2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
    Dec 11, 2023  
2021-2022 Academic 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.

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 has identified five general education learning outcomes (GELO) that encapsulate the core knowledge and skills we believe equip students to develop personally, as critical thinkers, and as global citizens. General education outcomes assessment examines student learning across all disciplines and programs throughout the college to determine how students experience the outcomes across the curriculum.

PSC’s GELO are:

  • Communication: Students will demonstrate skills for effective written and oral communication.
  • Creative Thinking: Students will think, react, and work in an imaginative way characterized by a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking, and risk-taking.
  • Cultural Understanding: Students will demonstrate a global perspective, the ability to navigate and thrive within diverse communities and workplaces, and an appreciation for the values of diversity, equity, and sustainability.
  • Information Literacy: Students will know when there is a need for information and be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly use and share that information for the task at hand.
  • Problem Solving: Students will locate and identify information, determine what problem exists, develop solutions, evaluate results, and extend results to new situations.