Associate of Arts

A young woman smiles at something behind her in the classroom.

Associate of Arts

Subject Area: Liberal Arts and Transfer

Award: Associate of Arts

Minimum Credits: 60

Location: Calmar, Peosta, Online

Entry: Summer, Spring, Fall


The Associate of Arts degree provides a course of study which, if satisfactorily completed, will readily transfer to most colleges and universities. College parallel-transfer curricula permit completion of the equivalent of the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program in numerous institutions.

General education core courses completed for the degree are useful regardless of whether you terminate your formal education at NICC or continue your formal education at another college. Recommendations for electives related to areas of interest are provided to guide students interested in pursuing a four-year degree in the area of emphasis.

If you plan to transfer to a four-year college, you should select courses to satisfy requirements of the specific institution to which you intend to transfer. Consult your advisor at the transferring four-year institution anytime you have questions about course selection.

The Associate of Arts degree is a useful beginning if you want to get a professional degree in business, education, engineering, social work and other areas.

The Associate of Arts degree is also available via the Degree After Five program, which allows provides five-week classes, one night a week on the Peosta campus.

Admissions Requirements
  1. Apply for admission.
  2. Submit official high school, high school equivalency and/or college transcripts to the Admissions Office of the campus you plan to attend.
  3. Complete ACCUPLACER® reading and writing assessment and ALEKS® math assessment. Testing may be waived based on previous college coursework or submission of valid ACT®, ACT Compass® or ALEKS® test scores. Scores are valid for three years.
Academic Requirements

General Degree Requirements

  1. The Associate of Arts degree will include a minimum of 60 semester hours of courses designed and acceptable for transfer, and may include up to 16 semester hours of career-technical courses. Note: Students not ready to begin college/transfer level writing and math courses may need additional prerequisite coursework that requires them to exceed the 60 credit hours minimum.

  2. Students transferring an Associate of Arts degree to a public university must have maintained a minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.0 on all graded arts and sciences courses acceptable for transfer.

  3. A 2.0 cumulative GPA and a passing grade in all required courses.

  4. At least 18 credit hours must be earned at NICC. Individual departments may require specific courses to meet this requirement.

  5. Demonstrated computer literacy is a requirement for graduation. This requirement may be met with BCA:112, BCA:212, GIS:111.

  6. Completion of SDV:179 The College Experience course.

Specific Requirements for the Associate of Arts degree

Minimum Credits: 60

View the printable Ed Plan.

Meet minimum general education core requirements in each of the following areas:

Core Requirements

General Education Core Requirements


Communication: ENG:105, SPC:112 and ENG:106 or ENG:108


Math and Science (transfer-level): Minimum of one math and one science course: BIO, CHM, ENV, MAT, PHS, PHY. One science course must include a lab component.


Social Science (transfer-level): Select courses from at least two different disciplines in this teaching area: ECN, GEO, POL, PSY, SOC.


Humanities (transfer-level): Select courses from at least two different disciplines: ART, ASL, CLS, DRA, FLS, HIS, HUM, LIT, MUA, MUS, PHI, REL.


One of the following Literature courses is required: LIT:101, LIT:110, LIT:111, LIT:142, LIT:145, LIT:186.   


One of the following History courses is required: ART:203, ART:204, HIS:131, HIS:132, HIS:151, HIS:152, HIS:214.


One of the following diversity courses is required: ASL:131, ASL:161, ASL:241, ASL:271, CLS:150, FLS:141, FLS:142, FLS:242, FLS:282, HIS:214, HUM:108, HUM:170, LIT:186.


Remaining Requirements: The remaining 20 semester hours will be accepted from arts and sciences electives designed and acceptable for transfer, with the understanding that up to 16 semester hours of career-technical credit could be applied. (See the Course Classification System guide.)

Employment Information

While a variety of industries hire associate degree graduates, transferring to a four-year college or university will increase your earning potential and career options.

Transfer Information

Jeff Murphy
Dean of Liberal Arts, Science and Business, Calmar
800.728.2256, ext. 235

Douglas Binsfeld
Associate Vice President for Student Learning and Success, Peosta
800.728.7367, ext 207