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, 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 credits for a certificate and 60 semester credits for an associate degree, including transfer credits, at the 100-level or above. At least 15 semester credits applicable to any certificate or associate degree must be earned at UAF. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required in all work as well as in your major field. In addition, you must earn a minimum C- grade in courses required for your associate degree major. Some majors require higher GPAs for major course work.

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

TABLE 18 General University Requirements for
Certificates and associate Degrees
Certificate 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. Some departments have higher requirements No grade lower than C- in courses required for major. Some departments have higher requirements.
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


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

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

  • Changing Your Major
    Undergraduate students may change majors by completing a change of major form available from the Office of Admissions and the Registrar or at A change of major becomes effective the semester it is submitted. Students who wish to change majors from one level to another level (e.g., from an associate degree to a bachelor's degree) must contact the Office of Admissions and the Registrar to apply for a level change.


An area of emphasis, including the major core courses within a student's degree program, is termed a concentration. Some programs at UAF require a concentration, others do not. A student may only earn one degree in a specific discipline once. Using different concentrations within a degree program to count as different degrees is not allowed.

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 complete 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 and published in the UAF catalog 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 student registration procedure. If you do not enroll for a semester or more, or if you enroll through the nondegree 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. The undergraduate petition form is available at Forms need to be returned to the Office of Admissions and the Registrar with required approval signatures. The Office of Admissions and the Registrar will post the petition information on DegreeWorks and notify you once a decision on your petition has been received. Academic petitions fall into three categories, and each involves 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 Office of Admissions and the Registrar. 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 the department or program head of your major or minor area. Submit your signed petition to the Office of Admissions and the Registrar.
  • 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 Office of Admissions and the Registrar. It will then be forwarded to the 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 residence 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. You are encouraged to work with your advisor and use DegreeWorks throughout your college career to ensure you are on track to graduate.
  • Application for Graduation
    You need to formally apply for graduation. An application for graduation and nonrefundable fee must be filed with the Office of Admissions and the Registrar. We encourage you to apply the semester prior to the semester you plan to graduate. If you file your application by the published deadline, the graduation application fee is $50. If you miss that deadline, you can submit a late application for graduation by the published late graduation deadline for the semester. The fee for a late application is $80. 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 Office of Admissions and the Registrar. 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; 3.75 or higher, magna cum laude; 3.9 or higher and no grade lower than A-, 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/academic bankruptcy.
    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 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 for students preparing for entry-level employment or upgrading in a specific occupation.
  • Associate of Science
    The A.S. degree represents the completion of a broad-based course of study with an emphasis in the sciences. This degree may serve as a steppingstone to a science-related baccalaureate program. You may earn only one A.S. degree.
  • 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 bachelor's programs. The A.A. degree is offered at all UAF campuses as well as online. Students may earn only one A.A.
  • Associate of Applied Science
    The A.A.S. is for students preparing for entry-level employment or upgrading in a specific occupation. This degree is not intended for transfer into a four-year degree program. However, some courses within the A.A.S. degree may be accepted in a four-year bachelor's program. (Each course is considered on an individual basis.)