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About E.1.3 Core Curriculum and Degrees

The Alamo Colleges have proposed a policy change for E.1.3 Core Curriculum and Degrees—effective for students entering in the 2016-2017 academic year—as part of an overall effort to maximize the number of credits students can transfer from Palo Alto College to count toward a bachelor degree.

The policy changes focus specifically on Fields of Study and the awarding of the Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT), and Associate of Applied Science (AAS), but does not apply to any currently enrolled students on a catalog from 2015 or earlier. These awards are defined as follows:

Fields of Study

A Field of Study is a specific curriculum developed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and intended to provide statewide guarantee of transfer to any public college or university in Texas. The THECB has thirteen (13) approved Fields of Study, and Palo Alto College currently offers the following eleven (11) for AA and AS degrees:

  • Advertising/Public Relations
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education (EC-6 Generalist) as an AAT*
  • Education (7-12 and Other EC-12) as an AAT*
  • Journalism/Mass Communication
  • Mexican-American Studies
  • Music
  • Radio & TV Broadcasting/Broadcast Journalism
  • Speech Communication

Students who successfully complete a Field of Study can transfer those courses to a public college or university and receive full academic credit toward their degree program, satisfying freshman and sophomore requirements for a bachelor’s degree. This Field of Study is listed on students’ transcripts, as specified by the THECB.

For additional information click link to Fields of Study Frequently Asked Questions »

AA and AS Degrees

As stated in the Alamo Colleges 2015-2016 Academic Catalog and specified by the THECB, the AA and AS degrees are specifically designed to satisfy, as closely as possible, the freshman- and sophomore-level courses in a baccalaureate program at a Texas public college or university. The AA and AS degree programs require 42 hours in core curriculum, general education courses, and provide 18 hours in areas of concentration. Those areas of concentration will be listed on students’ transcripts through Summer 2016.

Our current practice at Palo Alto College has been to message to students that the concentration provides a guided area of study within the remaining 18 hours of the associate degree. This practice has been reaffirmed during the 2014-2015 academic year in conversations with students, faculty, and staff in the College Leadership Team. The three Alamo Colleges currently pursuing reaffirmation have stated to SACS-COC that they offer concentrations, rather than majors. As part of this process, each of these colleges has noted that the concentration serves as a guide for students in a particular discipline before transferring to earn a bachelor degree. In this, each of the four accredited Alamo Colleges align with the THECB’s fundamental criterion for AA and AS degrees.

*AAT Degree

The 2015-2016 Academic Catalog lists two Fields of Study for Education, which are issued as an AAT. The AAT degree as defined by the THECB is fully transferable to all Texas public universities. Because the AAT fulfills the requirements of the Field of Study, all Texas public universities must accept the AAT if they offer the applicable bachelor degrees leading to initial teacher certification.

AAS Degrees and Certificates of Completion

The AAS degrees and certificates are designed to provide professional and technical skills in a specified discipline. Through a sequential delivery of program courses, students develop necessary technical and workplace skills in preparation for entry-level positions. In AAS programs, students are typically enrolled in 15 hours of general education courses. The remaining 45 hours of coursework are related to a specific area of study (examples are Computer Information Systems, Horticultural Science, or Veterinary Technology), and this area of study is listed as a major on students’ transcripts.

Fields of Study Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Field of Study?

A Field of Study curriculum is created by disciplinary faculty working with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and is comprised of a set of courses that will satisfy the lower division requirement for a bachelor’s degree in a specific academic area at a Texas public university.

How many Fields of Study does Palo Alto College offer?

Palo Alto College offers 11 Fields of Study in: Advertising/Public Relations; Business; Computer Science; Criminal Justice; Education (EC-6 Generalist); Education (7-12 and Other EC-12); Journalism/Mass Communication; Mexican-American Studies; Music; Radio & TV Broadcasting/Broadcast Journalism; Speech Communication.

Are Fields of Study transcripted?

The Texas Administrative Code (Title 19, Rules 4.32) requires that the Field of Study is specified on a student’s transcript; it is also included on a student’s diploma.

How does the Field of Study transfer?

If a student successfully completes a Field of Study curriculum, that block of courses may be transferred to a public college or university and must be substituted for that institution’s lower division requirements for the degree program for the Field of Study into which the student transfers. The student shall receive full academic credit toward the degree program for the block of courses transferred. The Field of Study works in ways similar to the core curriculum, but also guarantees that the courses will apply to the degree requirements.

What is the difference between Field of Study and concentration?

A Field of Study is a block of coursework that will transfer and apply toward lower-level requirements for a bachelor’s degree. A concentration is a set of courses within a degree program that aligns as closely as possible to the requirements of local public colleges and universities. These courses will transfer but may not all satisfy the lower-level requirements for a bachelor’s degree at the student’s transfer institution.

Do I earn a degree if I follow a Field of Study?

Yes, you can earn an associate degree while following a Field of Study curriculum.

What are the benefits to following a Field of Study?

The benefits are that your coursework in that Field of Study will transfer to any public college or university in Texas and will also satisfy the requirements for your lower-division (freshman and sophomore) courses.

Where do I get more information about Fields of Study?

You may review the Texas Education Code, Sections 51.306 and 61.821-61.829,, or visit the Palo Alto College academic catalog at »

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