How to Earn a Certificate or Associate Degree

To earn a UAF degree, you must satisfy three sets of requirements: general university requirements, certificate or degree requirements and program (major) requirements. These requirements are all described in this section of the catalog. Requirements for your major are found in the Certificate and Associate Degree Programs section.

If your degree program is delivered collaboratively within the UA system (e.g., information technology specialist, early childhood education, human services and rural human services), then the credits you earn from each UA institution will be counted toward fulfillment of the degree requirements and fulfillment of the minimum institutional residency requirements. Institutional residency requirements are the minimum number of credits you must earn from the campus where you earn a degree.

General University Requirements

You must earn at least 30 semester hours for a certificate and 60 semester hours for an associate degree, including transfer credits, to earn a UAF certificate or degree. At least 15 semester credits applicable to any certificate and associate degree must be earned at UAF. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in all work as well as in your major fields. In addition, you must earn a minimum C grade in courses required for your associate degree major.

Unless otherwise specified by the appropriate academic unit, a course may be taken more than once toward fulfilling degree, certificate, major requirements. However, credit hours for such courses count only once toward total credits required for the degree or certificate.

Certifying that you have met all major requirements is the responsibility of your department faculty, who notify the Registrar's Office.

If you want to use correspondence study credits from a school other than UAF to satisfy degree requirements, you must have the approval of those courses by the dean of the school or college from which you will graduate; otherwise, you take the risk of not having the courses accepted.


You may declare a major when you are admitted to UAF as a degree-seeking undergraduate student. If you haven't chosen a major you'll be enrolled as a general studies student. Non-degree students are not eligible to declare a major or to be assigned class standing.

Students enrolled in associate degree or certificate programs who want to declare a baccalaureate degree major must apply for admission to a degree program following the standard admission process for bachelor's degree programs. (See admission requirements in the How to Earn a Baccalaureate Degree.)

General University Requirements for Certificate and Associate Degrees
Associate Degree
Minimum number of credits required 30 credits 60 credits
Credits that must be earned at UAF
(residence credit)
15 credits 15 credits
Grade point average required 2.0 cumulative and in major 2.0 cumulative and in major
Minimum grades required for major   No grade lower than C in courses required for major
Catalog year that can be used to meet requirements May use any catalog in effect when enrolled as a degree-seeking student, regardless of major; five-year limit on catalog year May use any catalog in effect when enrolled as a degree-seeking student, regardless of major; five-year limit on catalog year
Second degree requirements   Only one A.A. degree may be earned; 12 credits beyond first A.A.S. degree and all requirements for the second degree must be met
  • Changing your Major-- Undergraduate students may change majors by completing an change of major form available from the Registrar's Office or online at the registrar website. Regardless of when you submit the form, a change of major doesn't become effective until the beginning of the upcoming fall or spring semester.

Second Associate Degree

To receive a second associate of applied science degree, you must earn at least 12 credit hours beyond the first associate degree as well as completing all requirements for the major. As long as you have completed the additional 12-hour requirement, you may be awarded two degrees in one semester.

Degree Requirements and Time Limits

You may complete degree requirements in effect in any one of the previous five academic years in which you are enrolled as a degree student for a certificate or associate degree. You are considered enrolled in your degree program when you complete the appropriate degree-seeking student registration procedure. If you do not enroll for a semester or more, or if you enroll through the non-degree student registration process, you aren't considered enrolled as a degree student during that time.

Exceptions to Degree Requirements

Occasionally an undergraduate student may request an exception to an academic requirement or regulation. Requests for an academic dispensation must be approved by petition. If you submit a petition on the basis of a disability, the coordinator of disability services will be consulted. Petition forms are available at the Registrar's Office or online at the registrar website. Forms need to be returned to the Registrar's Office with required signatures of approval. The Registrar's Office will notify you once the appropriate person or committee has made a decision about whether to approve your petition. Academic petitions fall into three categories and each involve different processes:

  • Core Curriculum Petitions--If your petition deals with baccalaureate core requirements, your advisor and the head of the department of the academic area involved must grant approval. Submit your signed petition to the Registrar's Office. It will then be forwarded to the chair of the faculty senate core curriculum review committee for consideration.
  • Major or Minor Degree Requirement Petitions--If you want to waive or substitute courses within your major or minor requirements, you need approval signatures from your advisor and department or program head of your major or minor area. Submit your signed petition to the Registrar's Office.
  • Petitions for Other Requirements--If your petition deals with general university and/or specific requirements for your degree or other academic policies, you need approval from your advisor and the dean or director of the college or school in which your major is located. Submit your signed petition to the Registrar's Office. It will then be forwarded to the UAF provost for consideration.

Residence Credit

Residence credit is course credit earned through any unit of UAF. Formal classroom instruction, correspondence study, distance-delivered courses, individual study or research at UAF are all considered resident credit. On the other hand, transfer credit, advanced placement credit, credit for prior learning, military service credit and credit granted through nationally prepared examinations are not considered residence credit, nor are credit by examination credits earned through locally prepared tests. None of these types of credit can be applied to UAF residency requirements.

Residency Requirement

Most universities have residency requirements that call for a certain number of credits toward a degree to be earned at the degree-granting school. At UAF, the residency requirement for both certificates and associate degrees is 15 resident credits.


  • Responsibility--You are responsible for meeting all requirements for graduation.
  • Application for Graduation--You need to formally apply for graduation. An application for graduation and non-refundable fee must be filed with the Office of the Registrar during the semester you plan to graduate. If you file your application by the published deadline, the graduation application fee is $20. If you miss that deadline, you can submit a late application for graduation and $30 fee up to six weeks before the last class day of the semester or summer term. Applications for graduation filed after the late deadline are processed for graduation the following semester. Students who apply for graduation and who do not complete degree requirements by the end of the semester must reapply for graduation and repay the fee.
  • Diplomas and Commencement--UAF issues diplomas to graduates three times a year: in September following summer sessions, in January at the end of fall semester and in May at the end of spring semester. Students who complete degree requirements for UA Board of Regents-approved academic programs during the academic year are invited to participate in the annual commencement ceremony at the end of spring semester.

Names of students receiving degrees/certificates appear in the commencement program and are released to the media unless you submit a written request not to do so to the graduation department. Students who do not want their names released can indicate so on the application for graduation form. Graduates are responsible for ordering caps and gowns through the UAF bookstore in early spring.

  • Graduation with Honors--Graduation with honors is a tribute that recognizes academic achievement. Honors graduates have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher in all college work. If a student's overall cumulative GPA is 3.5 or higher, a student graduates with the distinction of cum laude; 3.8 or higher, magna cum laude; 4.0, summa cum laude.

Your cumulative GPA for graduation with honors is based on all college work attempted at UAF, including any repeated or omitted credits due to fresh start. For transfer students to be considered for graduation with honors, they must have:

  • 3.5 cumulative GPA in all attempted UAF credits, and
  • UAF residence credit of 48 semester hours for a baccalaureate degree or 24 semester hours for an associate degree. Once those requirements are met, a cumulative GPA is calculated combining all college work attempted at UAF, as well as all college work attempted at any other institutions you've attended, including repeated credits and any credits that may not have been accepted for transfer to UAF. The combined cumulative GPA must also be 3.5 or higher for a transfer student to graduate with honors.

Types of Certificates and Associate Degrees

  • Certificate Programs--Certificate programs are designed for students who are preparing for entry-level employment or upgrading in a specific occupation.
  • Associate of Arts--The A.A. is a program of study with an interdisciplinary approach useful for transferring to future degree programs or as a starting point for a career. An emphasis created in an A.A. program can fulfill general education requirements or become the basis for a minor in many baccalaureate programs. The A.A. degree is offered at all UAF campuses as well as online.
  • Associate of Applied Science--The A.A.S. is intended for students who are preparing for entry-level employment or upgrading in a specific occupation. This degree is not intended for transfer into a four-year degree program; some courses within the A.A.S. degree, however, may be accepted in a four-year baccalaureate program (each course is considered on an individual basis).