Associate Degree Requirements

  1. Unit and Scholarship Requirement—Students must satisfactorily complete 60 or more units of coursework which will satisfy all graduation requirements. This means either credit earned on a Pass/No Pass basis or cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better for credit earned on a grading scale basis for all college coursework attempted and for all Southwestern College course work attempted, regardless of applicability.
  2. Coursework Requirements—All coursework required for the program requires minimum grade of ‘C’ or better or a “P” if the course is taken on a “pass-no pass” basis.
  3. Residency Requirements—The student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 12 degree-applicable units to satisfy degree requirements at Southwestern College.  Credits obtained through Credit for Prior Learning are not accepted for satisfying graduation residency requirements.
  4. Program Declaration—Students must declare a program in order for a degree to be conferred.  A student may be enrolled for one or more semesters without declaring a specific program. They may also change programs. The requirements for the program will be determined by the catalog in effect during the semester in which the student declared their program or any subsequent catalog within periods of continuous enrollment. All program requirements must be completed using the same catalog.
  5. Associate Degree—Completion of an Associate Degree program is satisfied through successful completion of a minimum of 18 units of general education and at least 18 units in a major or area of emphasis. The overall units needed to satisfy an associate degree is 60 and all coursework must be approved through the college curriculum process and be printed in the college catalog.
  6. Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT)—The California Community Colleges ADT to the California State University (CSU) as per the Student Transfer Achievement Reform (STAR) Act (SB 1440-Padilla) are designed to provide a clear pathway to a CSU program and baccalaureate degree. These may include Associate in Arts (AA-T) or Associate in Science (AS-T) degrees. These degrees require 60 minimum transferable units. California Community College students who are awarded an AA-T or AS-T degree are guaranteed admission with junior standing somewhere in the CSU system and given priority admission consideration to their local CSU campus or to a program that is deemed similar to their community college program. This priority does not guarantee admission to specific program or campuses.
  7. “Double-counting” Courses for Program Requirements 
    While a course might appear in more than one general education requirement, it may not be counted more than once for these purposes per title 5; however, a course may be used to satisfy a general education requirement, a course requirement in the area of emphasis, and a competency requirement if applicable.  Additional limitations on double-counting within a program must be approved by the Curriculum Committee. Regardless of how a student “double-counts” a single course,  the student must complete 60 units of coursework to be eligible to petition for a degree.

  8. Coursework Transferred from Another Institution
    Southwestern College accepts lower division courses taken at U.S. regionally accredited colleges and universities. Acceptance of courses is subject to an official transcript evaluation process, or review and approval by discipline faculty in consultation with the administrative dean through the course substitution process. Lower division courses where students earned a C or higher may be counted towards program requirements. Courses transferred from another institution with a grade of "C-" have limited applicability and may apply towards elective credit and general education. Southwestern College does not accept courses where a student earned a “C-“ to satisfy the required courses that constitute the major or area of emphasis or a graduation competency.

  9. Noncredit Coursework – Students may petition to have noncredit courses counted toward the satisfaction of requirements for an associate degree through the processes and procedures outlined in AP 4235 Credit for Prior Learning.

Students who have been awarded an AA-T or AS-T are able to complete their remaining requirements for the 120-unit baccalaureate degree within 60 semester or 90 quarter units.  Current and prospective community college students are encouraged to meet with a counselor to review their options for transfer and to develop an educational plan that best meets their goals and needs.