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Guidance & Counseling Center - "Working together for student success."

Degrees and Certificates - How They Work!


There are three academic objectives you can complete at Victor Valley College: Occupational Certificates, the Associate's Degree, and transfer to a university. Counselors are available to advise you on setting your educational goals and selecting courses to meet your particular needs.You can find more information about your academic options in the College Catalog. Some people confuse the College Catalog with the Class Schedule (WebAdvisor). They are both available in hard copy and online, and you really need both: the Catalog tells you about all the college's programs, rules, services, and so on, while the Schedule tells you the days, times, and location classes are offered during the fall, spring, and summer terms. The most current and updated class schedule for the current term can be found on WebAdvisor: http://webadvisor.vvc.edu/.

Occupational Certificates

Certificates of Achievement are designed to prepare students for specific occupations. The number of units required varies from program to program. Certificates include only the required technical courses (no General Education courses); some programs have prerequisites. To identify the exact courses required, look in the Catalog for the program you're interested in.

What many people do is complete a certificate program, then sometime later (even years later!), come back to school and use those courses again as the major for an associate's degree--or even as preparation for transfer. Other people work on certificates and the requirements for a degree at the same time. We can help you figure out what would work best for you.

Graduation with an Associate's Degree

Students can earn an Associate's Degree and, with careful planning, also meet some or all of the requirements for transfer to a four-year college or university.

Graduation generally requires the equivalent of two years of full-time study which leads to an Associate in Science (A.S.) or Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree. Note that for most people, a "two-year degree" actually takes longer than two years - it just depends on how fast you go.

For an overview of programs available, please refer to "Programs of Study" in the Victor Valley College Catalog. Also, you can visit the different departments' webpages on this site.

 

REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADUATION WITH AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE
Graduation generally requires the equivalent of two years of full-time study which leads to an Associate in Science (A.S.) or Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree. For a quick listing of degrees, click here: Degrees & Certificates . For more extensive coverage of programs available, turn to the grey-shaded pages of the College Catalog, "Programs of Study."

The college's graduation requirements allow students to earn an associate's degree and, with careful planning, simultaneously meet requirements either for an occupational certificate or for some or all of the requirements for transfer to a four-year college or university, or both.

Students who wish to transfer should check with their intended institution regarding which courses meet that school's requirements.

Distribution of units for the AA / AS Degree are - 18 units in your Major, 18 Units in General Education classes and 24 Units of Electives
Distribution of units for the AA / AS Degree

General Requirements (Section A)
An associate's degree requires 60 degree-applicable units, distributed among the major, general education, and electives. Click this link to see a summary of the requirements for the associate's degree at VVC. This listing is also available as a worksheet at the front desk in Counseling (ask for the "green sheet").

Tip: If you're going to transfer to a university, keep in mind when you plan your courses that you can save time by fitting your transfer university's pre-major and general education course requirements into VVC's graduation requirements; that is, use the courses THEY require, in order to meet VVC's requirements. We can help you sort that out.

Courses for Your Major (Section B)
A minimum of 18 units are required for a VVC major.

General Education (GE) Requirements (Section C)
A minimum of 18 units are required for your General Education. For students under the 2011-2012 catalog year, you are required to completed a minimum of 21 units in General Education.

Physical Education (PE) (Section D)

Any activity or non-activity (lecture) PE course of 1 unit or more will fulfill this requirement. Completion of military basic training fulfills this requirement (a copy of the student's form DD214 or other documentation must be on file with the Office of Admissions). Health 102 (GE Category I) or PE 103 (GE Category III) can simultaneously satisfy the General Education category and the PE requirement. Athletics courses are not used to fulfill the PE requirement. A maximum of 4 units of PE activity courses will count toward the degree.

Electives (Section E)
The remaining units for the degree -- approximately 21 to 24 units -- are called electives, because after satisfying your major and GE requirements, you may elect to take whatever you like, with some restrictions and recommendations. For example, you might want to complete courses towards an occupational certificate or towards possible transfer objectives.

Application for Graduation
In order to graduate, you must file an AA or AS application for graduation by the specified deadline, including submitting all transcripts from other colleges and all other documents verifying completion of any requirements to Admissions and Records (Bldg. 52).

Second Degree or Additional Degrees
To earn more than one Associate Degree, the following apply:

1. Students must complete an additional 18 units from an approved departmental major for each additional degree
2. No course used to fulfill MAJOR requirements for the first degree may be used to fulfill MAJOR requirements for a subsequent degree.
3. The general education requirements used for the first degree remains as the general education requirements for subsequent degrees.

Catalog Under Which You Graduate
The rules and requirements found in the VVC Catalog form the student's "contract" with the college. Students may select which set of requirements will apply, from those in effect at any of three points in their college careers: those in place at the time of entrance or re-entrance; those applicable during a time of continuous attendance; or those in effect at the time of graduation. Enrollment in at least one regularly transcripted course per year, not including Summer or Winter, is considered continuous attendance. Maximum "catalog life" is six years prior to graduation.

 

 

Four Year College or University

Students can generally complete the first two years of a four-year bachelor's degree at a community college, like VVC, while simultaneously pursuing their associate's degree. To determine the exact courses you need to take here in order to satisfy requirements at your intended transfer institution, consult with a counselor, with VVC's Transfer Center, and, of course, with the transfer institution itself. For more information about transferring, please visit the Transfer Center (Bldg. 55) or the Transfer Planning pages of this website.

 

TRANSFERRING TO A FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY
VVC transfers about 250 students annually to campuses of the University of California, California State University, and various private schools. These students traditionally do as well as or better than students who began as freshmen at the four year college. We want to see even more students transfer!

Students can generally complete the first two years' worth of a four-year bachelor's degree at a community college, like VVC, while simultaneously earning an associate's degree. To determine the exact courses you need to take here in order to satisfy requirements at your intended transfer institution, find your major in the the grey-shaded section of the Catalog, "Programs of Study." If your school (or major) is not listed, you will need to make further inquiries. Consult with a counselor, with VVC 's Transfer Center and, of course, with the transfer institution itself.

An excellent website for exploring majors and finding out more specific information about transferring to UC and CSU campuses is www.assist.org. Plan to spend some time on that site, as there's so much available there. For private colleges and universities in California, check out www.californiacolleges.edu.

There are four major types of universities or four-year schools to which community college students transfer: The University of California (UC) system, the California State University (CSU) system, private institutions, and out-of-state institutions.

University of California (UC)
The UC system is world-renowned for its excellence in teaching and, in particular, research into what makes the world the way it is. Each of the ten campuses statewide (nine undergraduate) has its own distinct academic and social character, but all offer intellectually challenging bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in an academically rigorous environment. The closest UC campus is UC Riverside.

California State University (CSU)
The twenty-three campuses of the CSU system offer a wide variety of innovative and exciting bachelor's and graduate-level programs whose goal is to prepare citizens for effective participation in society. As with the UC system, each campus has its own "flavor," but all offer well-regarded programs, many of which are internationally prominent. The closest Cal State campuses are CSU San Bernardino and Cal Poly Pomona.

Private and Out-of-State Institutions
Private schools such as the University of Southern California (USC) or Pepperdine, and out-of-state institutions, such as University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) or the University of Arizona, are some of those to which VVC students transfer. Such institutions are geographically and figuratively "all over the map," and students are advised to consult them directly. To learn more about private/independent universities in California, visit www.aiccu.edu. Visit the Transfer Center for more information.

Nontraditional Degree Programs
A number of nontraditional bachelors and graduate-level programs are offered by accredited institutions, including an increasing number of online degrees. These programs are designed for people whose distance, work or family situations prevent them from regular attendance in more traditional offerings. When selecting a program, remember that your degree will be an important part of your resume for the rest of your life... and you want a school whose reputation is acceptable to potential employers. A number of fancy-sounding "universities" are, in fact, not accredited - or they may be "accredited" by agencies that aren't recognized! Be particularly careful with online programs. VVC only accepts credits (units) from institutions that are regionally accredited. Please visit the Counseling Department to find out if we accept credits (units) from any colleges/universities you previously attended.

Locally in the Victor Valley, there are small, off-campus universities whose main campuses are located elsewhere. You can view a list of Four-Year Universities in the High Desert here.

For more information about transferring, please visit the Transfer Center located in Bldg. 55.

 

 


The Victor Valley College Catalog, which contains a wealth of practical information on Programs of Study, Course Descriptions, General Education and Graduation Requirements, can be accessed online or can be purchased at the VVC Rams Bookstore.