Degrees and Certificates Overview
Important Note: Students are responsible for knowing degree requirements and for staying informed regarding changes in their degree requirements.
Highline Community College offers four types of degrees and two types of certificates. Each has its own requirements and applications. Within these degree and certificate options, students may choose general or specific areas of study or disciplines. These more specific choices also have their own requirements and applications.
- Associate of Arts (AA) degree
- Associate of Science (AS) degree
- Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree
- Associate of Applied Science (AAS-T) degree
- Certificate of Completion (CC)
- Certificate of Arts and Sciences (CAS)
Importance of Advising. Advising is a critical element in the completion of any degree. Each student is strongly encouraged to identify a faculty adviser in his or her area of study as early as possible. For some degrees, adviser approval is required for completion of the degree. In addition, students pursuing the AS degree, with the aid of a faculty adviser, are responsible for checking specific major requirements of baccalaureate institutions in the year prior to transfer.
Associate of Arts (AA)
The AA degree is intended to prepare students to transfer to bachelor’s degree programs in a wide variety of fields. The AA degree corresponds to the first two years of a four-year baccalaureate degree program. Most transfer students plan to earn this degree. The AA degree can be general in its emphasis, providing a broad educational background for students who wish to transfer to a university. In this general form, the degree is best suited to students whose major area is in the liberal arts and/or social sciences. However, for students who have chosen specific majors, an AA program may be designed — with adviser assistance — to meet specific prerequisites and/or pre-major lowerdivision requirements for transfer in these fields:
- Associate of Biology
- Associate of Business
- Associate of Pre-Nursing
At Highline, the AA degree is offered in two options: A or B.
Associate of Arts, Option A
This degree is designed to satisfy the lower-division general requirements at many Washington colleges and universities. AA, Option A degrees earned after 1984 meet the requirements of the Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) of the Intercollege Relations Commission (ICRC). It is important to work out the exact requirements of transfer with an adviser because programs change from time to time.
Associate of Biology: This specialized AA, Option A, degree is designed to prepare students for admission into a Biology or Environmental Studies program after transfer. This Major-Related-Program (MRP) degree meets the guidelines for the DTA of the ICRC.
Associate of Business: This specialized AA, Option A, degree is designed to help students meet the requirements for entry into the business major after transfer. This MRP degree meets the guidelines for the DTA of the ICRC.
Associate of Pre-Nursing: This specialized AA, Option A, degree is designed to help students meet the requirements for entry into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program after transfer. This MRP degree meets the guidelines for the DTA of the ICRC.
Associate of Arts, Option B
This degree is a specialized transfer degree, individually designed to meet the requirements for certain majors at specific colleges and universities. It does not meet the requirements of the ICRC. In order to plan this degree program, it is essential to know both the major and college or university to be attended. Students must work closely with their adviser.
Associate of Science (AS)
The AS degree is intended to prepare students for transfer in science, mathematics and other pre-professional fields. The degree is recognized by the ICRC. At Highline, the AS degree is available in the following disciplines:
- Computer Science
- General Engineering
Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
The AAS degree is designed primarily to prepare students for successful employment in a professional or technical area. Though some transfer options are available to holders of the AAS, the degree is not intended to transfer. Highline offers AAS degrees in a variety of fields. For a complete list, see “Professional-Technical Education Programs” in the “Credentials ” section.
Associate of Applied Science (AAS-T)
An associate in applied science–transfer (AAS-T) degree is built upon the technical courses required for job preparation but also includes a college-level general education component, common in structure for all such degrees. Further, the general education courses for the degree are drawn from the same list as those taken by students completing the Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) associate degree or the Associate in Science-Transfer (AS-T) degree. These degrees are consistent with the dual purpose of transfer and preparation for direct employment. The general education component of the transferable technical degree is to be comprised of not less than 20 credits of courses generally accepted in transfer. These 20 credits must include as a minimum the following:
5 credits in Communication
5 credits in Quantitative Skills
Any course from the generally accepted in transfer list with Intermediate Algebra as a prerequisite
10 credits in Science, Social Science, or Humanities
Courses selected from the generally accepted in transfer list including a course meeting the human relations requirement.
The 20 credit minimum is proposed in recognition of the difficulty that some technical programs would have in adding even more general education credits to their degree. Yet other technical degrees would go beyond the 20 credits minimum because the technical program may already include transferable courses including the introductory course in the technical field.
Certificate of Completion (CC)
The college awards a CC to each student who completes a professional-technical education program requiring a minimum of 45 credits. Each program consists of at least three quarters and has specific requirements. Students must complete at least one-half of the required credits at Highline with a 2.0 minimum overall GPA. For a complete list of certificate options, see “Professional-Technical Education Programs” in the “Credentials ” section.
Certificate of Arts and Sciences (CAS)
A student who wishes to earn a certificate in academic transfer studies (45 credits) for personal reasons, as a specific educational goal, in preparation for an AA degree, or for transfer to a university may complete the CAS. The CAS is not intended as a substitute for the AA degree and does not carry with it the benefits of the AA degree as defined by the ICRC articulation agreement.
Degree requirements are reviewed annually. The listing of courses and requirements is therefore subject to change; however, students have the option of using either the degree requirements listed in the Highline catalog at the time they enter the college or the requirements in effect at the time they apply for graduation.
Educational planners and advisers are available to help students plan their programs. Students should stay informed of all program requirements, plan their programs carefully and meet with their advisers on a regular basis. It is also important for students to remember to apply for graduation at the registrar’s office two quarters before completing their coursework.
General Degree Requirements
- Completion of a minimum of 90 college-level credits (courses numbered 100 or above);
- A minimum 2.0 cumulative college-level GPA;
- Completion of at least 23 of the total required credits at Highline with a minimum 2.0 GPA (known as the residency credit requirement);
- Any course taken in the AA, AS, AAS degrees must be a D (1.0 GPA) or better.
Exceptions to General Requirements.There are no exceptions to the first two bulleted items above. Exceptions to the general graduation requirements must be approved by the Graduation Review Board for all degrees. This process includes submitting a petition to the registrar outlining the exception requested and the reasons for the request. The petition should be submitted with an “Application for Graduation/Request for Graduation Evaluation” form approximately two quarters before the planned graduation. Decisions of the Graduation Review Board are final.
Specific Degree Requirements
Each of the associate degree programs has specific requirements in addition to the general requirements. Students should review these requirements carefully with their faculty or educational advisers to make sure they understand the requirements for their desired degrees. The specific requirements for each type of degree are within the Credentials section of this catalog.
Exceptions to AA and AS specific degree requirements are requested by writing a petition to the Graduation Review Board. The petition should be submitted with an application for graduation, or as soon thereafter as possible. Such requests might involve course substitutions, waiver of a requirement or review of credits earned by examination.
Exceptions to AAS specific degree requirements must be approved by the program coordinator, who will then notify the Registration office of the exception.
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