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What is the difference between an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Arts in Teaching and Associate of Applied Science degrees?  

The Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), and the Associate of Arts in Teaching (A.A.T.), are designed to satisfy requirements for the first two years of a baccalaureate degree while the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.), is designed to prepare students for entering a career field. Keep in mind that every course within each major may not transfer so check with a transfer counselor or advisor.

What type of courses make up a college degree?
A college degree is made up of three types of courses/classes:
  • General Education Program - courses required for all majors - for example: English composition, math, natural science, arts, humanities, behavioral science
  • Major Courses - courses/classes specific to the major/curriculum/program of study
  • Electives - courses chosen for personal development or to enhance the program of study
What is the difference between a certificate and an associate degree?
An associate degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours, including Foundation and Distribution Courses from the General Education Program as well as the courses required in the chosen program of study.

A certificate program is a planned sequence of courses focused on enhancing and learning new skills. You must meet minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) requirements to receive a Degree or Certificate.

What is the General Education Program?
The General Education Program is defined by the Maryland Higher Education Commission and designed to provide all students, in both career and transfer curricula, a common, broad-based, well-rounded educational experience.
What courses will meet the requirements for a degree or certificate?
All requirements for degrees and certificates are listed in the MC Catalog by program. You should read the Catalog, since this is an agreement between you and the college.
I don't have a major! How about General Studies?

You are not alone. More than half of students at MC are not sure of a major area of study. A General Studies A.A. degree may be a good choice for you. This degree allows for maximum flexibility for career exploration. By using this degree and following the advice of a counselor, you can earn a degree and explore career areas. With care, most if not all classes, will transfer to a four year institution. Read the requirements for the General Studies A.A. Degree, then talk with a counselor to plan your courses.

Print out a General Studies Degree Check Sheet and a Semester Planning Sheet . It will help you plan your courses and work with your counselor/advisor towards successful graduation or transfer.

Browse Programs of Study for a listing of all Associate and Certificate programs offered at Montgomery College.

The Online Educational Planning Workshop has some useful planning tools and information.

Here are two reasons you might want to think about a specific major.

  • Most 4 year schools require that you to declare a major (something other than General Studies) by your Junior year. 

  • Some 4 year college majors like Business and Engineering require many specific courses that you should be taking throughout your stay at MC.

Still have questions, email us: Germantown | Rockville | SilverSpring/Takoma Park

 Site Contact: anthony.solano@montgomerycollege.edu

Last Updated: July 9, 2006