Associate in Arts Degree

Associate in Arts Degree

PHSC provides programs of instruction consisting of college-credit courses offered to freshmen and sophomores who intend to transfer to a baccalaureate degree program. The State of Florida has identified common prerequisites for all majors within the State University System (SUS) programs. For the most current information, students should meet with an academic advisor. Students are strongly encouraged to schedule regular advising appointments to discuss their Associate in Arts (AA) degree progression.

Some college/university majors have no common prerequisites while others have very specific prerequisites. These differing requirements should be considered when students make course selections to satisfy the 36 credit-hour General Education Requirement as well as the remaining 24 credit hours needed to complete the AA degree. (See AA degree General Education Requirements for more information.)

It is the student's responsibility to verify the transfer prerequisites and grade point average (GPA) requirements for the specific program at the selected university.

PHSC will review student files to verify completion of the degree requirements for the student's declared program of study. Upon earning the credits required to meet the 60-credit AA degree, students will be graduated. Students who graduate cannot continue to receive Title IV financial aid and/or Florida Bright Futures while completing the transfer courses.

Intermediate Algebra (MAT 1033) and Pathways to Mathematical Literacy (MAT 1100) may be required as a prerequisite for college-level math courses based on placement test scores and will count as elective credit. Also, students who have not met the foreign language requirement in high school may be required to complete two consecutive semesters of a college-level foreign language to complete the AA degree.

Gordon Rule

Rule 6A-10.030, Florida Administrative Code, hereafter referred to as the Gordon Rule, applies to students who entered college for the first time after spring term of the 1982-83 academic year. The rule stipulates the requirements of student performance in both the communications and mathematics areas.  A grade of "C" or higher is required for all General Education courses, whether they are being used to fulfill program or elective requirements.

Prior to the award of an Associate in Arts degree, students at the College must fulfill the communication and computation requirements of the Gordon Rule by successfully completing the following courses with a grade of "C" or higher:

  1. Six (6) credit hours consisting of English Composition I (ENC 1101), and English Composition II (ENC 1102) or a course equivalent to English Composition II (ENC 1102)
  2. Three (3) credit hours of humanities course work
  3. Three (3) credit hours of social and behavioral sciences course work
  4. Six (6) credit hours of mathematics course work at the level of College Algebra (MAC 1105), or higher

Course descriptions for all courses that fulfill the Gordon Rule communication and computation requirements will include a statement indicating that the course satisfies the Gordon Rule and that a grade of "C" or higher must be attained. These course descriptions are contained in the PHSC Catalog and Student Handbook . Students taking any course that is identified in the PHSC Catalog and Student Handbook as a Gordon Rule course must fulfill the writing requirements of that course whether they are taking the course to fulfill General Education requirements or as an elective.

Gordon Rule Writing-Intensive Courses

PHSC's faculty has established the following rationale for identifying writing-intensive courses that may be used to satisfy the college-level communication portion of the Gordon Rule:

A writing-intensive course is a content-specific course that has as major instructional, learning and assessment objectives, a substantial discipline-based writing component that consists of instructor-assessed, college-level writing assignments. College-level writing exhibits critical and analytical skills to discuss a topic; presents paragraphs that are focused, developed, organized, coherent and unified; expresses ideas in complete, clear, well-structured sentences; and enhances ideas through discipline-appropriate diction, conventions and rhetorical strategies. In a writing-intensive course, students are expected to produce a substantial amount of discipline-based writing of which the majority is assessed by faculty toward refining college-level writing skills in a specific discipline.

Foreign Language Requirement

All students pursuing an Associate in Arts (AA) degree starting in fall, 2014 will be required to meet the Foreign Language Competency Requirement in order to graduate with their AA degree.

This degree requirement can be met by one of the following:

  1. 2 years of the same high school foreign language
  2. 2 semesters of college-level foreign language
  3. Documented proficiency of a foreign language

Documented Proficiency

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers exams for credit in French, German and Spanish. CLEP exams are scheduled at the West and East campuses. Between 4 and 8 credits may be earned based upon a student's CLEP test score.

Examination Minimum Score Maximum Score
French 62 8
  50 4
German 63 8
  50 4
Spanish 66 8
  50 4

Objectives of the AA Degree

The purpose of the AA degree program is to prepare students for transfer at the junior level, especially to the State University System (SUS) of Florida, by providing academic courses that are parallel in content and quality to those taught within the SUS.

General Education Student Learning Outcomes

The General Education curriculum at PHSC provides students with varied opportunities to integrate knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are essential for personal, intellectual and professional enrichment. The College's General Education curriculum assures breadth that cannot be found in any specific discipline. It exposes all degree seeking students to a diversity of disciplines. A student learning outcome is a statement of the knowledge, skills, or attitudes a student will be able to demonstrate, represent, or produce as a result of a given educational experience. The College's General Education Student Learning Outcomes are:

  • Communication: Students will display effective reading, writing, speaking, listening and nonverbal communication skills.
  • Critical Thinking: Students will comprehend and apply basic principles of critical thinking and analytical skills by identifying, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing information to reach an answer or conclusion.
  • Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning: Students will apply scientific inquiry and quantitative reasoning to solve problems.
  • Information Literacy and Technological Fluency: Students will demonstrate the fluent use of technology to locate, organize, analyze and document information from a variety of sources.
  • Cultural Literacy and Global Awareness: Students will develop a critical understanding of the social, behavioral, cultural, ethical, global and historical processes that define human diversity. 

General Education Requirements for the AA Program 

Additional courses may be required for nonexempt students based on placement test scores.

Note: Developmental education courses are not considered to be college-credit courses, and do not count toward a degree. 

A grade of "C" or higher is required for all General Education courses, whether they are being used to fulfill program or elective requirements.