Associate in Arts in Music for Transfer Degree

The Music program at College of the Desert is rooted in the passionate belief that the arts are integral to the social development of every individual and an essential part of life that is vital to the understanding of diverse cultures. Students learn to express themselves artistically, both as individuals and in collaboration with others. Our community sees, supports, and sustains music education not only for the immediate values of performance, but for ways of understanding the world, for the development of the mind and body, and for many underlying skills and understandings that are necessary for success in life.

The Associate in Arts in Music for Transfer, also called the Music AA-T Degree, is designed to prepare students to transfer to a CSU or UC campus to complete a bachelor’s degree in Music. Course offerings include music theory and musicianship, ensembles, and applied lessons on an instrument or voice. Students earning the Music AA-T Degree will receive “priority admission with junior status to the CSU system.”  Students completing a bachelor’s degree typically choose careers in music that include performer, educator, conductor, composer, arranger, accompanist, recording engineer, radio/television audio engineer, music minister, music therapist, or private instructor.

This Music AA-T degree requires students to meet both of the following requirements:

  1. Completion of 60 semester units that are eligible for transfer to the California State University, including both of the following:
    • The Intersegmental GE Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) or the California State University GE-Breadth Requirements (CSU GE-B).
    • A minimum of 18 semester units in a major or area of emphasis. All courses in the major or area of emphasis must be completed with a grade of "C" or better.
  2. Obtainment of a minimum grade point average of 2.0.

The Music AA-T Degree requires students to complete 60 CSU transferable units including completion of IGETC and 22 units in the major with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. Music AA-T degree works only with the IGETC pattern, not with the CSU GE. There are no additional graduation requirements. Students should consult with a counselor when planning to complete the degree for more information on university admission and transfer requirements.

Required Core CoursesUnits
MUS 001Music Theory I4
MUS 002Music Theory II4
MUS 003Music Theory III4
MUS 004Music Theory IV4
Take four semesters total of the following (0.5 units each):2
Applied Music, Instrumental
Applied Music, Vocal
Large Ensemble (4 semesters total)
Select from the following courses:
MUS 027Jazz Band1
MUS 028Jazz Ensembles1
MUS 029Jazz Singers1
MUS 031Chamber Singers1
MUS 033Symphonic Band1
Required Subtotal22
IGETC Pattern 137
Transferable Electives1

Units for the major may be double counted for IGETC only (not CSU GE), confer with Counselor.


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.