Types of Associate Degrees

I. Associate Degrees for Transfer: AA-T and AS-T 

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 ; OR the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) pattern. 
  5. Students do not need to complete the local requirements of Kinesiology and Reading 051 or 061.

II. Career Technical Education Degrees: AA and AS


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).

III. Local Degrees: AA and AS


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).