The Associate of Arts and Sciences degree is the foundation for many college majors and for the bachelor's degree. The degree signals to employers that the degree holder has advanced skills in communication and critical thinking skills. These skills are paramount for success in today's workplace. The degree gives the recipients the foundation for acquiring new knowledge, which is vital to pursuing the bachelor's degree and to adapting to change in the work environment. The Associate degree is confirmation of an important accomplishment on the road to a Bachelor's degree. University of Wisconsin schools that grant the bachelor's degree consider UW Colleges students with the Associate of Arts and Sciences degree to have satisfied the university-wide general education breadth requirements.
About the Degree
To fulfill the UW Colleges mission, the degree requires that core requirements in writing and mathematics be completed as well as a distribution of credits in breadth of knowledge categories. The breadth categories in the degree are defined as follows:
Fine Arts and Humanities
Students must acquire knowledge of ideas, beliefs, and abiding concerns pertaining to the human condition as represented in literature, philosophy and cultural history. They must acquire a level of aesthetic appreciation of the human imagination as expressed in the fine arts, and appreciation of the impact of the arts upon the quality and character of human life.
Mathematical and Natural Sciences
Students must know of the nature and workings of the physical universe. They must understand scientific method, the functions of numerical data and the solving of problems through mathematical and statistical computations, as well as the application of the scientific method in laboratory and experimental work. For this, an appropriate level of computer literacy is required. Students must also be aware of environmental conditions and challenges, the interrelationships of lifeforms and ecosystems, and the impact of human activities upon natural environments.
Students must understand the nature and dynamics of human social systems and how and why people organize their lives and resources. In doing so, students will learn about both their own and diverse cultures to acquire a historical perspective on long-term characteristics and consequences of social change and an informed understanding of the variety of human conditions and the interrelationships of nations, regions, peoples and individuals.
Application and Performance
Students must demonstrate an understanding of concepts, theory and knowledge through the application of their skills and understanding to specific problems and activities.
Students must become aware of and sensitive to diversity issues and problems. Courses fulfilling this requirement will have a substantial emphasis on cultural diversity within the United States and examine these issues from at least one of the following perspectives: African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, and American Indian topics.
Students must acquire an appreciation for the multiple dimensions of any given subject by applying the content, methods and assumptions of two or more disciplines. Students will learn to integrate knowledge from across the curriculum. A course is an interdisciplinary studies course if instructors from two or more disciplines teach the course.