How do I earn a certificate, complete a program, graduate, and/or transfer from COD?

Catalog Rights

Students who maintain continuous attendance at College of the Desert will maintain the right to follow the graduation requirements listed in the catalog under which they first entered the College. Changing a major program of study does not change catalog rights for general education or other graduation requirements beyond the major if continuous attendance is maintained. Continuous attendance for this purpose is defined as attendance in at least one semester during a calendar year, provided that at least one course during that semester of attendance is posted on the official college transcript with a grade symbol or a semester mark of “I” or “W”. Absence from College of the Desert due to an approved educational leave or for attendance at another regionally accredited higher education institution is not considered an interruption in attendance if the absence does not exceed two years.


Diplomas are mailed to graduates approximately six weeks after the end of the semester in which students have satisfied all degree requirements and grades have been verified. Consequently, at the graduation ceremony, students are presented with a diploma cover. There is a fee for a duplicate diploma; please check the Admissions & Records Office webpage for current fees.

Grade Requirement for an Associate Degree

Effective for all students admitted to College of the Desert for Fall 2009 term or any term thereafter, all courses used to fulfill major area requirements or area of emphasis requirements must be completed with a minimum grade of  ”C” or a “P” if the course is taken on a “Pass/No Pass” basis.  All Associate Degrees require a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 (“C” average) for all coursework taken at all accredited institutions including College of the Desert.

The Associate Degree is not automatically awarded when a student completes required courses. Students must submit a Degree Application electronically via MyCOD Student Portal under the WebAdvisor link/Forms. All transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be on file in the Admissions & Records Office. At least 40 units must have been completed, including 12 in residence at COD before an application is accepted.


Once it has been determined that a student is eligible for graduation, a Degree Application must be completed electronically via the MyCOD Student Portal under the WebAdvisor link/A&R Forms. The deadline to submit this form is found in the Schedule of Classes. This requirement applies to all Associate Degrees.

Formal graduation activities are held at the end of the spring semester. Students who complete degree requirements during the spring, preceding fall, or subsequent summer term are invited to participate in the ceremony. Students must file a degree application electronically via the College MyCOD Student Portal by the posted deadlines.

Earning an Additional Associate Degree

An additional Associate Degree may be earned if the student declares a complete change in major and completes a minimum of 12 additional units in the new major. The minimum 12 units must be in residence at College of the Desert and must be used to fulfill new major field requirements. Additional General Education requirements that are appropriate may also be required.  

Career & Technical Education (CTE)

College of the Desert offers Career & Technical Education (CTE) in over 30 separate program areas. Students have the ability to complete Associate Degrees, Certificates or single courses in specific subjects depending upon their educational or workforce preparation needs. Courses are run in a variety of formats including lecture, lab, online and performance-based learning. At COD, CTE is both an educational strategy in its own right and the cornerstone of the College’s workforce development efforts. As an educational strategy, it inspires and facilitates learning and, unlike traditional vocational education, aims to prepare students for ongoing education, long-term careers, and citizenship, as well as entry into the workplace. With its focus on rigorous and relevant content, experiential learning, career awareness, supportive relationships, and demonstrated outcomes, CTE can provide a context for academic coursework and set the standard for the kind of challenging, engaging, student-centered instruction that is required for students of all ages to succeed. CTE programs are for students who desire transfer to four-year universities as well as those wishing to enter the workforce or build new technical skills.

As the foundation for workforce development and economic vitality in the state, CTE responds to the needs of the economy — with regard to both industry focus and skills taught. To further address its dual purpose, CTE is designed to provide seamless pathways that bridge secondary and postsecondary education, enabling students to develop skills required in the workplace while pursuing their personal aspirations. COD has the ability to offer education through credit, noncredit and not-for-credit depending upon the needs of the individual or organization.

Certificates of Achievement

A Certificate of Achievement may be awarded to a student who has completed a required sequence of courses in an occupational field. The certificate is not automatically awarded when a student completes the requirements. Students must file a Certificate Application electronically via MyCOD Student Portal under the WebAdvisor link/A&R Forms by the posted deadline. All transcripts from other colleges must be on file before a request can be filed.

The certificate requires fewer than 60 units of college work. At least six (6) units in the certificate field shall be completed in residence at College of the Desert. A minimum of a “C” average shall be maintained in all courses required for the certificate. All courses shall be approved by the department advisor. See Programs of Study section in this catalog for specific certificate requirements. A fee is charged for a duplicate certificate; please check the Admissions & Records Office webpage for current fees.

Associate Degrees

College of the Desert offers Associate Degrees to assist students in transferring to four-year institutions and Associate Degrees for Career & Technical Education to prepare students locally for the workforce. 

Transfer Degrees


California Community Colleges offer associate degrees for transfer to the CSU system. These may include Associate in Arts (AA-T) or Associate in Science (AS-T) degrees. These degrees are designed to provide a clear pathway to a CSU major and baccalaureate degree. California Community College students who are awarded an AA-T or AS-T degree are guaranteed admission with junior standing in the CSU system and given priority admission consideration to their local CSU campus or to a program that is deemed similar to their community college major. This priority does not guarantee admission to specific majors or campuses.

Students who have been awarded an AA-T or AS-T are able to complete their remaining requirements for the 120-unit baccalaureate degree within 60 semester or 90 quarter units.

To view the most current list of College of the Desert Associate Degrees for Transfer, please go to Academic Programs. Current and prospective community college students are encouraged to meet with a counselor to review their options for transfer and to develop an educational plan that best meets their goals and needs.

Requirements For The Associate In Arts For Transfer (AA-T) Or Associate In Science For Transfer (AS-T) - SB 1440

The Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (Senate Bill 1440, codified in California Education Code sections 66746-66749) guarantees admission to a California State University (CSU) campus for any community college student who completes an “associate degree for transfer”, a newly established variation of the associate degrees traditionally offered at a California community college.

The Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) or the Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T) is intended for students who plan to complete a bachelor’s degree in a similar major at a CSU campus. Students completing these degrees (AA-T or AS-T) are guaranteed admission to the CSU system, but not to a particular campus or major. In order to earn one of these degrees, students must complete a minimum of 60 required semester units of CSU-transferable coursework with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Students transferring to a CSU campus that does accept the AA-T or AS-T will be required to complete no more than 60 units after transfer to earn a bachelor’s degree (unless the major is a designated “high-unit” major).

This degree may not be the best option for students intending to transfer to a particular CSU campus or to university or college that is not part of the CSU system. Students should consult with a counselor when planning to complete the degree for more information on university admission and transfer requirements.


The following is required for all AA-T or AS-T degrees:

  1. Completion of 60 CSU-transferable semester units.
  2. Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.0 in all CSU-transferable coursework. While a minimum of 2.0 is required for admission, some majors may require a higher GPA. Please consult with a counselor for more information.
  3. Completion of a minimum of 18 semester units in an “AA-T” or “AS-T” major as detailed in the Program of Study section of the catalog. All courses in the major must be completed with a grade of "C" or better or a “P” if the course is taken on a “Pass/No Pass” basis (Title 5, section 55063).
  4. Certified completion of the California State University General Education-Breadth (CSU GE Breadth) pattern (see page 65 for more information); OR the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) pattern (see page 67 for more information).
  5. Students do not need to complete the local requirements of Kinesiology and Reading 51 or 61.

Career & Technical Education/Local Degrees


Students planning to earn an Associate Degree while preparing to transfer to a 4-year college or university must complete the appropriate transfer general education pattern as well as the course requirements specified in the program of study for the declared major. A minimum of 60 transferable units are required for upper division transfer.

Students preparing to transfer to the California State University (CSU) may follow the General Education requirements outlined in the CSU Certification Pattern. This is identified as the CSU General Education Pattern in the list of requirements for Transfer Degree programs.

Student preparing to transfer to the University of California (UC) or the CSU systems may follow the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC). This is identified as the IGETC Pattern in the list of requirements for Transfer Degree programs. See your counselor or faculty advisor for exceptions.

The transfer preparation degree is identified in this catalog as: ASSOCIATE DEGREE (transfer preparation).


Students planning to earn an Associate Degree with emphasis on career and technical preparation, and who have no plans to pursue a bachelor's degree, must follow the District's General Education requirements.  

Students must complete the course requirements as specified in the program of study for the declared major, in addition to general education courses.

The Career and Technical Degree is not designed to prepare students for university transfer and is identified in this catalog as: ASSOCIATE DEGREE (employment preparation).

Associate Degree Requirements

Students may graduate from College of the Desert with an Associate of Arts or Science degree upon meeting the following District requirements:

A. Competency Requirements

Reading Competency: All students earning an Associate Degree must demonstrate a reading proficiency at the collegiate level by passing RDG 51 or RDG 61 with a grade of "C" or better, or the equivalent.

Writing Competency: All students earning an Associate Degree must demonstrate a writing proficiency at the collegiate level by passing ENG 1A with a grade of "C" or better, or the equivalent.

Mathematics Competency: All students earning an Associate Degree in Career and Technical Preparation must demonstrate a mathematics proficiency by  passing with a grade of "C" or better, MATH 40, or any college mathematics course determined by the District to be equivalent to, or higher than, MATH 40. All students earning Associate Degree for Transfer Preparation are required to complete the UC or CSU Mathematics requirements.

B. General Education (GE) Requirements

A single course, even though listed in more than one  area, can only be used to satisfy one GE requirement.

C. Major  Requirements

Complete one of the degree programs listed in the Certificate and Degree Programs section of this catalog. Each course in the major or area of emphasis must be completed with a grade of "C" or better or "P" if the course is taken on a "Pass/No Pass" basis.

College authorities may approve or require substitutions for discontinued courses or for courses not offered. College of the Desert requires that students declaring or changing a major program of study must complete the major requirements in effect at the time of the declaration of change. For programs of study requiring special selection procedures, students are required to complete major requirements in effect at the time of entrance to the program.

D. Kinesiology Activity Requirement

Two (2) units are required from kinesiology (KINE), recreation (RE) or varsity sports (VSM, VSO, VSW). Note: If KINE-010 is used to fulfill COD General Education Area C2 or C5, it may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

E. A minimum of sixty (60) degree-applicable units with a 2.0 ("C") Grade Point Average (GPA). Basic skills courses do not apply toward the degree. Grades earned in non-degree credit courses are not included in the calculation of the degree-applicable GPA.  

F. Completion of twelve (12) units in residence at College of the Desert.