Online AA Degrees: Program Requirements and Options

Online A.A. degree programs, or Associate of Arts programs, are offered through many colleges and universities. Online A.A. programs can prepare students to pursue a bachelor's degree, or they may be used to pursue entry-level employment. Many areas of study can be covered in an A.A. program, including art, communication, education and the humanities.

More and more online programs are providing full degrees, including the Associate in Arts, in a variety of fields. AA degrees have specific requirements at each institution and may require certain online technical components as well.

Program Requirements

While exact requirements vary by school, all online A.A. programs require students to complete a minimum number of credits (usually about 60) through general education and major courses. General education requirements can be broken down by subject area and typically include coursework in:

  • Communications
  • Humanities
  • Natural science
  • Social science
  • Mathematics
  • Foreign Language

Major courses are specialized topics in the student's chosen major, and thus depend on the major.

Some schools may have additional requirements, such as a computer competency requirement, writing proficiency requirement or diversity study requirement. Schools may also require students to maintain a minimum grade point average in order to graduate.

Online Requirements

Online course offerings may include both synchronous components, meaning there are specific times a student must sign on to view or participate in the course, and asynchronous components, meaning that a student can complete educational requirements according to his or her own schedule. Techniques used in online degree programs include recorded lectures, live chats, discussion boards and interactive modules. Some online associate's degree programs may allow students to complete all coursework and assessments remotely, while others may require students to complete some work on campus, such as final exams or presentations.

Program Options

While all associate's degree programs include similar general education requirements, students may have the option of selecting a major beyond a generic liberal arts focus. Students must complete all the requirements within their major to be awarded the A.A. degree. Examples of possible Associate in Arts majors include:

  • African-American studies
  • English
  • History
  • Philosophy

If specific majors are not available, students can usually choose electives to tailor their coursework towards personal interests in the broader field of liberal arts.

Online programs allow students to earn an associate of arts degree on their own time from the comfort of home, though students must follow the specific requirements of the degree and the college. Students may have the option to choose a major and can expect to complete a significant amount of general education.

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