Are all associate's degrees created equal?

The answer to that is no. Missouri State University-West Plains offers three types of associate's degrees: The Associate of Arts, the Associate of Science, and the Associate of Applied Science. They differ in purpose and in requirements.

  • Associate of Arts - This degree is the typical transfer degree. Students who complete this have completed the lower division general education requirements based on the model general education program outlined by the Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education. Students are ready to enter specific baccalaureate programs at the junior level assuming they have also met specific grade and course requirements. A key word here is "Missouri." If you transfer to another state, you may have additional course work.
  • Associate of Science - This specialized degree is intended to transfer into a pre-professional degree. The nursing degree at Missouri State University-West Plains is an example of this degree. Students can enter the workforce after passing a state examination and/or transfer into a Bachelor of Nursing program.
  • Associate of Applied Science - This specialized degree is the primary occupationally oriented degree. Recipients of this degree are ready to enter a particular job market. It is not intended as a transfer degree to a four-year institution. However, some baccalaureate degree institutions are designing Bachelor of Applied Science degrees that take into account the limited general education courses in the AAS degree and completing the model general education programs during the final two years of schooling.