and authentic applications. A course satisfying the Mathematics Competency must have the same rigor and be at or above the level of difficulty of intermediate algebra.
Associate Degrees for Transfer
California Community Colleges offer associate degrees for transfer to the CSU. These may include Associate of Arts (AA-T) or Associate of Science (AST) transfer degrees. These degrees are designed to provide a clear pathway to a CSU major and baccalaureate degree. California Community College students who are awarded an AA-T or AS-T degree are given priority admission consideration to a CSU campus or to a program that is deemed similar to their community college major. This priority does not guarantee admission to specific majors or campuses. If the AA-T or AS-T is deemed a similar degree by the CSU, students will be able to complete their remaining units for the bachelor’s degree within 60 units.
To receive an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science degree from El Camino College, a student must complete at least 60 units in degree applicable college courses, which must include general education requirements and course work in an approved transfer major or associate degree program. Course work toward the degree must be completed with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher at El Camino College and in work completed at all colleges. Students must also complete at least 12 semester units of study in residence within requirements for either the general education and/or major. A notation of “Graduation with Honors” is earned with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Students must file an Intent to Graduate Form in the evaluations area, located in the Admissions Office, by the deadline date published in the schedule of classes.
Evaluation of Completion of Requirements
Students who want to graduate from El Camino College with an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree must file an Intent to Graduate form, which is evaluated according to the following conditions:
- Catalog requirement - Degree requirements are derived from the catalog in effect at the time the student entered El Camino College or from the current catalog, following the Catalog Rights guidelines (described below). Each catalog is in effect during the academic year for which it was published (fall semester through the summer session).
- Residency requirement - Students must complete at least 12 semester units of study in residence within requirements for either the general education and/or major at El Camino College.
- Unit requirement - Sixty (60) degree applicable units are required for the associate degree, including appropriate general education and major requirements.
- General Education requirement - Coursework toward the degree must be completed with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher in work at El Camino College and in work completed at all colleges.
- English requirement - A minimum grade of “C” in a freshman composition course.
- Mathematics Competency requirement - A minimum grade of “C” is required in this area.
- Major requirement - A minimum grade of “C” in all courses toward the major.
Board Policy 4100.1
The El Camino College Catalog specifies the general education, major, and unit requirements that the student must satisfy to qualify for an Associate Degree, a Certificate of Achievement, or a Certificate of Accomplishment. Students who have maintained continuous enrollment may choose to graduate under the catalog requirements in effect either 1) at the time they began attending El Camino College continuously or 2) at the time they graduate from El Camino College. For degree and certificate purposes, continuous enrollment is defined as enrolling at El Camino College at least one semester (excluding summer terms) each academic year and receiving a letter grade, a “W,” CR/NC (Credit/No Credit), or Pass/No Pass on the transcript.
Students may receive a double major upon completion of the major requirements for the second major.
Students may receive both an Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science Degree upon the completion of the specific general education and major requirements for each degree as stated in the catalog. Students qualifying for more than one AA or AS degree will have all degrees posted on their transcripts: however, they will only receive one diploma for an achieved AA degree and one diploma for an achieved AS degree. (References: Sections 55002(a) and 55060 et seq.; Board Policies 4100.1 and 4235.
Some courses listed in the associate degree requirements may not transfer to a four-year college or university. Please refer to the course notations. All degrees require a total of 60 units with no fewer than 18 units in the major and appropriate general education courses as indicated on the Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree patterns that follow.