2024-2025 Catalog and Student Handbook 
    May 20, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog and Student Handbook

Planning a Program of Study

Academic Advising

Educational decisions are ultimately the student's responsibility, and academic advising ensures students have the information needed to make the best possible choices.  Students are assigned advisors by early in the first semester of study. All advisors maintain regular office hours and are available to students for consultation.   Students may run a Degree Audit Evaluation from Degree Works from their myChargerNet account. The audit identifies the courses remaining toward particular degrees or certificates.  Student responsibility includes:

  • 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

Course placement is a collaborative effort between the advisor and the student that includes reviewing the student's admissions and testing data and academic record to assure the student meets all course and program prerequisites. 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 the foundation for 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 Core-Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the TBR General Education Core is to prepare every student to navigate a world of evolving opportunities. It is unbounded by academic discipline and challenges students to discover the inherent interconnectedness of knowledge and the intersection of self and society.

The General Education Core develops skills in acquiring, evaluating, and using information as well as communicating ideas through digital, written, oral, artistic, scientific, and mathematical expression. It challenges students to think independently, write clearly, and speak effectively, and to employ logical and critical reasoning to solve problems even when faced with incomplete, ambiguous, or conflicting data.

The Core encourages students to develop a curiosity for learning, an appreciation of conceptual complexity, and a deepened sense of self-awareness regarding their own beliefs and values. It helps students discover the richness of cultural diversity and instills a respect for people with contrasting life histories, opinions, and worldviews. It fosters an appreciation for human commonality and teaches individuals the ethical implications of living in a global, social ecosystem.

Ultimately, the Core's purpose is to equip every student to pursue a challenging career, experience a rewarding personal life, and inspire others to do the same.

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.

TBR General Education Requirements
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 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

The 2010 Tennessee Complete College Act, assures transfer with full junior status through approved transfer tracks for many majors providing community college graduates do not change their major before entering their university studies.

  1. Students who complete the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, 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 satisfies the general education requirement upon transfer to an institution within the Tennessee Board of Regents System.  When a subject category is incomplete, the student will be subject to specific requirements of the receiving institution based on a course by course evaluation.
  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. It is important that students and advisors be aware specific general education courses required for a major. 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.  TBR website under Transfer and Articulation provides a complete listing of the courses fulfilling general education requirements for Tennessee Board of Regents institutions.

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. A student may meet this requirement by completing 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 of 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. A course will not be counted toward an elective credit when the course is required in the chosen program of study.

Communication Requirement:

    English Composition: 6 credit hours

   Communication: 3 credit hours

History Requirement: 6 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.

Students complete the associate 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 on Columbia State's transfer information webpages.

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

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.

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.

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

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.