Minimum Requirements for Associate Degrees


  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Arts & Sciences (AA&S)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
  Minimum number of
Semester Hours Credits
General Education: (1) (2) (3) (4)
Communication(a) 6 6 6 3
Humanities/Fine Arts 6 6 6 3
Foreign Language(Intermediate Level) 6 0 0 0
Social/Behavioral Sciences 9 9(b) 9 3(c)
Natural Sciences 7 7 7 0
Mathematics 6 6(d) 6(d) 0
Personal Development(e) 2 2 2 2
Other Requirements for Associate Degrees:
Major Field Courses and Electives (columns 1-3)
Occupational/Technical Courses (column 4)
18-21 24-27 24-27 49-53(f)
Total for Degree(g) 60-63 60-63(h) 60-63(h) 65-69(h)

Notes: The VCCS Policy Manual, Section 2-IV-C, defines general education within the VCCS. Sections 2.7.3, 3.4.10, and 3.5.1 of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Principles of Accreditation specify general education requirements. Colleges must address all SACS requirements, the SCHEV Core Competencies, and the general education goal areas listed in this VCCS Policy Manual.


(a)          Must include at least one course in English composition.
(b)          Only 6 semester hours of social/behavioral sciences are required for engineering majors who plan to transfer to a baccalaureate degree engineering program that requires 6 or fewer hours in this category, provided that the college/university publishes such requirements in its transfer guide.
(c)           While general education courses other than those designed for transfer may be used to meet portions of these requirements, SACS principles require that general education courses be general in nature and must not “...narrowly focus on those skills, techniques, and procedures peculiar to a particular occupation or profession.”
(d)          Only 3 semester hours of mathematics are required for the General Studies major.
(e)          Personal development includes health, physical education, or recreation courses that promote physical and emotional well being and student development courses. Must include at least one student development course
(f)           AAA/AAS degrees must contain a minimum of 15 semester hours of general education. Students should plan to take at least 30 hours in the major; the remaining hours will be appropriate to the major.
(g)          All college-level course prerequisites must be included in the total credits required for each program.
(h)          Credit range for engineering programs is 60-72 semester hour credits. Credit range for AAA/AAS programs is 65-69, including nursing. For other programs in the Health Technologies, the range is 65-72 semester hour credits.

Information Literacy Statement

Upon graduation from a degree program, all students will be able to (1) determine the nature and extent of the information needed; (2) access needed information effectively and efficiently; (3) evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into his or her knowledge base; (4) use information effectively, individually or as a member of a group, to accomplish a specific purpose; and (5) understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and use information ethically and legally.


Curricular students are required to complete tests, such as the Virginia Placement Test (VPT) to determine entry-level placement into reading, writing, and math classes. Additionally, students may be required to participate in one or more tests, projects, or other academic activities designed to measure general education achievement and/or achievement in selected major areas prior to graduation. These tests are designed to evaluate programs. Program assessment test results will remain confidential and will be used for the sole purpose of college improvement. Students may have access to their own test scores upon request.

Student Outcomes Assessment

The college uses a variety of assessment activities to ensure that its educational programs achieve their stated purposes. Entering freshmen, candidates for graduation, and graduates are assessed through standardized and nationally-normed instruments, in-house developed tests, exit interview questionnaires, and employer surveys. The assessment process focuses on the following four areas: basic skills testing for English and mathematics placement, the student’s progress in the major, an assessment of the general education component among transfer curricula, and follow-up studies on alumni, dual-enrollment students, off-campus centers, transfer students, and area employers.