Jul 22, 2024  
2023-24 Catalog 
2023-24 Catalog

Associate in Arts (AA-DTA)

Core Competencies

Critical Thinking

Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze and summarize complex information, create an argument that acknowledges multiple perspectives, and use reasoning and evidence to draw conclusions.

Quantitative Reasoning

Students will demonstrate the ability to apply numerical, logical, and analytical techniques to analyze, evaluate, and explain quantitative information.

Effective Communication

Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate ideas through written, oral, and/or visual formats by utilizing their own voice to address various audiences and consider the perspectives of others.

Information & Visual Literacy

Students will demonstrate the ability to interpret, evaluate, synthesize, and organize selected textual, visual, or electronic resources for a given situation, maintaining strict adherence to legal and ethical guidelines governing information access.

Community & Social Responsibility

Students will demonstrate the ability to interact productively and equitably with others in diverse local, national, and global communities; address social justice issues based on awareness of historical and contemporary systemic inequalities; proactively engage in their physical and mental health.


Students will demonstrate the ability to evaluate how environmental, relational and cultural processes and interactions impact the world, people’s lives, and their own views.

AA/DTA Requirements

For general information about this degree choice, see Programs, Resources and Services for Students .

Important Note: Students are responsible for knowing degree requirements and for staying informed regarding changes in their degree requirements.

General 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).

For a detailed list of these requirements, general information and information on exceptions to general or specific requirements, students should refer to the overview information on Transferable Degrees and Certificates .

Specific Requirements

Course requirements for the AA/DTA, are summarized as follows:

  • Communications requirement: 15 credits
  • Quantitative Skills requirement: 5 credits
  • Physical Education requirement: 3 credits
  • Diversity and Globalism requirement: 3 credits
  • College Studies 101: 3 credits
  • Distribution requirement: 40 credits
  • Elective requirement: 27 credits (15 credits must come from distribution areas or the transferrable electives list)

Additional requirements for the AA/DTA:

  • At least 75 credits must be defined as fully transferable by the university to which a student intends to transfer;
  • A maximum of 15 credits of CR grades (for classes taken “credit” or “pass”) may be applied to the AA degree. Such credits may or may not be recognized by other institutions.

Courses listed in this section may be used to meet the specific course requirements of the AA/DTA degree. This list, however, changes from time to time. Students should obtain the most current list from the Advising Center.

Communications Requirement: 15 credits

Students must complete specific written English and communication studies courses to satisfy the Communications requirement. If written English and communication studies credits total more than 15, then up to five of these credits may be applied to Humanities Area I. The same credits may not be used to satisfy both the Communications requirement and the Humanities Distribution requirement.

Complete the following:

Plus at least one of the following courses:

Quantitative Skills Requirement: 5 credits

Proficiency in intermediate algebra must be demonstrated through placement testing or completion of Intermediate Algebra. Students must complete a five-credit mathematics or philosophy course, listed below, for which Intermediate Algebra  is a prerequisite. Credits used to satisfy this requirement may not be applied toward other requirements. Students must choose from the list below.

Physical Education Requirement: 3 credits

Students must complete three credits of physical education either through a single course of three or more credits; a mix of classroom and activity courses; or three different (unduplicated) physical education activity credits. A maximum of three physical education activity credits may be applied to the AA degree.  Non-activity courses count toward the limit of 15 credits of restricted electives.

Complete either A, B or C:

A. Complete one 3-credit course from the following list:

B. Complete one of the following two-credit courses, plus one additional PE course of at least one credit:

C. Complete three different (unduplicated) physical education activity courses.

Diversity and Globalism Requirement: 3 credits

Students are required to complete a course of three or more credits to satisfy the Diversity and Globalism requirement. In some cases, Diversity and Globalism classes may also apply to distribution or other requirements. Other Diversity and Globalism courses may be used only to help satisfy elective requirements. Applicable courses are listed below; one or more asterisks (*) indicate other requirements the course may satisfy.


*Denotes courses that also apply to the Social Sciences Distribution requirement.

**Denotes courses that also apply to the Humanities Distribution requirement.

***Denotes courses that also apply to the Sciences Distribution requirement.

****Denotes courses that also apply to the Physical Education requirement.

College Studies Requirement: 3 credits

Students are required to complete a course of three or more credits to satisfy the College Studies requirement.  Applicable courses are listed below:

Distribution Requirement: 40 credits

The Distribution requirement attempts to ensure variety and breadth by requiring educational experiences in a number of disciplines, including science, mathematics, social science, humanities and the arts. Courses designated as special study, directed study, independent research or cooperative education do not carry distribution credit.

Students must complete a minimum of

  • 10 credits in Humanities;
  • 15 credits in Social Sciences;
  • 15 credits in Sciences.

At least two areas must be represented in Humanities and Social Sciences and two departments in Sciences (see the “Distribution Areas  ” section).

Elective Requirement: 27 credits

Fifteen of these credits must be chosen from the Distribution Areas  or Transferrable Electives.  The additional courses may be from any department and must be numbered 100 or above (in most cases, however, the same course cannot be used to meet two separate requirements).

Students may also select electives from other disciplines. However, in doing so, students should consult the baccalaureate (four-year) institution’s catalog, since most four-year schools will accept no more than 15 credits of traditionally nontransferable restricted (often called “Gray Area”) courses.

Traditionally, nontransferable restricted courses include most professional-technical education courses and all courses from the following departments: College Studies, Cooperative Education, Parent Education, Reading and Student Services.  A maximum of 3 credits of Physical Education (PE) activity courses can be applied toward the Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) and are considered unrestricted.  All non-activity PE courses are considered restricted.  Restricted courses generally also include course challenges, independent study classes, credit by examination, military experience credit, CLEP and other nontraditional credit. Advanced Placement (AP) courses generally are transferable but are subject to the policies of the receiving institution.