General Information

Common Course Numbering (CCN)

Common Course Numbering (CCN) was adopted as a way to more easily identify the same course at different community and technical colleges in Washington. Courses identified as “common” between community and technical colleges are denoted with an ampersand (&) next to the department and course number. (Example: MATH& 141)

Students who have taken Pierce classes before Summer Quarter 2008 must check the Pierce CCN Crosswalk to ensure they do not enroll in the same course twice as a result of new course number or title changes. CCN does not affect how courses transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Common course numbers, departments and titles were changed to simplify transferring between community and technical colleges. Student transcripts will contain a statement that alerts others to the Washington state Common Course Numbering change.

Quarter System

Pierce College’s academic year is divided into quarters. Fall, winter and spring quarters are ten weeks in length; summer, eight weeks. See the Academic Calendar.

Course Number System

001-099: Adult Basic Education (ABE), English as a Second Language (ESL), General Education Development (GED) and high school completion

042-099: Developmental or pre-college level courses designed to help students succeed in subsequent college-level courses. These are not transferable credits and will not be used toward fulfilling degree/certificate requirements

100-299: College-level courses applicable to associate degrees and certificates

300-499: Junior and Senior level courses applicable to Bachelor of Applied Science degrees

Completion Time for Degrees and Certificates

Students are allowed up to six years to complete degree or certificate requirements that were in effect at that time. The six-year period begins when a program of study is officially declared. Students who do not fulfill the requirements in that period must meet the requirements currently in effect for their degree/certificates. All prior credit that has been evaluated as equivalent to current requirements will be counted toward their fulfillment. Alternately, a student may choose to meet current degree requirements.

Changes in Program

Official changes in the student’s program of study or change of advisor require approval. Students should meet with their advisor to discuss options. An official program change will establish an “official starting date” for the new program and preserve a full six-year period to complete the program under current requirements.

Discontinued Programs

If a degree or certificate is discontinued, students will be permitted to finish the program, to the extent the college finds possible, provided the student fulfills the requirements within three years of when the program is discontinued. Substitutions for discontinued courses will be permitted when appropriate substitute courses are available and when authorized through the course substitution procedures currently in effect. Requests for course substitutions should be made through the appropriate faculty.

Degree Outcomes

The Five Core Abilities

Critical, Creative and Reflective Thinking

Graduates will evaluate, analyze and synthesize information and ideas in order to construct informed, meaningful and justifiable conclusions.

Effective Communication

Graduates will be able to exchange messages in a variety of contexts using multiple methods.

Information Competency

Graduates will be able to seek, find, evaluate and use information, and employ information technology to engage in lifelong learning.

Intercultural Engagement

Graduates demonstrate self-efficacy in intercultural engagement to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion through reflections and expressions of cultural humility, empathy, and social and civic engagement and action. Further, graduates examine how identities/positionalities such as races, social classes, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, and cultures impact perceptions, actions, and the distribution of power and privilege in communities, systems, and institutions.

Global Citizenship

Graduates will be able to critically examine the relationship between self, community, and/or environments, and to evaluate and articulate potential impacts of choices, actions, and contributions for the creation of sustainable and equitable systems.

Fundamental Areas of Knowledge Outcomes


Graduates identify, analyze and evaluate rhetorical strategies in their own and other’s writing in order to communicate effectively.


Graduates acquire skills to critically interpret, analyze and evaluate forms of human expression, and create and perform as an expression of the human experience.

Social Sciences

Graduates use social science research methods and/or theory in order to analyze and interpret social phenomena.

Natural Sciences

Graduates use the scientific method to analyze natural phenomena and acquire skills to evaluate authenticity of data/information relative to the natural world.

Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning

Graduates utilize mathematical, symbolic, logical, graphical, geometric, or statistical analysis for the interpretation and solution of problems in the natural world and human society.

University Transfer Degrees

University Transfer Degrees ensure that students who complete these degrees have satisfied the lower division general education/core requirements and lower division degree related requirements for the baccalaureate institutions.

All students are required to successfully complete COLLG 110 College Success during the first or second quarter of attendance. College Success is designed to prepare students to navigate the college system and enhance opportunities for success. The course emphasizes college success strategies, self-assessment, goal-setting, career exploration, effective study habits, campus resources, and efficient use of online tools for learning, educational planning and enrollment.

Associate of Arts - Direct Transfer Agreement Degree

When you earn a two-year Associate of Arts Direct Transfer Degree, you can transfer to any public university in Washington state as a junior, with virtually all your general education credits fulfilled. Many private colleges also accept these degrees. These degrees are often abbreviated as AA-DTA (the DTA stands for Direct Transfer Agreement). This is Washington’s most popular and most flexible transfer degree.

Direct Transfer Agreement/Major Related Pathway (DTA/MRP) Degrees

Some transfer degrees help prepare students for a particular major, like business or nursing. These are called “Major-Related Programs” and are sometimes abbreviated DTA/MRP. If you earn this type of two-year degree, you can transfer as a junior only if the community or technical college has an agreement with the university. Work with your advisor to see if your college has an MRP agreement with the university you want to attend. University transfer degrees are available in biology, business, construction management, pre-nursing, music and math education.

Associate of Science Transfer Degrees

The Associate of Science transfer (AS-T) degrees are designed to prepare students for upper-division study. Students completing the AS-T degree will receive the same priority consideration for admission to the baccalaureate institution as they would for completing the DTA associate degree, and will be given junior status by the receiving institution. Students are responsible for checking specific major requirements of Washington baccalaureate institutions in the year prior to transferring.

AS-T Track 1 for science pre-majors in biological sciences, environmental/resource sciences, geology, earth science and chemistry.

AS-T Track 2 for science pre-majors in engineering, computer science, physics and atmospheric sciences.

Professional/Technical Degrees

Pierce College’s professional/technical degrees are designed to provide students with technical and related skills needed for successful employment. These degrees emphasize practical, work-related skills that translate to effectiveness and expertise in the workplace.

Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS)

To keep up — and stay ahead — in the ever-changing workplace, education and skills training is a lifelong pursuit. Get the skills to go further in your career with a bachelor’s degree from a community or technical college. An applied bachelor’s degree builds on the education and training from a two-year technical associate degree.

Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Students who complete the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in one of Pierce College’s specific professional/technical programs will receive a degree titled with that program specialty. Students must successfully complete a minimum of 90 quarter credits or their equivalent, including all specific requirements of an approved professional/technical program. The purpose of these degrees are to provide immediate employment.

Associate of Applied Science — Transfer (AAS-T)

The AAS-T is built upon the technical courses required for job preparation but also includes a college-level general education component, common in structure for all such degrees. The AAS-T is designed for the dual purpose of immediate employment and as preparation for the junior year with institutions Pierce College has agreements for a bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree. The AAS-T degree generally will not be accepted in preparation for Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees, although the general education component of the degree will be accepted. Check with your advisor on these degrees.

Associate in Technology — General

A graduate of any approved occupational/vocational program from an accredited college, military school, vocational/technical institute, technical college, licensed private college, vocational school, industry, apprentice-based training or university may be granted up to 65 quarter credits toward the Associate in Technology – General degree. The remainder of the student’s program shall include a minimum of 18 credits of related instruction. A minimum of three credits is required in each of the following areas: communications, computation and human relations. All related instruction courses must be numbered 100 or above. A total of 90 credits is required.

Professional/Technical Certificates

Professional/technical certificate programs emphasize basic, practical skills needed for entry-level employment. Often, these programs can be completed in a short period of time, preparing a student with beginning job skills or providing knowledge and skills that are needed for advancement in a specific professional/technical area.