Communication Studies Degrees & Certificates

The Communication Studies Department at De Anza College offers three different Degree & Certificate programs:

  1. Certificate of Achievement
  2. Associate's of Arts for Transfer (A.A.T.)
  3. Associate's of Arts Degree (A.A.)

Why should I get a degree or certificate?

There are two primary reasons to earn a degree or certificate.

  1. First, De Anza is not simply a stepping stone to more education, but it is an institution of higher learning, and a degree or certificate is a permanent and verifiable record of the effort and accomplishments of our students here.

  2. Second, this permanent and verifiable record of your achievements may prove beneficial (more so than “have attended college” or “have taken classes”) for transfer applications and job placements.

What is the difference between these degrees and certificates?

The simplest way to think about them is in tiers, each tier indicating slightly higher mastery of the material and also each tier requiring slightly more requirements. Each degree and certificate will meet different goals, so the choice of which one to get depends on your planned academic and career path.

  1. The first tier is the certificate of achievement, and it indicates a strong level of proficient skills in Communication Studies.

  2. The second tier is the Associate’s of Arts for Transfer, which is an A.A. degree that is designed specifically to prepare students for transfer to a Communication Studies program at a California State University campus.

  3. The third tier is the Associate’s of Arts, which is an A.A. degree that is designed for broader appeal to any college, any discipline of study, or any workplace who my value such degrees.   

Can I get more than one?

  1. Definitely! Each Degree & Certificate communicates a different thing to a different parties, so they are not exactly identical; collect them all! It is generally recommended, though, that you apply and receive them in order of requirement (earn and apply for the certificate, then keep going and earn and apply for an AAT, then continue further and get the AA)

Do I need to “declare” that I am working towards a degree or certificate?

  1. "Declaring" a major is not mandatory, but can benefit your enrollment priorities. Speak to your academic counselor about it.

When should I start working on earning a degree or certificate?

The earlier the better! The Certificate of Achievement requires four Communication Studies courses, several of which also meet other General Education Requirements, so strategic planning will allow you an opportunity to earn the certificate while working towards any education plan without much extra effort. Both of the A.A. degrees require a bit more coursework, so extra time may be needed for planning your course requirements; we recommend meeting with a Communication Studies professor and a counselor 1 year before your planned graduation.

What is the “specialty area” and why do I need one?

Communication Studies is very wide-ranging academic discipline, and scholars in the discipline will often focus their work in a particular specialty area; the National Communication Association describes several on their website. In order to earn an Associate’s of Arts in Communication Studies (just the A.A., not the A.A.T.), students are required to demonstrate their level of mastery in the Communication Studies discipline by applying their knowledge of communication to a field that they are passionate about or interested in pursuing. See the Associate of Arts page for more details on how to complete the specialty area requirement.  

How do I apply for a degree or certificate?

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