University of Montana Catalog 2023-2024

Associate of Arts (A.A.)

The Department of Applied Arts and Sciences offers the Associate of Arts degree. The Associate of Arts degree is considered a general education transfer degree and does not include a major or minor course of study. To receive an Associate of Arts degree, students must:

  • successfully complete all lower-division general education requirements with a letter grade of C- or better;
  • earn a minimum of 60 credits, at least 30 of which must be from UM;
  • and maintain an institutional cumulative GPA of 2.00 for all UM courses taken for a traditional letter grade (A-F).

Matriculating students may begin coursework in the autumn, spring or summer. Courses numbered below 100 do not count toward the 60 credit requirement or general education course requirements, but do fulfill financial aid credit load requirements.

Students planning on completing a baccalaureate degree are encouraged to select specific general education courses and electives that meet the requirements for that future major. Students work with their advisor to develop an AA degree plan to best prepare them to transition to a four-year degree.

Baccalaureate Tracks and Emphasis Areas within the Associate of Arts Degree

Although the AA degree does not include a major or minor courses of study, students may elect to choose coursework that is part of a specific area of interest. Baccalaureate tracks are specific plans of study designed to help students earn an AA degree while simultaneously working towards UM baccalaureate degree requirements. Missoula College has worked with individual UM Departments to forge agreements to ensure that students completing baccalaureate tracks will enter into the major with numerous major requirements already fulfilled.

Recognized baccaluareate tracks within the Associate of Arts degree include:

  • Business
  • Chemical and Addiction Studies (by pursuing this emphasis, students complete both a general Associate of Arts degree and the preparatory coursework required to become a licensed addictions counselor.)
  • Communication Science and Disorders
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Environmental Studies
  • Healthcare Informatics
  • Health and Human Performance
  • Health IT
  • Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management
  • Police Science/Sociology (for individuals attending the Montana Law Enforcement Academy, a specialized Associate of Arts degree is offered through a collaboration among Missoula College UM, the University of Montana Department Of Sociology, and the Montana Law Enforcement Academy in Helena, MT.)
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Concentrations within the Associate of Arts Degree

Similar to pathways or areas of emphasis within the AA degree, concentrations are meant to help students focus on a specific area of interest. Unlike areas of emphasis, these concentrations are recorded on the student's transcript as a concentration of the AA degree itself. Recognized concentrations of the Associate of Arts degree include:

  • Communication Studies
  • Professional Communication
  • Psychology
  • Speech Language Pathology Assistant

The goal of these concentrations is to provide students with an opportunity to receive an AA degree with a focus on an area that is of increasing demand to employers.


An R after the course title indicates students may earn credit for each successful completion to the maximum number indicated after the R. Credits earned beyond this maximum will not count towards the total required for the AA degree.

Associate of Arts - General A.A.


Writing Skills6
Introductory Writing Course
Intermediate Writing Course
Expressive Arts
Historical & Cultural Studies
Literary & Artistic Studies
Social Sciences
Ethical & Human Values
Democracy and Citizenship
Cultural and International Diversity
Natural Sciences
AA Degree Electives13-27


Degree Specific Credits: 60

Required Cumulative GPA: 2.0

Note: The A.A. degree has three requirements:

  1. completion of UM's lower-division General Education Requirements (GERs),
  2. a minimum of 60 total earned credits, and
  3. a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

At least 30 of the total 60 degree credits must be earned from Missoula College or UM-Missoula.

Missoula College students are limited to enrolling in lower-division coursework (course level 100 or 200).

Writing Skills

Rule: Complete the following subcategories. 6 total credits required. 

Note: NOTE: Students who place into and successfully complete WRIT 201 are considered to have satisfied both the WRIT 101 and the Lower-Division Approved Writing Course General Education Requirements.

Introductory Writing Course

Note: Appropriate placement into WRIT 101/WRIT 201 required. Prerequisites may apply.

Complete one of the following courses:
WRIT 101College Writing I3
or WRIT 201 College Writing II

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Intermediate Writing Course

Complete any course designated as an Intermediate Writing Course during semester it's taken.3

Minimum Required Grade: C-


Note: Appropriate placement into mathematics courses required. 

Complete any Mathematics course level 104 or higher (excluding M 111).3-4

Minimum Required Grade: C-


Rule: A minimum of 3 credits towards each perspective category is required. 21-27 total credits required.

Note: Some courses satisfy multiple Perspectives or GER Categories; visit with your advisor for more information. Students who take the maximum number of Perspective "double-dippers" possible will be able to complete the Perspectives with a total of 21 credits.

Expressive Arts (A)

Complete a minimum 3 credits in any course with the Expressive Arts (A) designation. 3

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Literary & Artistic Studies (L)

Complete a minimum 3 credits in any course with the Literary & Artistic Studies (L) designation. 3

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Historical & Cultural Studies (H)

Complete a minimum 3 credits in any course with the Historical & Cultural Studies (H) designation. 3

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Social Sciences (S)

Complete a minimum 3 credits in any course with the Social Sciences (S) designation. 3

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Ethical & Human Values (E)

Complete a minimum 3 credits in any course with the Ethical & Human Values (E) designation. 3

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Democracy and Citizenship (Y)

Complete a minimum 3 credits in any course with the Democracy and Citizenship (Y) designation. 3

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Cultural and International Diversity (X)

Complete a minimum 3 credits in any course with the Cultural and International Diversity (X) designation. 3

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Natural Sciences (N)

Complete a minimum 6 credits in any course with the Natural Sciences (N) designation. At least one course must have a laboratory component.6

Minimum Required Grade: C- 

AA Degree Electives

Note: Number of elective credits required varies; student needs to ensure s/he earns at least 60 total credits for the AA degree. Transfer students may count up to 30 transfer credits towards the total 60 necessary for degree. A maximum of 15 technical credits may be counted towards the total 60. (A student may use 20 technical credits towards the 60 if s/he has earned an AAS degree.)

Complete elective credits to attain the 60 credits required for the General AA degree. 13-27

Minimum Required Grade: C-