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How do I get an Associate's Degree in Science?

Lily Ruha
Lily Ruha

Getting an associate’s degree in science requires enrolling in an academic program in a college or university. This degree can typically be completed within two years with full-time attendance. Some colleges offer associate’s degrees with a focus on biology, chemistry or physics. The curriculum usually consists of a combination of general education requirements, core science courses, and electives. Students typically apply their associate’s degree in science toward a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university.

Enrollment in a program offering an associate’s degree in science usually involves general education courses, which include a study of literature, composition, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences. Core science courses may include a combination of physical and life sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, astronomy, geology and environmental science. This degree program generally also includes a small number of elective courses, allowing students to study subjects of general interest.

The best science schools offer students a lot of opportunity for hands-on training.
The best science schools offer students a lot of opportunity for hands-on training.

Earning an associate’s degree in science generally requires completion of a two-year academic program. This is usually accomplished through full-time attendance of classes. Part-time attendance is often allowed by community colleges, which is an important option for students who must work full-time or have other life obligations. The degree is usually granted after a student has demonstrated regular attendance and successful completion of all course requirements.

An associate’s degree in science can also be obtained online. This is advantageous for students who work, have family responsibilities or transportation issues that prevent regular attendance of on-campus classes. The benefits of online programs generally include saving on transportation costs and time, studying on a flexible schedule, and moving at one’s own pace in the learning process. Students who do not possess basic computer skills or who learn better through increased in-person communication with teachers and students might find it challenging to earn an associate’s degree online.

Most students who enroll in an associate’s degree in science are interested in career paths that require a more advanced degree. In most cases, the associate’s degree can be applied toward a bachelor’s degree, although this allowance varies from one program to the next. Degrees in the life and physical sciences are often a firm foundation for research positions in molecular and cellular biology, opportunities in environmental sciences, and applications to nursing and medical schools. Other careers for which this degree is a possible beginning include marine biology, oceanography, teaching jobs in the sciences, and botany-related careers such as horticulture or agriculture.

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Discussion Comments


That makes sense Rundocuri, since most jobs in the field of science include research or teaching. It's not likely that these types of jobs are available without higher level degrees in science.


My niece got an associate's degree in science, and found that she would need to pursue a higher degree of science to get the kind of job she wanted. I think students in fields of science should start with their bachelor's degrees because it doesn't seem like there is much an associate's degree will do when it comes to getting a good job.

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    • The best science schools offer students a lot of opportunity for hands-on training.
      By: markos86
      The best science schools offer students a lot of opportunity for hands-on training.