Aug 14, 2022  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog

Liberal Studies, AA

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Pending approval by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), this program will be offered beginning in the Spring 2023 Academic Period.

Program Information

The Associate of Arts (AA) program in Liberal Studies is an interdisciplinary pathway to a career, with the option to transfer to a four-year degree in the future. Students in the program will gain exposure to a breadth of disciplines for longer-term academic and career advancement, and be prepared for a wide range of entry-level roles in in-demand fields. General education ‘core’ courses are required for the completion of this program, including college writing, mathematics, communication, social science, and applied reasoning. The program offers students the chance to explore a variety of disciplines such as economics, accounting, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. As part of the program, students will complete an industry certificate that is designed to prepare them for an entry-level position in a roles such as bookkeeping, sales and marketing, project management, user interface design, data analytics, or IT support.

While pursuing an AA in Liberal Studies, students will study major theories, practices, and applications of a wide range of disciplines. Through this program, students will explore many different fields, making interdisciplinary connections, building an academic foundation, and instilling a respect for lifelong learning. Students will also consider challenges in many fields including ethical and social considerations, and develop a well-rounded critical thinking skillset. The AA in Liberal Studies is a flexible degree focused on a career entry point, one that enables students to receive credit for prior learning and / or work experience, and enables them to continue to earn credit for learning acquired outside the classroom.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program should be able to do the following in the following areas:

Critical Thinking

  • Identifies assumptions and claims in arguments. Identifies, categorizes, and distinguishes among elements of ideas, concepts, theories, or practical approaches to standard problems.
  • Draws warranted inferences and formulates hypotheses from evidence; assesses strengths and weaknesses of inferences.

Quantitative Fluency

  • Presents accurate arithmetic and algebraic calculations and symbolic operations.
  • Explains how both calculations and symbolic operations are used in quantitative information on political, economic, health-related, or technological topics.
  • Creates and explains graphs or other visual depictions of trends, relationships or changes in status.


  • Describes one’s own moral beliefs and values, including their origins and development, assumptions, and predispositions.
  • Identifies and describes ethical issues. Describes common theories, concepts, and approaches to moral problems. Applies ethical perspectives/concepts/theories to ethical questions accurately. Articulates positions on ethical issues and/or rationale for decisions taking into account differing ethical perspectives and concepts. (Assessed with the remaining horizontals.)
  • Describes, explains, and evaluates the sources of their own perspective on selected issues in culture, society, politics, the arts, or global relations and compares that perspective with other views. NOTE: Application of this rubric requires: 1) identification of an issue or issues in culture, politics, the arts, or global relations; and 2) identification of range of views on the issue or issues.

Information Literacy

  • ​Identifies, categorizes, evaluates, and cites multiple resources to create projects and papers with respect to a general theme within the arts, sciences, or professional practice.

Lifelong Learning

  • Identifies and examines connections between values, interests, strengths, prior learning (including academic learning), and professional goals.
  • Demonstrates attitudes and habits productive of lifelong learning, including curiosity, initiative, independence, and transfer (adapting and applying learning skills and knowledge gained in one situation to a new situation).

Applied Learning

  • ​Describes in writing at least one substantial case in which knowledge and skills acquired in academic settings are applied to a field-based challenge and evaluates the learning gained from the application using evidence and examples. NOTE: Application of this rubric to a particular assignment requires identification of: 1) characteristics of possible case or challenge; and 2) identification of knowledge and skills acquired in academic setting to be applied.
  • Analyzes at least one significant concept or method in light of learning outside the classroom. NOTE: Application of this rubric to an assignment requires: 1) description of the characteristics of “learning outside the classroom”; and 2) identification of significant concepts and/or methods.
  • Locates, gathers, and organizes evidence regarding a question in a field-based venue beyond formal academic study and offers alternate approaches to answering it. NOTE: Application of this rubric to an assignment requires: 1) identification of the field-based venue and the question to be treated; and 2) definition of general boundaries of “formal academic study.”


  • Develops cogent, coherent, and substantially error-free writing for effective communication to general and specialized audiences.
  • Effectively delivers formal and informal oral presentations appropriate to an audience in various contexts.

Broad Integrative Knowledge

  • Describes a key debate or problem relevant to each core field, explains the significance of the debate or problem to the wider society, and shows how concepts from the core field can be used to address the selected debates or problems.
  • Uses recognized methods of each core field studied, including the gathering of evidence, in the execution of analytical, practical, or creative tasks.
  • Describes and evaluates the ways in which at least two fields of study define, address, and interpret the importance for society of a problem in science, the arts, society, human services, economic life, or technology. NOTE: Application of this rubric to a particular assignment requires identification of: 1) the core fields or range of core fields addressed in the assignment; and 2) the issue in question.

Requirements for the Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies

The degree requires completion of 60 units as follows: 24 units of core courses and 36 units of elective courses. Each course listed carries four semester units of credit, unless otherwise noted.

A cumulative grade-point average of 2.00 (“C” grade) or higher is required in all courses taken at Golden Gate University. Prerequisites to a course, if any, are listed in the course descriptions

Core Requirements - 24 units


Select one of the following:

Social Science

Select one of the following:

Problem Solving/Foundations

Select one of the following:

Elective Courses - 36 units

Select nine of the courses listed below, and/or complete an industry certificate for up to 12 units. (Note: Students should contact their academic advisors for a list of eligible industry-related certificates.)

Undergraduate Honors Program

The School of Undergraduate Studies’ honors program provides opportunities for students enrolled in all degree programs to engage in enriched learning experiences while they work toward earning their degrees.  Students do not need to apply separately for this program, but  may participate in it simply by registering for honors-designated course sections, as described below. Upon graduation, students who have completed the honors program must complete and submit the Request for Honors Program Notation form to the Registrar’s Office to have the notation added to their transcripts.

Honors-designated course sections will emphasize the following learning outcomes: information literacy, quantitative fluency, oral/written communication, and critical thinking. Students will be required to complete advanced and more rigorous assignments that demonstrate learning beyond the articulated course outcomes. Additional assessments will be designed to emphasize core skills such as critical thinking, writing, research, and self-reflection.

Program Requirements

To complete the honors program, students must complete any combination of 12 units (four 3-unit courses) of “honors” designated sections and an “honors” designated capstone course section (3 units) for a total of 15 units, with a minimum GPA in the five honors courses of 3.00 and a minimum overall degree program GPA of 3.30. Note: honors course sections can be identified in the online course schedule with a section prefix beginning with the letter “U” (i.e., USF1) and by information in the section comments field of the section details page. Students should contact their academic advisors or the Registrar’s Office if they need help identifying honors-designated course sections.

Honors sections of the courses below will be offered every term. In addition, students who transfer any of these courses into GGU may petition to have an honors section offered of other courses in order to satisfy the 12 unit requirement. Students should contact their academic advisors to begin the petition process.

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