Associate in Liberal Studies (see advisor)

Program Description

Effective Aug 1, 2020:

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 coursework 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.


1. The student must complete a minimum of 62 credit hours 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, INDP 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.

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).

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 wanting 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.

Suggested Courses

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

Spoken Communication Skills
SPEC 101, 111, 114

HUM 101, 102
ART 100, 281, 282
Any literature class in English (except ENG 217, 218, or 219)
HIST 125, 127
MUSC 154
Any philosophy course
THEA 111
TV 212
200 level foreign language courses

Social Sciences
ANTH 101, 103
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 271
Any sociology course
ECE 200
CRJU 152

ASTR 101, 102
Any biology course except BIOL 150
Any chemistry course
Any physics course
PS 101, 205

Any mathematics course numbered 100 or above
CS 105, 121, 227
BUSN 160 or BUSN 220

Non-Western Studies
AG 288 *
ANTH 100
ANTH 102
ART 285
ECON 270 *
ENG 217, 218, 219
HIST 141, 142, 151, 222
MUSC 158
SPEC 175 *

*Does not satisfy IAI General Education Core Curriculum.

Minimum total hours required for degree: 62

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