Counseling FAQs

General Information

Associate Degrees

Transfer Information

COC offers the Associate degree in two areas: Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS). An AA/AS is typically achieved in two years of full-time attendance, earning a minimum of 60 units credit.
Some students may take longer, depending on :
  • work schedules
  • family issues
  • English and math skills as determined by the COC assessment process
  • a myriad of possible life factors
For a complete listing of what falls under the AA or the AS, consult the COC catalog, contact the Counseling Office, refer to the Associate Degree Requirement page on the Counseling Department web page or consult the individual academic departments.    
There are two kinds of units that you may hear about: semester units and quarter units. At COC, students earn semester units. A unit is the amount of credit awarded at the end of a term for successfully completing a class.
The type of class you are attending determines the number of units you may earn. A typical lecture class earns three (3) units and meets for three (3) 50-minute "hours" a week during the fall or spring term. A lab/activity class may meet three or more 50-minute "hours" weekly for each unit earned.  Some classes have combined units for both lecture and lab hours, such as biology or chemistry classes.    
The college policy for the maximum number of units for all terms is 18 units. Students wishing to take more than 18 units must obtain written approval from a counselor.    
An associate degree is a two-year degree granted by a community college to students who complete a specified program of study, totaling 60 or more degree-applicable units.
A bachelor degree or baccalaureate is a four-year degree granted upon completion of at least 124 semester units or 180 quarter units. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science Degrees are offered by the California State Universities, the University of California and many private four-year colleges and universities.    
Completion of 60 units is needed to obtain an associate degree. There are a minimum of 18 units in a specific area of study, General education, Math and Reading and Written expression competency, American Institutions, Diversity, Physical Education/Wellness, and other requirements needed to obtain the degree. Please refer to the COC catalog for specific requirements.   
American Institutions is a combination of at least two classes containing History and U.S. and California government. Several options are available. See the catalog for these options.
GE or General Education is a program of courses in the arts and sciences that provides a broad educational experience. Courses are usually introductory in nature and provide students with fundamental skills and knowledge in such areas as English, Arts, Humanities, Physical and Biological sciences, Mathematics and Social sciences.
Students who plan to transfer to the CSU, UC, or some independent colleges can complete the lower division GE requirements at COC prior to transfer. There may still be upper-division GE requirement after transfer at the institution from which the bachelor's degree is granted. Generally, it is not possible to complete from a community college all of the GE needed to graduate with a Bachelor's degree.    
At COC, courses numbered 100 - 299 generally will transfer to most universities. Those transferable to the Universities of California are designated, having a "UC" in the lower right hand corner following the text of the course content. Those transferable to the California State Universities have a "CSU" in the same location.
Note: There are some exceptions and limitations of courses that transfer, so if you have questions about a particular course, please check with a counselor or consult your catalog.
Students are advised to complete 60 units that will transfer in order to be eligible for full junior status at the transfer institution.
Many private universities and out-of-state colleges will accept transfer students with fewer units. Please check the catalog for the specific college you are interested in for transfer requirements.
As a general rule, the maximum number of units accepted for transfer will be 70 semester units, although some universities accept fewer.    
Most colleges and universities will accept 70 semester units towards the total number of units needed to complete your bachelor's degree; however, if you have taken more units than that, the content of the courses will be used to satisfy needed requirements.    
The minimum GPA needed to transfer to a California State University (CSU) is 2.0. The minimum GPA needed to transfer to the University of California (UC) is 2.4.  However, in order to be competitive at a UC campus, a student's gpa often needs to be significantly higher than the minimum. The GPA needed for transfer to private colleges varies so please check the college catalog. Some majors and some colleges are impacted and will require higher GPA's for admission.    
To be accepted to an impacted program or a very popular campus, the GPA for admission will need to be considerably higher than the minimum required. A GPA of 3.0 and higher may be required to be competitive for transfer admission. The GPA will vary each year according to the specific applicant pool at that time.    
GPA stands for grade point average. Letter grades are given the following point values:
A — 4 B — 3 C — 2 D — 1 F — 0
Each class has a specific unit value. Multiply the letter grade value by the attempted unit value equals the grade points. Then divide the attempted unit total into the grade points to determine the GPA.
Units       Grade Points
3 units of A = 3 x 4  = 12
3 units of B = 3 x 3  = 9
3 units of  C = 3 x 2 = 6
3 units of D = 3 x l = 3
3 units of F = 3 x 0 = 0
To figure your grade point average, divide your total number of grade points by your total number of units attempted. In the above example, the grade point average is 2.0 or a letter grade of "C."    
IGETC or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum is a general education program which community college students can use to satisfy lower division general education requirements at any CSU or UC campus.
Completion of IGETC is one option for students to use when preparing for transfer. It is not the only option and for some majors, such as engineering and science, may not be recommended.  The ASSIST website ( outlines these guidelines.
Students who are planning to transfer to a CSU may want to complete the CSU GE pattern. If you have questions about which GE to complete, talk to a counselor.    
Certification of CSU General Education or IGETC is an important step in the transfer process. The certification of GE is the official notice verifying that a transfer student has completed courses satisfying lower division general education requirements.
The certification will be either on the transcript or on a separate certification form. The request for certification of CSU GE or IGETC is done at the time you request transcripts be sent to the transfer school. To be certified, all courses on IGETC must be completed with a grade of C or better. The CSU GE pattern can be certified by completing a specific subject area or by completing the entire 39 unit pattern.    
Lower division courses are offered for freshman and sophomore level credit. All courses offered at a community college are lower division courses.
Upper division courses are offered for junior and senior level credit. These courses are not offered by community colleges.    
Articulation is the process of evaluating courses to determine whether coursework completed at one college will meet the requirements for admission, transfer credit, general education, or major preparation at another college. The Counseling and Advisement Office has copies of the articulation agreements.
To have your transcripts sent to another college, go to the Admissions and Records Office in Bonelli Hall or go to the Admissions and Records website and fill out the transcript request form.    
A major is a program of study which leads to a degree. It is the primary area of study in which the greatest depth of knowledge will be developed. If transferring, classes taken in a major area fulfill what is called "preparation for the major." Completion of these courses prepare students for upper division classes.    
An impacted major is one that is very popular and more applications for admission are received during the priority filing period than the campus can accommodate. If you are applying to a major that is impacted, there may be a special application process, the GPA for admission may be higher, and/or you may have to complete lower division courses for the major prior to transfer.    
Preparation for a major is an important step. Information as to which classes are required for a specific major can be obtained from the college catalog and from articulation agreements.    
A minor is a secondary field of study, not as comprehensive as the major. Generally, minors are not offered at a community college.    
Not all colleges require you to declare a major prior to transfer; however, many do. For a specific CSU or UC campus, refer to information in the application for admission. For other colleges, check the college catalog or call the admissions office for that information.    
There are many resources available in the Counseling Departmetn and Transfer Center to assist you. You will want to plan to visit the college you are interested in and also research the transfer requirements in the college catalog. If a representative from the college visits COC, be sure to make an appointment to meet with them.  Excellent resources also exist on the WEB.  Check these out in the Counseling Office or Transfer Center.
Transfer Day is an event which takes place on the COC campus each fall and is a wonderful opportunity to meet with representatives from many campuses.    
The California State University (CSU) is the system of higher education in California that grants the most bachelor degrees. It is sometimes called the "teacher training" institution. The CSU also grants master degrees.
The University of California (UC) is the research system of public higher education in California. The UC grants professional and doctorate degrees, as well as bachelor and master degrees.
The CSU has a more practical, career-oriented approach to education in contrast to the more theoretical approach offered by the UC.    
There is a specific period of time when applications are first accepted for a specific term at the CSU and UC. Please refer to the Dates and Deadlines section of the respective application for the priority filing dates. Missing the priority filing period may mean losing out on possible attendance until another open enrollment period. Some institutions may continue to accept applications, but this is institution-dependent and, therefore, selective and could close at any time.    
It is difficult to answer this question because so much depends on the time you have to devote to attending school. Determine how many classes you need to meet your goals and calculate how many classes you can take per semester. Remember, summer sessions offer many classes and can assist in speeding up your educational plan.    
Attendance is the responsibility of the student. Each instructor has his/her own method of accountability for attendance. Because attendance may seem unstructured, the student has to make attending classes a priority.     
You may arrange your time schedule to meet your needs. Please adhere to the following guidelines:
You may take classes which meet for consecutive hours and still have time to arrive at the next class. For example, you may take a 9 a.m. class which ends at 9:50 a.m., and a 10 a.m. class which ends at 10:50 a.m. You may not take classes which overlap in time. For example, you may not sign up for a class that begins at 9:30 a.m. if you take another class that is not dismissed until 9:50 a.m. You may take both day and evening classes. You are not restricted to all day or all evening classes.    
At the time of registration, if a class that you want to sign up for is closed you may have the option of adding your name to the waitlist.  Please visit the Admissions and Records website for more detailed information about the waitlist procedures.  You may also seek the advice of a counselor who may suggest an alternate class or inform you of other options available to you.    
There is no general college regulation requiring the repetition of courses in which you received a substandard grade. However, certain programs of study require a "C" grade in all courses required for the program.
PLEASE NOTE: You may only take a class three (3) times. That is, you may retake a class twice after receiving a substandard grade. A petition to repeat a class for the second time is required and the petition may be filed with the Admissions and Records office.   
In order to withdraw from a class, you may use the online registration system within MyCanyons. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate the withdrawal.
You have approximately 2 weeks to withdraw without a "W" appearing on your transcript if you are taking a full semester course. (Please check current schedule for exact deadlines).  After that, if you're in a full-term length course, you may still withdraw until 75% of the term has passed. However, a "W" will appear on your permanent record for that class. (For short-term classes, the last day to withdraw varies. Please consult with your instructor or the Admissions and Records Office.) The "W" shall not be used in calculating your grade point average, but excessive "W"s will be used as factors for progress probation and dismissal procedures.