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Associate in Liberal Studies

Last updated 4/2/2014

Major Code 2031

Purpose. The Associate in Liberal Studies (ALS) degree was developed to offer mature students an alternative program if their personal needs and goals cannot be accomplished within the structure of a traditional degree program. Thus, students pursuing this degree option must have clearly defined needs and goals, and these must be of the type that cannot be realized through the more traditional associate degree programs. During the initial interview, ALS advisors determine whether or not the student should be pursuing the degree.

The ALS is generally not intended as a preparation for transfer to a college or university, and in most cases, students intending to complete a baccalaureate degrees should pursue an AA or AS degree. However, with the development of distance learning and “innovative” degree programs, including those in the applied science disciplines, depending on the program of studies and receiving institution, the ALS degree can be more transferable. Additionally, even at more traditional senior institutions, based on the courses included in the ALS degree plan, some or all of the course work may be accepted as applicable to a bachelor’s degree. Consequently, if you are considering this degree option, early and careful degree planning is strongly recommended.

For the ALS degree, students carefully plan a course of study that will allow them to accomplish their defined educational goals and needs. Courses included within this plan must then be approved by an ALS advisor, and any subsequent variation from it must also have prior approval from that same advisor.

Degree requirements are:

  1. The student must complete a minimum of 64 credit hours of credit with a “C” (2.0) or above average for all college work attempted. (Courses numbered below 100 may not be applied toward the ALS degree.)
  2. A written statement of the student’s educational goals and a written course of study to accomplish them must be completed and approved by an ALS advisor prior to the student’s registration for the last 32 credit hours of college credit work, not to include any credit from proficiency examinations or national testing programs. If a student fails to complete the “written course of study” before the final 33 credit hours, the following requirement applies as to when the agreement is initiated; between 33-45 credit hours, the student must complete a one credit capstone course; between 46-54 credit hours, the student must complete a two credit capstone course; and with 55 credits or more, the student must complete a three credit capstone course. The capstone course maybe LIB 250, LIB 260, IND 299, or a departmental independent study. The capstone course will be undertaken with a faculty member and must be approved as part of the ALS degree agreement.
  3. The student must complete a core curriculum of 21 credit hours with a minimum of three hours of credit in each of the following areas: written communication skills, spoken communication skills, humanities, social sciences, science, mathematics, and Non-Western studies. A detailed description of this core curriculum follows.
  4. The student must complete ten credit hours of college credit work at Black Hawk College, but this does not have to be the last ten hours of work. No credit earned through national testing programs or college proficiency examinations may be included within this ten-hour requirement.
  5. No more than twenty-five percent of credit applied toward the ALS degree may be earned in Independent Study 299.

Core Curriculum. The purpose of the ALS core curriculum is to ensure that the student’s course of study possesses sufficient breadth to qualify as a college degree. The requirements for the core curriculum can be satisfied by credit earned at Black Hawk College or by credit accepted in transfer from other accredited colleges and universities. These requirements may also be satisfied by credit earned on the basis of the appropriate general or subject examinations in the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).

Three or more credit hours of credit must be earned in each of the following areas by the completion of courses listed:

Written Communication Skills
BE 180
COMM 105
ENG 101, 231, 232
JOUR 222

Spoken Communication Skills
SPEC 101, 111, 114

Humanities
HUM 101, 102
ART 100, 281, 282
Any literature class in English (except ENG 217, 218, or 219)
HIST 125, 127
MUSC 153, 154, 256
Any philosophy course
THEA 111
Any foreign language course

Social Sciences
ANTH 101
ARCH 203, 204
ECON 150, 221, 222
Any history course except HIST 125, 127 and those listed in non-western studies
Any psychology course except PSYC 105
Any political science course except POLS 262, and 271
Any sociology course
CD 200
CRJU 200

Science
ASTR 101, 102
Any biology course except BIOL 150
Any chemistry course
HPE 220 or 221
Any geography course except GEOG 105
Any physics course
PN 110

Mathematics
Any mathematics course numbered 100 or above
Any computer science course (CS Prefix)
BA 160 or BA 220

Non-Western Studies
* AG 288
ANTH 102
ART 285
* ECON 270
ENG 217, 218, 219
GEOG 105
HIST 141, 142, 151, 181, 182, 222
IS 220
MUSC 158
POLS 262
* SBS 200
* SPEC 175

* Does not satisfy IAI General Education Core Curriculum.

(In some cases, as a result of a consideration of the student’s needs and goals and his or her planned course of study, an ALS advisor may allow substitution of courses in the above list, if appropriate.)

Educational Agreement. The ALS degree Educational Agreement establishes clearly the student’s educational needs and goals and outlines a precise set of courses that the student must complete for the degree. Both advisor and student must sign this agreement, and it can be modified only with the approval of both.

All students pursuing the ALS degree are assigned specially trained academic advisors who assist them in completing the degree agreement and provide continuing assistance and advisement. Students interested in pursuing the ALS degree or those wishing additional information should contact the Black Hawk College Advising Services Department.

Servicemen’s Opportunity College. Through its ALS degree, Black Hawk College has been designated as a Servicemen’s Opportunity College (SOC) by the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. This designation reflects the College’s commitment, through the ALS degree, to respond to the educational needs of military service personnel.

Military personnel interested in making application for an educational agreement for the ALS degree may obtain information and academic advisement by calling the Black Hawk College Advising Services Department.