What is an Associate Degree?

By Alexander College Modified on November 22, 2021
Tags : Academics | Careers | Student POV

Learn all about two-year associate degrees, and how they can help you achieve your education dreams.

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What is an Associate Degree?

Selecting a program and area of study is an important decision, and often a daunting one. You may find yourself in a position where different opportunities present themselves, and you are unsure what path bests suits your needs.

Along those lines, you may also find yourself drawn to one specific area of study more so than another. Having the chance to explore your interest in the pursuit of knowledge is the beauty of education, at college and university alike.

Associate degrees and how they can help you

The Associate degree is a two year undergraduate program that will prepare you with the experience and knowledge you need in order to transfer to university or directly enter the workforce.

This program consists of 60 to 64 credit hours that you must complete. This makes up a portion of the full 4 year undergraduate degree that you can take at a university.

If you're an international student, you can also apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after completion of your Associate degree. Many of our students apply for their PGWP after graduation, and many decide to work on campus during their studies.

If you're interested in working during the course of your studies, the Associate degree program allows flexibility for work and study. Students enrolled in an Associate Degree program can work off-campus for up to 20-40 hours a week, as long as you maintain full time enrollment at Alexander College.

You're encouraged to double check your eligibility requirements prior to deciding on a route of study and work. If you need help in building your resumé, we have many skilled instructors in the Writing & Learning Centre who can provide you with all the help you need!

What is an Associate Degree?

Associate of Arts and Associate of Science

At Alexander College, we offer two types of Associate Degrees: the Associate of Science and Associate of Arts. Within these two Associate degree programs, you can choose from a variety of concentrations of study.

Associate of Arts

In the Associate of Arts program, you will expand your knowledge in the faculty of arts, focusing on topics in the humanities and social sciences, and developing your critical thinking research skills. You will have the opportunity to gain comprehensive learning and narrow the focus to your personal area of interest.

If you’re interested in the Associate of Arts, we offer concentrations in the Arts, Business, Psychology, Economics, and our new concentration, Sociology!

In the video below, AC student Mana Khalesi shares how working on campus during her Associate degree program has created a deeper level of connection to her work, and how she finds joy in helping other students like her.

Associate of Science

In the Associate of Science program, you will have the opportunity to focus on an area of study such as biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, or mathematics.

"I strongly invite international students to come to Vancouver and choose Alexander College because I think teachers here teach really clearly, and the major in Business and Computer Science are excellent. I think it’s a really good way to transfer to other universities." Kaining Zheng, is a student in the Computer Science concentration and recipient of the AC Scholarship for Computer Science. He shares his journey at Alexander College in the video below.


If you're interested in pursuing an engineering degree, the Associate of Science will provide you with a significant portion of your coursework requirements that you can transfer to a university in Vancouver, BC or across Canada. The BC Transfer Guide is a great resource for you to refer to when checking course transferability options for Vancouver colleges and universities in BC, or institutions across Canada.

Your Associate degree — entirely online

As an Alexander College student, you have the option to take your courses completely online.

In Virtual Learning courses, students meet in a virtual classroom, using video conferencing software, at a fixed time and date, and the lecturer gives instruction directly to students.

Now, we've introduced Online Learning. This format differs from the virtual classroom as the courses offered are specifically designed for online delivery. During an Online Learning course, you won't meet face to face with a lecturer. Instead, you'll have assigned weekly readings and you'll engage in online forums with your instructor and other students in the class. You'll be responsible for your online learning schedule and there are no fixed class times.


An Associate degree is a great way to get started on a four-year bachelor's degree, and offers a pathway to permanent residency in Canada. Get started by browsing the many subject areas of study at Alexander College.


Find your Associate degree at Alexander College

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