Common Online Associate of Arts & Sciences Degree Programs

Essential Information

Online associate's degree programs in the arts and sciences are relatively easy to find. They may be offered entirely online or in blended formats that include certain in-person requirements, depending on the program and class availability.

Topics of study include a wide variety of fine arts, natural sciences, social sciences, and other subjects. The credits from these programs may be transferable to a degree-completion program for those who choose to pursue a bachelor's degree.

Arts and Sciences Associate's Degree

Associate of Arts in Arts and Sciences programs are available online. These programs offer a greater degree of flexibility in what courses students take than other programs. Few courses are required of all students, and much of a student's curriculum is customized to his or her personal interests. It may be appropriate for students who are undecided about what academic specializations to pursue.

Information and Requirements

An online associate's degree can be completed in two years. These programs can often be completed with no on-campus attendance; however, specific availability of online courses depends on the school and the classes chosen. To create their plan of study, program participants select a required number of courses from a series of categories including fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, math and social sciences.

Microsoft Office or equivalent is required for some classes. Current operating systems and web browsing software are recommended. Some classes may make use of audio or video demonstrations and lectures which require the use of media players or Flash browser plugins.

Course Topics

Online arts and sciences associate's degree programs include a few required core classes in subjects such as algebra and composition. Beyond these classes, students are free to choose from a range of courses in fields such as history, popular culture, art, math and natural science.

History of Western Civilization

This course traces the development of civilization from ancient times through modern times with emphasis on the Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution and World Wars. Some schools may offer a selection of history courses focusing in specific eras and topics, such as history in the Middle Ages or Native American history.


Students gain skills in reading, research, writing and editing. Topics include grammar, punctuation, plagiarism and style. Online discussion is required.


This class teaches concepts of chemistry related to the study of life. Subjects in biology include enzymes, reproduction, heredity and genetics, metabolism, proteins and immunity.

Career Information

A degree in arts and sciences is not typically designed to prepare graduates for a particular career. Instead, it can be used to sample a range of subjects to help decide on a further field of study. Other students may complete the program for credits to transfer to a bachelor's degree, or they may simply desire a broader base of knowledge for personal reasons. The careers available to graduates of an online associate's degree in arts and sciences depend on the courses chosen.

Continuing Education Information

The next level of education is a bachelor's degree, which can typically be completed in two years after an associate's degree depending on what credits can be transferred. Many schools offer online bachelor's degrees in interdisciplinary studies, which allow students to continue to select personalized curriculum across a range of subjects. Students can also find online programs for bachelor's degrees for a variety of specific arts and science subjects, such as literature, humanities, history, psychology, biology, chemistry and physics.

Students can find many online programs that lead to an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree. These programs are interdisciplinary, allowing students to choose from a broad range of courses and serves as an educational foundation for a bachelor's degree in various arts and science majors.

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