Degrees, Certificates, and Letters of Recognition
A curriculum is a series of courses designed to assist students in reaching academic, transfer, specific technical, or semiprofessional career goals, as well as to assist undecided students. Montgomery College recognizes students with associate’s degrees, certificates, and letters of recognition.
An associate’s degree recognizes successful completion of a 60- to 70- credit combination of General Education courses in English, mathematics, arts, behavioral and social sciences, humanities, and science (see below for more information); courses in a specific track or skill area; and, in some cases, electives. The College is currently authorized by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) to offer five associate’s degrees:
Associate of Arts (AA). This degree recognizes mastery in the liberal and fine arts and is intended for transfer to equivalent bachelor of arts programs at four- year schools. The AA is awarded in arts and sciences, business, communication studies, computer science and technologies, and general studies. Tracks within these programs allow students to focus their studies in specific areas (for example, arts and sciences program- music track).
Associate of Science (AS). This degree recognizes mastery in science or technology with a heavy emphasis on undergraduate mathematics or science and is intended for transfer to bachelor of science programs at four- year institutions. The AS is awarded in engineering science, public health sciences, nursing, and science. Tracks within the engineering science and science programs allow students to focus their studies in specific areas (for example, engineering science program-aerospace engineering track).
Associate of Applied Science (AAS). This degree recognizes mastery of vocational-technical occupational skills and is intended for those seeking immediate employment opportunities. Students may still transfer eligible courses to four- year institutions offering upper- division programs in related areas. Tracks within some AAS programs allow students to focus their studies in specific areas (for example, illustration track, graphic design AAS.)
Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT). This degree recognizes mastery in a core of professional education coursework and fieldwork experiences appropriate for the first two years of teacher preparation. The program is intended to prepare students to transfer to an early childhood, elementary, or selected secondary education programs at a four- year college or university in the state of Maryland. Students who receive the AAT will have fulfilled their General Education requirements and earned acceptable scores on a state approved basic skills test. The AAT offers a 2+2 program between community colleges and four- year colleges and universities, while enhancing our efforts at 2+2+2 collaborative programs with local K-12 schools.
Associate of Fine Arts (AFA). This degree recognizes mastery in the professional arts in programs that have as a primary goal transfer to a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) program, are similar to the first two years of a BFA program, and require at least 60 percent of the course credit to be in studio work and related areas. The College offers two AFA degrees: graphic design and studio art.
A certificate recognizes successful completion of a sequence of courses (a minimum of 12 credits) that focus on the development of specific technical skills.
Letter of Recognition
The letter of recognition is designed to provide students with a confirmation of the completion of a sequence of courses (6-11 credits) that teach focused skills and competencies in specific career areas. Students seeking only a letter of recognition, who are not planning to pursue a certificate or associate’s degree at the College, are considered non-degree seeking students and are not eligible for financial aid.
Campus Curricula Offerings
Some curricula are offered at all campuses, and some are limited to one or two. In this section of the catalog, when a curriculum is offered at a specific campus, it is indicated by G for Germantown, R for Rockville, or T for Takoma Park/Silver Spring. If there is no campus designation, all campuses may offer the curriculum. (Note that the Graphic Design AFA and the Studio Art AFA are offered at the School of Art + Design in Silver Spring as well as at the Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring campuses.) Students may take appropriate courses offered on any campus to meet the requirements of the curriculum in which they are enrolled.
Choosing a Curriculum
Curricula at the College are designed to serve a variety of individual educational needs, including preparation for transfer, and for specific technical or semiprofessional careers. The first step toward academic and career success is to select a field that matches a person’s skills, needs, interests, goals, experience, and training. To further explore these options, students may seek assistance through Career Services, Counseling and Advising, academic faculty in areas of interest, workshops on career exploration, and career development courses.
Students uncertain of their goals may obtain career exploration assistance at Montgomery College. Assistance may be provided by the Career Centers, counseling services, academic faculty in areas of interest, workshops on career exploration, and career development courses. Students should also read the following section on selecting a major. Using the general studies curriculum, the student and counselor can design a program of courses to meet career or transfer goals.
Selecting a Major
Many students come to college without clearly defined career goals. The first step toward academic and career success is to select a field that matches a person’s skills, interests, and values. There are several computerized guidance programs and pencil- and- paper inventories that can help students identify interests and match them with possible occupations. These programs are available in the Career Center on any campus.
Gainful Employment Programs
Federal regulations require colleges to report information to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the public on “gainful employment” certificate programs. These programs prepare students for employment in recognized occupations. ED approves these programs for Title IV (federal) financial aid eligibility based on certain criteria. Not all certificate programs at Montgomery College are Title IV aid- eligible. Consequently, students are not eligible for financial aid if they are enrolled in certificate programs at Montgomery College that are not approved for Title IV aid.
Consumer information on each gainful employment certificate, including student completion rates, cost and length of each program, and the employment preparation in each program can be found in the official online catalog at www.montgomerycollege.edu/heoa.
The College is committed to promoting student success and ensuring student retention while also continuing the institution’s excellence, accountability, and continuous learning. To this end, practices and procedures have been established to ensure that faculty and administrators systemically and methodically assess student learning outcomes and review programs. All departments and administrative offices participate in the College Area Review, which evaluates each area of the College for collective improvement. In compliance with Middle States standards, the College requires that programs undergo Outcomes Assessment to assure that students are meeting program learning outcomes.
For more information about the College Area Review please visit the website www.montgomerycollege.edu/car.
For more information about Outcomes Assessment, visit www.montgomerycollege.edu/outcomes.
Transfer to a Four-Year Institution
Each year, Montgomery College students transfer to colleges and universities across the country. Students interested in transferring should consult with a counselor or an academic advisor as early in their educational program as possible. Counselors can assist with course selection and academic planning to maximize the transfer of credit to four-year institutions.
For students who plan to continue their education and transfer in a specific discipline (e.g., business administration, computer science, engineering, etc.), the College offers degrees that provide the first two years of a four- year degree program as well as a general studies curriculum. In cases where Montgomery College does not offer a particular major, the general studies curriculum can be used to meet transfer requirements. Counselors and academic advisors can assist students in planning; however, it is the responsibility of the students to meet the requirements of their intended transfer institutions. Students are encouraged to meet with a counselor or academic advisor each semester to discuss the most appropriate transfer plan.
The College is dedicated to creating partnerships with four- year colleges and universities that create a clear transfer pathway for students. One important way of doing this is by forming transfer agreements, official agreements that match coursework between schools. These are designed to help students make a smooth transition when transferring from the College to a four-year institution. Some agreements state that four-year schools will accept an entire associate’s degree from the College. Other agreements outline specific courses to take at the College for transfer. Students can view the College’s existing transfer agreements at www.montgomerycollege.edu/agreements.
Montgomery College offers a variety of resources for transfer planning, including individual transfer advising, on campus visits from partner institutions, a transfer scholarship month, and Transfer Fairs held every fall and spring. Web planning resources include:
- The Montgomery College transfer website (www.montgomerycollege.edu/transfer) includes information to help students research, select, and apply to colleges, and navigate the transfer process.
- ARTSYS (http://artsys.usmd.edu), the articulation system for Maryland colleges and universities, indicates which Montgomery College courses will be accepted for credit at most instate transfer institutions.
- The Montgomery College Transfer Times (mctransfertimes.blogspot.com) an interactive blog contains announcements and valuable transfer tips to help students prepare for transfer.
- The MC Transfer Scholarship Blog (mctransferscholarships.blogspot.com), lists scholarships specifically for transfer students.
Career and Technical Education
The College offers 43 CTE degree programs. They are highly specialized technical education programs that are aligned with the requirements of the occupation. The degree also includes a strong component of general education courses to increase students’ breadth of knowledge. The College also offers non- degree certificate curricula, in which students develop technical skills and expertise in a specific area.
Students enrolling in career/technical curricula should be aware that, in some of these curricula, there are specialized courses that are not usually acceptable for transfer to four-year colleges and universities.
The General Education Program
In the belief that all students who earn a degree from Montgomery College should exhibit both breadth and depth of knowledge, the College requires a General Education component in all degree programs. The goal of the General Education program is to provide all students, in both career and transfer curricula, with the foundation to live a productive life, to be a citizen of the world, to appreciate aesthetic values, and to engage in life- long learning in a continually changing world. For this reason, the General Education program requires courses across the arts and humanities, behavioral and social sciences, and natural sciences.
After completing the program, students will develop five competencies: skills in written and oral communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, technological competency, and information literacy. Students will also develop an awareness of the arts and an understanding of their personal, social, and civic responsibilities.
Global and Cultural Perspective Requirement
Students in associate of arts (AA) and associate of science (AS) programs will include one course designated as a “global and cultural perspectives” course from within the general education distribution areas. The course has a primary focus or provides in-depth study that leads students to an appreciation of the differences, as well as commonalities, among people by studying the ideas, history, values, and/or creative expressions of diverse groups.
Transfer of General Education Courses
Montgomery College’s General Education program meets the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s (MHEC) Academic Regulations on General Education and Transfer and the Middle States accreditation General Education guidelines. MHEC transfer guidelines state that general education courses taken at one Maryland public college or university will transfer without further review to another Maryland public institution without the need for a course-to-course match. That is, a course designated as general education by a sending institution will fulfill a general education category requirement even if the receiving institution does not offer that specific course among general education choices.
Students interested in transferring to private or out-of-state schools should select General Education courses carefully. For more information about the General Education program and transfer, please visit www.montgomerycollege.edu/gened.
The Maryland Higher Education Commission designates some community college programs as statewide programs. Students may enroll in any of these programs at the same rates as in-county residents if a particular program is not offered by the local community college, or if the student cannot enroll due to an enrollment limit. These programs are subject to change; apply at the Office of Admissions and Records.
Please see MHEC’s website at https://mhec.state.md.us for the most current listing of statewide programs and Health Workforce Shortage Programs.
Health Workforce Shortage Programs
Health Workforce Shortage Programs have been identified by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Maryland residents may enroll in any of these programs and pay the in-county tuition rate of each school on a space-available basis. These programs are subject to change.
Please see MHEC’s website at https://mhec.state.md.us for the most current listing of statewide programs and Health Workforce Shortage Programs.