Like the Associate of Arts (AA), the Associate of Science (AS) is a two-year undergraduate transfer degree that is primarily intended as a stepping stone into a bachelor’s degree program. However, where the AA focuses primarily on the liberal arts, AS coursework focuses on the sciences. Associate of Science degrees are offered at community colleges and vocational schools, as well as a few four-year colleges and universities. The AS helps students develop useful skills and knowledge that will help them qualify for entry-level career positions in business, government and social service. But again, the degree is primarily a transfer degree. Students who intend on entering the workforce immediately after graduating should consider other options including the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.
As the AS is designed to prepare students for a bachelor’s degree program at an accredited college or university, it’s important to make sure that you earn your AS from a reputable institution that is either (1) regionally accredited or (2) has articulation agreements in place with four-year colleges or universities you wish to attend. The majority of four-year colleges and universities are regionally accredited and only accept transfer credits from other regionally accredited institutions. Unfortunately, a lot of community colleges are nationally accredited. If you earn your AS at a nationally accredited community college or vocational school there’s a high probability that the credits you earn won’t be transferable to the college or university where you want to pursue a bachelor’s degree. However, some community colleges have articulation agreements in place with four-year colleges that guarantee admission of their student and transfer-ability of credits earned upon graduation. For example, Tohono O-Odham Community College in Sellz, Arizona has articulation agreements in place with several four-year colleges and universities in Arizona, whereby ensuring that its students upon graduation will automatically be accepted to these institutions and their credits will transfer.
It’s also important to make sure that the courses you take, both general education and major specific, are in line with the major you want to and that the general education requirements for the bachelor’s degree programs at institution you plan on attending. No matter where you earn your degree it’s important to meet with a transfer counselor before starting your AS program, as credit transfer and college admissions policies vary from one school to the next.
Associate of Science (AS) Degree Requirements
It usually requires 48 to 60 semester hours to complete an Associate of Arts (AS) degree, although completion time will vary from school to school. While an AS degree allows students to take several elective courses, it has had a standard core curriculum which essentially includes the basic first year and second year offerings appropriate for the first two years of many bachelor degree programs. Required fields of study usually include communications (writing and oral), humanities and social sciences (art, music, business, economics, etc.), natural sciences (biology, chemistry, geology, etc.) and mathematics. A typical Associate of Science program will include about 18 to 20 hours of elective coursework and 35 to 50 hours of required coursework.
Benefits of the Associate of Science (AS) Degree
There are several benefits to earning a two-year Associate of Science (AS) degree. First, the credits earned via an AS degree at a community college are usually much less expensive than comparable credits earned in a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university. If you earn your AS at an accredited school, or one that has articulation agreements in place, you can save yourself the high cost of attending a four-year college for the first two years of your undergraduate education.
Second, a well-planned AS is an excellent way to prepare yourself for a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college. If you didn’t have the best grades in high school, performing well in your AS program will show college admissions officers that you have what it takes to be successful in a bachelor’s degree program.
Third, an AS degree will give you the chance to learn more about yourself, your interests, and explore various career options. So if you’re not ready for a four-year college and don’t what you want to major in, an AS degree might just be your best option.
As previously mentioned, an Associate of Science degree is designed primarily as a transfer degree. However, students will acquire new knowledge and develop skills such as critical thinking, analytical problems solving and communication that can be applied in entry-level jobs across various industries.
Featured Schools that Offer Associate Degrees
|Kaplan University Kaplan University's campus locations provide the facilities, faculty, staff and career programs to help you achieve your personal goals. You can learn from professionals specializing in identifying career opportunities and preparing students for a brighter future. Learn More >|
|Everest University Online Everest University Online, a division of Everest University, makes career education convenient and accessible. With courses tailored for working students and others who need a more flexible class schedule, Everest University Online allows students to learn from home and offers the same well-respected curriculum available at our traditional campuses. Learn More >|
|Westwood College You have a dream, and we'll put you on the fast track to achieving it. Our degree programs provide you with the knowledge, tools and support you need to earn your associate degree in as little as 17 months, your bachelor's degree in as little as three years, or your master's degree in just over a year. By offering year-round classes focused on the most critical skills needed to start or advance your career, you can complete your coursework in less time than students at traditional schools. Learn More >|
|Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) At Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) we specialize in healthcare education in a supportive atmosphere that promotes student success. We educate future allied health professionals through our online classroom and at our campuses in Clearwater and Tampa, Florida. Since 1994, UMA has educated thousands of students for careers in the healthcare industry. Learn More >|
|American InterContinental University (AIU) You're serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelor's or master's degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7. Learn More >|