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    Jul 14, 2024  
2017-2018 Catalog 
2017-2018 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Overview of Degrees and Certificates


Academic Degrees and Certificates

Prairie State College offers associate degrees that prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions, associate degrees and certificates that prepare students for specific careers, and an associate degree that recognizes completion of a broad range of college-level courses.

Transfer Degrees

The Associate in Arts degree (A.A.) includes the first two years of study for students who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts.

The Associate in Science degree (A.S.) covers the first two years of study for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering, mathematics, or science.

The Associate in Fine Arts: Art degree (A.F.A.) is designed to prepare students to transfer as juniors into a bachelor’s degree program (B.F.A.) in Studio Art. Students are encouraged to complete their core courses in art before enrolling in media specific studio courses. A portfolio review is usually required for transfer to a four-year institution.

The Associate of Arts in Teaching degree (A.A.T.) is a two-year program designed for students preparing for careers in secondary education. It provides a foundation in teacher education, field-based experiences, and discipline-specific content. Current A.A.T. degrees are designed to facilitate transfer for students who intend to teach in high-need disciplines.

General Studies Degree

The Associate in General Studies degree (A.G.S.), while not intended for transfer or directed at a specific occupation, allows students to design their own two-year program. See the section about A.G.S. degrees.

Career Program Degrees and Certificates

The Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) represents completion of a minimum of 60 credit hours in a technical or career program.

Certificates are awarded after completion of up to 50 credits that focus on specific occupational or technical areas of study. For detailed information about career degree and certificate programs, see the Career Programs section later in the catalog.

The General Education Core

The goal of general education is to help students understand the world they live in. The core curriculum consists of liberal arts courses in five key areas: communication, humanities and the fine arts, social sciences, mathematics, and science. Education in these disciplines develops habits of mind like curiosity, critical thinking and introspection that help one adapt to the changing world. Courses in English and Communication foster the ability to read critically and speak and write effectively. Those in the humanities and social science broaden understanding of different cultures and lead to an appreciation of the diversity of human experience. Mathematics and science courses develop the ability to analyze problems and find solutions, while courses in literature, music, and the fine and performing arts enrich understanding of human nature, enhance aesthetic appreciation, and broaden understanding of human nature and society. Taken together, study in these traditional academic disciplines leads to a better understanding of the key issues that face our society and helps students become more responsible citizens.

Prairie State College’s General Education Core is designed to ensure that all our students develop competencies in the following areas:


Students will read with comprehension, listen critically, and speak and write effectively.

Critical Thinking

Students will analyze problems, develop solutions, and evaluate results, forming a self-conscious habit of inquiry as a foundation for a lifetime of continuous learning and personal transformation.


Students will be able to organize and apply discipline-specific ways of knowing.

Social and Cultural Awareness

Students will understand and recognize the values and ethics of Western and non-Western cultural traditions, and appreciate the diversity of human experience both within the United States and throughout the world.


Students will function with competence in writing, working with numbers, speaking in large and small groups, using basic technology for learning, and evaluating information from a range of sources.