2019-2020 Catalog and Student Handbook 
    Apr 21, 2024  
2019-2020 Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Planning a Program of Study

Academic Advising

Although educational decisions are ultimately the student's responsibility, it is important that every student receive academic advising to ensure making the best possible choices. All advisors are available to students for consultation and maintain regular office hours for this purpose. Students will be assigned advisors by early in the first semester of study. Students may run a Degree Audit Evaluation from their myChargerNet account. The audit will indicate the courses remaining toward particular degrees or certificates. Students are responsible for:

  • knowing the graduation eligibility requirements for their major as stated in the catalog,
  • obtaining an equivalency table and/or the requirements for graduation at the senior institution to which students plan to transfer,
  • making an appointment with an advisor and keeping it,
  • knowing important dates such as schedule change deadlines or the last date for drop/withdrawal/change to audit, and
  • consulting with instructors and with an advisor for referral to college resources for help when experiencing academic difficulty.

Placement in Courses

It is the responsibility of the advisor and the student to review the student's admissions and testing data and academic record to assure that all course and program prerequisites are met. Students should refer to the Policy and Procedures for Mandatory Placement of Student under the Admission to the College  section for guidelines regarding Learning Support courses. The College may deny registration in a course where the Learning Support prerequisite or any other prerequisite is unmet.

Program Selection

The selection of a degree or certificate program is basic to planning a program of study since the general education and program-specific requirements vary considerably from program to program. Degree program choices include the Associate of Arts, Associate of Fine Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Science in Teaching, and the Associate of Applied Science. Other shorter programs of study may lead to a certificate. Information on specific programs and requirements are available in the Programs of Study  section of the catalog.

General Education Philosophy and Requirements


Columbia State strives to engage the entire college community in a learning centered environment in which students acquire the essential skills needed to be successful in and contribute to their communities.

The general education core required of students in all degree programs is central to achievement of this goal. Within this core students will learn by reading, writing, speaking, and solving quantitative problems within the disciplines explored as part of a broad general education and within those specific to the students' major field. As a necessary corollary to application of the essential skills in learning, students will be required to think critically about their subjects, identify relevant sources of information, and use technology effectively.

Learning occurs within the context of an expanded core of knowledge which provides a broader context for understanding, appreciating and living in the modern world. Students will acquire this knowledge by surveying one or more disciplines within each of the following general areas of study:

  • History
  • Humanities/Fine Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences

For each of the selected disciplines, students will understand the central concepts defining the selected disciplines; appreciate the historical, political, and/or cultural impact of the disciplines; and understand how the disciplines apply to their life and the world at large.

Tennessee Board of Regents General Education Requirements and Undergraduate Requirements

Effective Fall Semester 2004, each institution in the College System of Tennessee (hereafter identified as the Tennessee Board of Regents System) shares a common lower-division general education core curriculum. These requirements consist of forty-one (41) semester hours in the following subject categories and are required for completion of the Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Science in Teaching (A.S.T.), and all baccalaureate degrees.

Subject Semester Hours Requirements
Communication 9 Six (6) semester hours of English composition and three (3) hours in oral presentations communication are required
Humanities/Fine Arts 9 At least one course must be in literature
Social/Behavioral Sciences 6  
History 6 Students who lack the required one unit (one year) of American History from high school an an admissions requirement must complete six (6) semester hours of U.S. History or three (3) semester hours of U.S. History and three (3) semesters hours of Tennessee History to fulfill the history requirements in general education.  Otherwise, students may choose from among the history courses approved at a particular institution to fulfill the six semester hours requirement in history.
Natural Sciences 8  
Mathematics 3  
Total 41  

Transfer Provisions of General Education Courses

As a result of the 2010 Tennessee Complete College Act, public colleges and universities have an approved transfer track for many majors that assures transfer with full junior status provided community college graduates do not change their major before entering their university studies.

  1. Students who complete the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Fine Arts or Associate of Science in Teaching degree and transfer to a university within the Tennessee Board of Regents System will have satisfied all lower-division general education requirements.
  2. Students who complete blocks of subject categories will have satisfied the general education requirements for the categories of note. For example, if the eight (8) semester hours of natural sciences are completed, then this block of general education requirement is fulfilled upon transfer to an institution within the Tennessee Board of Regents System.  When a subject category is incomplete, a course-by-course evaluation will be conducted, and the student will be subject to specific requirements of the receiving institution.
  3. Effective Summer 2015, transfer credit will be given for all courses in which passing grades are achieved, including the grade of "D". For students enrolled prior to Summer 2015, only grades of "C" or higher are accepted. All grades of transfer courses are entered on the student's Columbia State permanent academic record. Grades of transfer courses do not count in the calculation of the student's grade point average at Columbia State.
  4. In certain cases, specific courses must be taken in general education. It is important that students and advisors be aware of any major requirements that must be fulfilled under lower division general education. In cases where specific courses are required as part of general education for certain majors, the student is responsible for enrolling in the correct courses. Failure to fulfill specific major requirements in lower-division general education may result in the need to complete additional courses.

Courses designated to fulfill general education requirements by Columbia State Community College are listed below.  A complete listing of the courses fulfilling general education requirements for Tennessee Board of Regents institutions is available at the BR website under Transfer and Articulation. 

Associate of Arts and Associate of Science Degree Requirements

General Degree Requirements

All associate degrees awarded by Columbia State Community College shall require 60 semester credit hours with an overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.0.  The GPA includes all classes taken including those not required for the degree.  Students must earn 25% of total program credits in residence at Columbia State.  Students may not graduate before completing all Learning Support courses requirements as determined by their program of study.  Credit hours earned in Learning Support or other courses for institutional credit only are not applicable as credit hours required for the degree.

General degree requirements for the Associate of Arts degree are the same as those listed for the Associate of Science.  In addition, the Associate of Arts requires proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to completion of one year of college-level work.  This requirement may be met be completion of six (6) hours of the same foreign language or through credit by exam. Foreign language courses are an additional requirement for the Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees.  Six hours foreign language are required for the A.A. degree and twelve hours are required for the B.A. degree.

Columbia State Courses Fulfilling General Education Core Curriculum Requirements

Choose elective hours from the following list of courses.  If a specific course is required in the chosen program of study, that course cannot be duplicated.

Communication Requirement:

    English Composition: 6 credit hours

   Communication: 3 credit hours

Humanities and Fine Arts Requirement: 9 credit hours  (must include one course in literature)

Mathematics Requirement: 3 credit hours

Natural Sciences Requirement: 8 credit hours

Social/Behavioral Science Requirement: 6 credit hours

Tennessee Transfer Pathway Major (A.A., A.S., and A.S.T.)

In support of the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010, the Tennessee transfer pathways promote the transfer function of community colleges by ensuring that students achieve their goals and maintain momentum toward completing the associate and baccalaureate degrees with a smooth transfer process.  It is essential that transfer students decide on a transfer institution as soon as possible and follow the requirements when planning a program of study.

A student who completes the associates degree in the following majors are guaranteed that all required community college courses will be accepted in this major at the transfer institution.  To see which four-year institutions offer these TTP majors and guarantees a seamless transfer, visit the Tennessee Transfer Pathway website at www.tntransferpathway.org.

University Parallel Major (A.A. and A.S.)

These degrees are for students who plan to transfer into university baccalaureate programs that do not have a Tennessee Transfer Pathway, and therefore; may not be fully transferable.  Since general education and major requirements vary from one transfer institution to another, it is essential that transfer students decide on a transfer institution as soon as possible. In addition, articulation agreements exist between other private and non-TN public institutions.  These agreements are available at www.columbiastate.edu/admissions/transfer-information.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree Requirements

Total semester hours for the Associate of Applied Science degree vary from 60 - 74 hours with an overall GPA earned of 2.0 and a GPA of at least 2.0 within the major courses.  The GPA includes all classes taken including those not required for the degree.  Students must earn 25% of total program credits in residence at Columbia State.  Students may not earn a degree or certificate before completing all Learning Support competencies as required by their program of study.  Credit hours earned in Learning Support or other courses for institutional credit only are not applicable as credit hours required for the degree.

The Associate of Applied Science Degree is designed for the student who wishes to move directly into the job market after graduation. See A.A.S. programs for specific GPA and degree requirements.

General Education course requirements for the A.A.S. are as follows:

English Composition: 3 credit hours

Humanities/Fine Arts*: 3 credit hours
Natural Sciences/Mathematics*: 3-4 credit hours
Social/Behavioral Sciences*: 3 credit hours
Additional Course*: 3-4 credit hours
Total: 15-17 hours

*See A.A.S. programs for specific courses meeting this requirement.

Technical Certificate Requirements

Specific degree requirements for technical certificates vary. See specific requirements under each certificate.  Students seeking a certificate must earn a minimum of 25% of the credits required for that certificate in residence at Columbia State.  Completers must earn a GPA of a least 2.0 in courses required for the certificate.

These certificates are designed to allow students to gain entry-level proficiency in specific skills.