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Types of Degrees and Certificates

Transfer Degrees

Transfer degrees let you begin work on your bachelor's degree and then transfer to a four-year university. Be sure to work with a transfer advisor both at your community college and at the four-year institution you plan to attend.

Learn tips for transferring to a university.

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The Associate of Arts Direct Transfer degree is designed to provide students with a broad background during their first and second year of study so that they can transfer to a four-year school as juniors. These degrees are often abbreviated as AA-DTA. (The DTA stands for Direct Transfer Agreement.)

Some transfer degrees help prepare students for a particular major, like business or nursing. These are called "Major-Related Programs" and are sometimes abbreviated DTA/MRP.

The Associate in Science-Transfer (AS-T) degree is designed for students who want to major in engineering and science. This degree recognizes that science majors will often need to take more science in the first two years of college and take additional general education requirements after transferring.

There are two degree tracks:

  • Track 1 is for science students who wish to focus on biological and environmental/resource sciences, geology and earth science or chemistry.
  • Track 2 is for students who wish to focus on engineering, computer science, physics or atmospheric science.

Be sure to work with your advisor to check the requirements for the specific science major at the university you plan to attend.

Major Related Program agreements help students prepare for high-demand university majors that require very specific courses in the first two years of college. Business, biology, engineering and nursing are just a few examples.

Each MRP pathway is based one of the statewide transfer agreements (DTA or AS-T)

Professional-Technical Certificates and Degrees

Professional-technical certificates and degrees train students for specific fields — like nursing, computer science or advanced manufacturing — so they can go straight to work. The degrees do not transfer to four-year universities. (An exception is the Associate in Applied Science-Transfer degree, which transfers only if the university has an agreement with the specific community or technical college.)

Certificates provide targeted job skills for students who want to pursue work or keep up-to-date in their profession. Some examples are CAD/drafting, web design and medical assisting. Certificates typically last six months to one year. Many certificates are designed to build on top of each other and eventually lead to a longer-term certificate or degree. These are often called "stackable" certificates.

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is a two-year degree for students who want to start a career immediately after graduation. Examples include accounting, marketing, business technology, nursing, computer science and advanced manufacturing. These degrees typically do not transfer to a university, however, some credits might be accepted depending on the university.

Associate of Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) degrees are two-year, job-training degrees.

The Associate of Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) includes a minimum of 20 credits of college-level general education from the same list as those taken by students completing the Direct Transfer Agreement associate degree or the Associate of Science-Transfer degree.

Important considerations:

  • AAS-T courses are designed for immediate employment and as preparation for applied bachelor of science degrees and certain bachelor degree programs.
  • The AAS-T degree is not accepted in transfer in preparation for bachelor of arts or bachelor of science programs. The general education component of the AAS-T, however, will be accepted in transfer.
  • The AAS-T is fully transferrable only when the receiving four-year college or university has a special agreement (called an "articulation") in place with a community or technical college for a specific AAS-T. For a list of colleges and universities that accept the AAS-T, visit the website of the community or technical college offering the AAS-T degree option you are interested in.

Check with your advisor to make sure this is the right path for your transfer goals. 

Some people get a non-transfer, professional-technical degree at a community or technical college and later decide they'd like to pursue a bachelor's degree. Many community colleges now offer applied bachelor's degrees so these students don't have to start from scratch at a university. Instead, students can take two more years of upper-level coursework at the community or technical college to earn a four-year degree. With more and more employers requiring bachelor's degrees, this option gives people another path to a four-year degree.

  • BAS stands for Bachelor of Applied Science.
  • BSN stands for Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
  • BAT stands for Bachelor of Applied Technology.

An "applied science" degree prepares students to enter directly into the workforce after graduation (for example, in automotive technology, nursing or advanced manufacturing). The word "science" does not necessarily mean that the program is related to a field of science like geography or biology.

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Last Modified: 4/21/17 2:52 PM