Associates of Science, Northern Virginia Community College

Information for this profile was provided by Callan Bentley, Northern Virginia Community College. Information is also available on the program website. Students in this program are pursuing a associates degree.

Program Design & Assessment


This is a very broad program which is offered in contrast to a less-science intensive A.A. degree. If a student intends to major in STEM at a four-year college / university, they first earn an A.S. at NOVA before transferring.

Strengths of this program
It's wide open in terms of access and possibilities.

Types of students served
We are a two-year college in a diverse area of the country. We serve an extraordinarily diverse group of students: white suburban students looking for an inexpensive first 2 years of college, poor performers in high school who couldn't get into a selective institution, first generation students, immigrants, minorities of every stripe, career switchers, lifetime learners, etc., etc.

Program Goals

The goals of this program are as follows:
Give students access to the educational opportunities they seek. (Sound broad? It is: this is a very broad program.)

The learning goals were informed by the following resources:
N/A - this is a question for a 4-year geoscience major program, I would think...

How program goals are assessed
The College's administration keeps track of many criteria including the ethnicity, race, and gender of students in every class, full-time equivalents, popularity of each class, etc.

Design features that allow goals to be met:
Not specifically, but I would think that because we're part of an enormous institution that studies itself with some efficiency, that certainly helps.

Alumni Careers

Graduation rate

Careers pursued by our alumni
We know little in any kind of systematic way - largely because we are a two-year college, and there are institutional filters aplenty between our time with the students and their eventual careers. A few anecdotes percolate back from time to time, but it seems like those are from particularly successful exemplars, and therefore they represent a biased sample of the total.

Courses and Sequencing

Diagram of course sequencing and requirements

Entry into the degree
There are many STEM disciplines in our A.S. program, so rather than list all the introductory level courses, I'll just focus on the geological options:
GOL 105 - Physical Geology
GOL 106 - Historical Geology
GOL 111 - Oceanography I
GOL 112 - Oceanography II
GOL 225 - Environmental Geology

Core Courses
1 student success course (1 cr.)
1 lifetime fitness course (1 cr.)
1 computer science course (3 cr.)
1 communications course (3 cr.)
2 social sciences courses (6 cr.)
2 humanities or fine arts courses (6 cr.)
2 English composition courses (6 cr.)
2 math courses (6-10 cr.)
6 science courses (24 cr.)

Elective courses and Requirements
This question is asked for a four-year geology major program. It's a laborious question to answer for a 2YC's A.S. program. The short answer is "almost every course in the college."


Supporting Science and Math Courses
Calculus w/ analytic geometry I and II
6 science courses - could be any, really (dozens and dozens of options)

Other key features of this program:

Supporting Materials