College Catalog 2013-2014

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Degrees and Certificates

Northern Virginia Community College offers two-year associate degrees, one-year certificates, and short career studies certificates. The requirements for these awards for completion of curricula are determined by the College faculty and are intended to meet the requirements specified by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and certain specialized accrediting agencies.

Terminology

Unless otherwise noted, the term program refers to an associate degree with its own curriculum code and all related specializations, certificates, and career studies certificates. The Virginia Community College System defines a major as a grouping of 100- and 200-level courses that define a discipline or interdisciplinary specialty. A degree program is a broadly structured curriculum leading to the award of an associate degree and is listed on a student’s diploma. A specialization is an area of concentration within an approved major that varies from the parent major by 9–15 credits. A certificate is awarded for the completion of an approved nondegree curriculum consisting of 30–59 semester credit hours, usually in a career area; a minimum of 15 percent of a certificate’s credit hour requirement will be in general education including one three-credit-hour English class. A career studies certificate is awarded for the completion of an approved nondegree curriculum of 9–29 semester credit hours in length.

Associate of Arts Degree (A.A.)

Awarded for the completion of two-year curricula in fine arts, liberal arts, and music. The A.A. degree is designed for those who plan to transfer to a four-year, degree-granting institution for the completion of a bachelor of arts (B.A.).

Associate of Science Degree (A.S.)

Awarded for the completion of two-year curricula in a variety of preprofessional programs. The A.S. degree is designed for those who plan to transfer to a four-year, degree-granting institution for the completion of a bachelor of science (B.S.).

Associate of Applied Arts Degree (A.A.A.)

Awarded for completion of two-year curricula primarily designed to prepare a student for employment in jobs in fine arts, music, and photography. These curricula are not designed for transfer to a four-year college or university. However, in some limited cases, the A.A.A. degree or selected career courses may transfer, and there may be articulation arrangements with four-year colleges as part of a special program.

Associate of Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.)

Awarded for completion of two-year curricula designed to prepare the student for employment in a technical field immediately following graduation. In some A.A.S. degree programs one or more Summer Sessions may be required. These curricula are not designed for transfer to a four-year college or university. However, in some limited cases, career courses may transfer, and there may be articulation arrangements with four-year colleges as part of a special program.

Certificate (C.)

Awarded for the completion of various curricula of study less than two years in length, totaling between 30 and 59 credits, at least 15 percent of the credits must be in general education. This must include at least 3 semester credits of English (ENG) and at least 1 semester credit for a Student Development (SDV) course.

Most certificates prepare the student for a specific job or aspect of a job. Some certificates are part of an associate degree program, in which case the credit earned in the certificate may be used toward the degree. These curricula typically are not designed for transfer to a four-year college or university. However, in some limited cases, career courses may transfer, and there may be articulation arrangements with four-year colleges as part of a special program.

Career Studies Certificate (C.S.C.)

Awarded for a specific group of career-related courses totaling between 9 and 29 credits. Career studies programs are designed for enhancement of job/life skills, retraining for career changes, and/or investigating new career possibilities. Credit earned in most career studies certificates may be used to meet the requirements in certificate and degree programs that require similar courses.