Female Students in Science lab

As a new student—or even a returning student—you may be puzzled about the different types of degrees offered at community colleges. It’s easy to confuse them when their names are so similar… Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Applied Science. I get asked about the differences between degrees quite often—and since I am a Pathways Advisor specifically for math and science, one degree that I regularly discuss with students is the Associate of Science degree (referred to as the A.S. for short).

Associate Degrees

FRCC offers two transfer degrees that are set up to transfer smoothly to four-year colleges and universities. These are the Associate of Arts (A.A.) and the Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees. They are pretty similar in their requirements except that, as you might imagine, the A.S. requires more math and science courses—whereas the A.A. has more elective choices.

Students in summer academy science lab at FRCC-Westminster

As the name suggests, the A.S. degree is intended for students planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree (or higher) in the areas of math or science. If this is what you are interested in, then the A.S. might be the degree for you. For example, if you want to pursue chemistry, biology, physics, math, horticulture, veterinary, premedical, fermentation science or other similar degrees, then the A.S. would probably be a good fit.

How Long Does It Take?

Associate degrees, including the A.S., are often referred to as “two-year” degrees because students attending full time are able to complete the degree in two years (or four semesters). Earning an associate degree requires the completion of 60 credit hours. If you want to complete this degree in four semesters, you would need to average at least 15 credits each semester.

Does this mean you have to complete the A.S. in two years (four semesters)? Of course not! You will want to work towards the degree at a pace that works best for you. For students who are working, have families or other non-school obligations, attending part time is the viable and recommended option. When choosing classes, including the number of credits to take each semester, we strongly recommend that you work closely with your academic advisor.

Finding Your Path

Each FRCC campus has advisors who are dedicated to specific Career and Academic Communities (CAC). Since the A.S. degree falls under the Math and Science CAC, students pursuing this degree will be assigned a Pathways Advisor in this area.

Whatever degree you choose to pursue, it’s important to make sure you meet regularly with your advisor. We are a valuable resource that can help save you time and money by helping you choose classes that best apply to your area of study. So if you’re on the Larimer campus and are considering the A.S. degree, come by and see me!

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