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Associate Degree Requirements and Prerequisites

Associate degree programs are generally 2-year educational programs. Colleges and universities offer associate degree programs in many different areas. Requirements and prerequisites vary by school, but most share some common criteria. View article »

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  • 0:03 Common Admission Requirements
  • 1:01 Common Prerequisites
  • 1:37 Common Program Requirements

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Video Transcript

Common Admission Requirements

While requirements and prerequisites for associate degree programs may vary from school to school, many are commonly shared. There are also many common requirements for graduation, such as a minimum GPA.

The most common requirement for acceptance into associate degree programs is a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, some community colleges offer open admissions, which means they do not restrict enrollment and welcome students of all ability levels. Depending on the program, other less common requirements may include a minimum age or a clean background check. A list of other common admissions requirements include:

  • A minimum high school grade point average
  • Minimum standardized test scores (ACT or SAT)
  • Passing grades in any necessary prerequisite courses
  • Statement of goals or purpose
  • Letters of recommendation

Associate degree programs may require any, all, or none of these criteria for admissions, so it's important to check with the school that you are interested in.

Common Prerequisites

In reference to a degree program, prerequisites are any courses or conditions that must be completed before admission. Because it's a lower-level degree, there are typically few prerequisites for an associate's program, but certain fields of study may require specific course prerequisites.

For example, prerequisite courses for some nursing associate degree programs include biology and chemistry. CPR training is another common prerequisite for some health care programs. Many admissions programs also require placement testing in math and English, which help designate the level of college courses students are required to take.

Common Program Requirements

Common requirements for graduation from an associate degree program include successful completion of all needed coursework and a minimum GPA. Students may also need to earn a minimum grade in general education courses, such as math and English, and complete courses that meet cultural diversity requirements. These are generally two-year programs that are available both online and on-campus.

For the majority of associate's degree programs, you'll need a minimum high school GPA and standardized test scores, among other potential requirements. For some programs, there may be specific course prerequisites. To graduate with an associate's degree, you'll be expected to complete all required coursework while maintaining a minimum GPA.

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