Difference Between AA Degree and AS Degree (With Table)

Similar to a Bachelor’s Degree, an Associate Degree certifies the successful completion of coursework in a particular field of study. The degree is equivalent to 2 years of study in a Bachelor’s course. The two most popular choices for students going into this path of study are Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS).  

AA Degree vs AS Degree

The main difference between an AA degree and AS degree is that an AA degree is awarded after completion of a two years course in Liberal Arts. AS degree, on the other hand, is awarded on the completion of a 2-year course in any of the subjects related to the field of science.

Associate of Arts (AA) is a 2-year course equivalent to the first of a Bachelors’ degree course, which is usually of 4 years. The course is related to the field of liberal arts, which includes all the subjects and coursework that are typically included in a course of arts.  

Associate of Science (AS) is also a 2 years course, but it is completed in the field of science. Students have the option to choose any of the subjects included in the degree, such as mathematics, natural science, etc. the course is equivalent to the first half of a Bachelor’s of Science degree.

Comparison Table Between AA Degree and AS Degree

Parameters of ComparisonAA DegreeAS Degree
DefinitionAA Degree stands for Associate in Arts DegreeAS Degree stands for Associate in Science Degree
SignificanceIt is equivalent to the completion of the first half of a Bachelor’s Degree in liberal artsIt is equivalent to the completion of the first half of a Bachelor’s Degree in science
Duration of courseIt is a 2-year courseIt is also a 2-year course
Subjects includedSubjects in the field of liberal arts are included in the courseSubjects of science such as mathematics, natural science, etc are included in the course
Transferable easeAA degree has the easiest transferability since it is a postsecondary degreeTransferability is restricted to a certain limit, because of the specific nature of the subjects
Future optionsStudents with AA degrees can pursue BA in fields such as Humanities, Literature, Fine Arts, etcStudents with AS degrees can peruse BSC degree as well as degrees in Engineering, Pharmacy, etc

What is AA Degree?

Associate of Arts (AA) Degree is a 2 years degree that is equivalent to the first half of a Bachelor’s Degree in liberal arts. The courses included in the degree are related to the fields of humanities, literature, etc.

The degree is awarded after the completion of a two years course. It is a postsecondary degree and colleges offer the degree after the completion of secondary school education.

Thus, generally, students who wish to gain thorough knowledge about the subjects in Bachelor’s in Arts, before pursuing a degree in Bachelor’s of Arts opt for this degree.

It is a highly transferable course, and students have the option to a different subject for their bachelor’s, from what they had opted for earlier.

The duration of the course is 2 years, with about 60 credit hours, depending on the subject. 5 credit hours are also awarded for social science and humanities.    

After completion of the course, students have the option to pursue Bachelor’s in Arts in the subjects such as Humanities, Fine arts, Performing Arts, Literature, etc.

The degree is recognized throughout the world, so students also have the option of pursuing their studies in a foreign country. The degree provides adequate knowledge about the subjects in arts hence it is beneficial for students who want to gain a deeper understanding of the subjects.

What is AS Degree?

Associate of Science (AS) degree is a two-year course that is equivalent to completion of the first half of a Bachelor’s Degree in Science. Subjects related to the field of science such as mathematic, natural science are included in the course.

The certificate is awarded after the successful completion of the two-year course. It is a postsecondary course and is available to students after the completion of their secondary school education.

The course is beneficial for students who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the field of science, before pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in science. Thus it is a beneficial alternative to a high school degree.

The course is transferable and students have the option to select a different subject for their bachelor’s, from what they had selected for their associate degree.

Subjects such as mathematics, natural science, physics, medicine, engineering, are some of the popular choices that are available for students.

The degree is recognized throughout the world and thus there are many further studies as well as work options available for students after the completion of their AS degree.  

Engineering and Pharmacy are highly selective subjects. Hence these subjects restrict the transfer options to a certain degree.

Main Differences Between AA Degree and AS Degree

  1. AA degree stands for Associate of Arts degree. AS degree stands for Associate of Science degree.
  2. AA degree is equivalent to a 2 year course in Bachelor’s of Arts. AS degree is equivalent to the first half of a Bachelor’s of Science course.
  3. Subjects included in an AA course are related to liberal arts, such as humanities, literature, etc. subjects included in the AS course are related to the field of science, such as mathematics, physics, etc.
  4. AA degree has the easiest transferability among postsecondary degrees. Transferability of AS degree is restricted to a certain level.
  5. Students with AA degree can pursue BA degree in humanities, fine arts, performing arts, etc. students with AS can pursue Bsc degree in fields of science, engineering, pharmacy, etc.

Conclusion

Postsecondary degrees are a great alternative to regular high school degrees, as they open up different options for students who wish to pursue their bachelor’s degree with a greater understanding of the subjects.

The degrees provide the adequate information required for building a solid base for future studies in a particular field. Associate of Arts and Associate of Science are the two most popular choices for students opting for an Associate degree.       

Associate of Arts is structured for helping the students build a stronger understanding of the subjects of liberal arts.

Associate of Science degree, on the other hand, is structured in a way that it provides adequate information to students about the various science fields.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0109564187800556
  2. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED491908
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13561820701578044
  4. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10668926.2018.1478346
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