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Degrees, Certificates, and Letters of Recognition

Montgomery College is authorized by the Maryland Higher Education Commissionnew window (MHEC) to offer five associate’s degrees: associate of arts, associate of science, associate of applied science, associate of arts in teaching, and associate of fine arts, as well as numerous certificates. In addition, the College recognizes students who satisfactorily complete certain course sequences with letters of recognition.

Some curricula are offered at all campuses, while others are primarily located at one or two sites. Students may take courses offered on any campus to meet the requirements of the curriculum in which they are enrolled.


An associate’s degree recognizes successful completion of 60 or more credits combining general education courses in English, mathematics, arts, behavioral and social sciences, humanities, and science, with courses in a specific track or skill area. In some cases, electives are also included. Only officially approved programs of study appear on transcripts.

Associate of Arts (AA)

This degree recognizes mastery in the liberal and fine arts and is intended for transfer to equivalent bachelor of arts programs at four-year schools. Montgomery College awards the AA in five programs: arts and sciences, business, communication studies, computer gaming and simulation, computer science and technologies, and general studies. Tracks within these program allow students to focus their studies in specific areas (e.g., arts and sciences program—music track).

Associate of Science (AS)

This degree recognizes mastery in science or technology with a heavy emphasis on undergraduate mathematics or science, and is intended for transfer to bachelor of science programs at four-year institutions. Montgomery College awards the AS in engineering science, nursing, and science. Within the engineering science and science programs, Montgomery College offers tracks that allow students to focus their studies in specific areas (e.g., engineering science program— aerospace engineering track).

Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

This degree recognizes mastery of vocational-technical occupational skills and is intended for those seeking immediate employment opportunities. However, enrollment in one of these programs does not preclude a student from transferring courses to four-year institutions offering upper-division programs in related areas. Within some AAS programs, Montgomery College offers tracks that allow students to focus their studies in specific areas.

Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT)— Elementary/Special Education (Pre-K–12)

This degree recognizes mastery in a core of professional education coursework and fieldwork experiences appropriate for the first two years of teacher preparation. The program is intended to prepare students to transfer to an education program at a four-year college or university in the state of Maryland. The AAT offers a 2+2 program among community colleges and four-year colleges and universities while enhancing efforts at 2+2+2 collaborative programs with local K–12 schools.

Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT)— Early Childhood Special Education

The teacher education transfer program AAT comprises a curriculum that provides the first two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree and teacher certification. This curriculum prepares students to transfer to an early childhood education program at a four-year college or university in the state of Maryland. The AAT articulates with all Maryland transfer programs in early childhood education.

Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT)— Secondary

The teacher education transfer program AAT comprises a curriculum that provides the first two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree and teacher certification. This curriculum prepares students to transfer respectively to any secondary education program in chemistry, English, mathematics, physics, or Spanish at a four-year college or university in the state of Maryland. The AAT articulates with all Maryland transfer programs respectively in chemistry, English, mathematics, physics, or Spanish at the secondary level.

Associate of Fine Arts (AFA)

This degree recognizes mastery in the professional arts in programs that have as a primary goal transfer to a BFA program. The AFA is similar to the first two years of a BFA program and requires at least 60 percent of the course credit to be in studio work and related areas. The College offers two AFA tracks: graphic design and studio art.


A certificate recognizes successful completion of a sequence of courses (a minimum of 12 credits) that focus on the development of specific technical skills.


The letter of recognition is designed to provide students with a confirmation of the completion of a sequence of courses (6–11 credits) that teach focused skills and competencies pertinent to specific career areas. Upon successful completion of these courses and application to the director of admissions and enrollment management, the letter of recognition will be issued. Students seeking only a letter of recognition, who are not planning to pursue a certificate or associate’s degree at Montgomery College, are considered non-degree-seeking students and are not eligible for financial aid.

Visit the Programs, Majors, and Degreesnew window web site for more information.

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Workforce Development & Continuing Education

There are many students currently attending Montgomery College who are not pursuing an associate’s degree. Many of these students take advantage of the Workforce Development & Continuing Education (WD&CE) programs at Montgomery College, programs that provide a wide range of noncredit and credit educational offerings and services designed to meet the needs of county residents and businesses. Individuals in career transitions, those re-entering the workforce, and those maintaining current technical skills, as well as those seeking lifelong educational enrichment experiences, are among the more than 25,000 students of the WD&CE programs each year.

With more than 1,400 courses offered year-round, the chances of finding a course of interest are excellent. High-quality noncredit courses are available in more than 60 academic areas. Previous topics have included information technology, small business management, technical training, certification and licensure preparation, financial planning, real estate, child care, health sciences, personal development, career development, writing, American English, cultural diversity, customer service, quality management, cybersecurity, project management, nonprofit leadership, and leadership development. These course offerings change continuously to reflect the ever-changing needs of the businesses and communities the College serves.

These courses are offered through six program areas: Community Education and Extended Learning Services; Business, Information Technology, and Safety; the Gudelsky Institute for Technical Education; the Health Sciences Institute; Community Arts; and Adult ESOL and Literacy-GED. Courses in these program areas may be taken at the three College campuses and at other community sites, including the Westfield South Center in Wheaton, and the Business Training Centers in Olde Towne Gaithersburg.

Courses are of varying lengths, have flexible start dates, and are offered in the daytime, evening, and weekend to suit the needs of the populations served. Many WD&CE credit and noncredit courses are delivered as a result of a customized training program developed for businesses and community organizations. Contract training partnerships align College education and training resources with the demands of the workplace and are tailored to each business partner’s requirements. Employer-sponsored training programs have grown significantly in recent years and are frequently delivered at the business location.

Visit Workforce Development & Continuing Educationnew window web site for more information.

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Assessment Testing  (Appropriate Course Placement)

The College uses guided placement  to determine appropriate courses for each student. Placement helps students identify areas of strength, as well as areas where they need the most help. Students are guided into the appropriate level of credit or noncredit courses. Students are also counseled on developing a schedule with the appropriate mix of courses.

Various placement measures and procedures may be used depending on the English language skills of the applicant. Although these placements provide opportunities for college-level course placement, some students may not be immediately eligible for college-level courses.

Students who graduated from a Maryland public high school with an unweighted Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher, or with documentation of previous college-level coursework in English or mathematics, or with documentation of appropriate scores on one of the standardized tests accepted by the College, are exempt from guided placement.

Students listed below, who do not have any of the exemptions listed above, must go through Montgomery College guided placement:

  • first-time college students who are seeking a degree or certificate or who are planning to transfer to another institution;
  • full-time students enrolled for more than 12 credit hours
  • full-time students who want to enroll in their first English or mathematics course and, students who were not previously tested or who did not follow their recommendations and whose academic records have placed them on academic restriction, alert, or suspension.

Personal interest students who are not enrolling in their first English or mathematics course may take up to 11 credits (in courses that do not require English or mathematics prerequisites) before determining whether placement is needed.

Students must have an application on file in the Office of Records and Registration in order to begin guided placement. Students who are assessed as needing developmental or pre-college level courses are required to complete those courses before they can enroll in college-level courses.

Counselors and academic advisors will assist all students in developing educational plans that are best suited to individual goals, interests, and demonstrated skills.

Visit Assessment Centersnew window web site for more information.

Developmental Courses

Developmental courses are offered for students who need to strengthen their academic foundations in English, reading, or mathematics in order to be successful in college-level courses. Students may be required to enroll in one or more developmental courses or in a corequisite developmental support module paired with a college-level course based on their academic records, the results of assessment and placement measures, such as guided placement, or individual needs.

Depending on the placement of the student and the number of developmental courses taken, a student may enroll in additional courses for credit, if the assessment level for each course has been met. See the course descriptions in this catalog for assessment levels associated with each course. Students may enroll in developmental courses on either a part-time or full-time basis and are strongly advised to begin their developmental courses in their first semester. All developmental coursework must be completed before a student earns 24 credit hours. 

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English as a Second Language - English Language for Academic Purposes (ELAP)

The English Language for Academic Purposes (ELAP) program offers courses designed to increase the English language proficiency of non-native speakers of English so that they can succeed in their college work. The program includes two courses that focus on Writing and Grammar (ELAW 970   and ELAW 980 ), two courses that focus on Reading (ELAR 970  and ELAR 980 ), two courses that focus on Oral/Aural skills (ELAS 970  and ELAS 980 ), and one capstone Integrated Skills course (ELAI 990 ) that focuses on reading and oral/aural skills as well as writing, grammar, and basic information literacy. Students placed in this program must pass or test out of ELAI 990  in order to take many of the courses that count towards a degree at Montgomery College.

Following admission to the College, students complete placement to determine their current level of English proficiency, as required by College regulations. Depending on their level of proficiency in writing, reading, and speaking, non-native speakers may earn a placement in one or more ELAP courses, in ENGL101/011, or in the  College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education ESL Program [the American Pre-Academic and Professional English program (APPE)]. 

Students may enroll in ELAP on a full-time or part-time basis on all three campuses. For assistance or additional information, contact a campus Counseling and Advising Office or the ELAP department at the Germantown, Rockville, or Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus.

Visit the English Language for Academic Purposes (ELAP)new window web site for more information.

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General Education Program

Montgomery College’s General Education Program is an essential component of all degree programs. It is designed to introduce students to the knowledge, skills, and values that are essential to the study of academic disciplines, to encourage the pursuit of life-long learning, and to foster the development of educated members of the community and the world. Courses in the Program transfer to Maryland public colleges and universities under the guidelines of the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Visit the General Education Programnew window web site for more information.

Collegewide Honors Program

The College is committed to providing high-ability, motivated students with stimulating and challenging opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. Honors course offerings are varied and differ on each campus based on faculty interests and the number of students participating in the program. Honors offerings are listed in the class schedule by academic department and in the campus Honors Program section. Honors classes, indicated with an HC suffix, are honors sections of standard classes. Honors modules, indicated with an HM suffix, allow students to have an enriched honors experience while taking a standard class.

Visit the Collegewide Honors Programnew window web site for more information.

Curriculum Development

Montgomery College is authorized by the state of Maryland to offer two types of credit programs: transfer and occupational. The Collegewide Curriculum Committee (CCC) is responsible for guiding programs at Montgomery College. Functions include reviewing, evaluating, and updating the College’s curriculum offerings.

A faculty member or academic administrator may sponsor proposals for course/curriculum revisions, additions, or deletions. It is the professional responsibility of all faculty to maintain standards of educational excellence, to discuss the proposal with discipline colleagues as well as others from affected disciplines, to ensure cooperation with deans and representatives from College units that provide support for the implementation of courses and curricula, and to respond to perceived educational needs and advances in knowledge or technology.

Campus advisory persons (CAPs) serve as members of the CCC, and work with faculty proposers to assist in proposal development, and ensure that all comments on the proposal are addressed and that the curriculum process is observed.

Faculty interested in initiating a course or curriculum proposal should contact the appropriate department chairperson, campus CAPs, dean for initial assistance and guidance.

The following is a basic description of the process in place that guides curriculum development.

  1. The proposer discusses the proposal idea with the chairperson and dean.
  2. The proposer contacts the CAP for assistance in developing and drafting the proposal.
  3. The proposer discusses the proposal with other faculty.
  4. The proposer completes the formal proposal.
  5. The proposer sends an electronic copy of the proposal and all related documents to the chairpersons and coordinators, the Banner specialist, and the dean.
  6. The proposer revises the proposal as necessary and provides an electronic copy of the proposal and all related documents to the CAP.
  7. The CAP forwards the electronic copy of the proposal and all related documents to the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (SVPAA) for publication in the CCC newsletter for review and comment by the College community.
  8. Members of the College community have one week to forward their concerns in writing to the proposer, with a copy to the CAP.
  9. The proposer revises the proposal, as appropriate, to address community comments and prepares the electronic copy of the proposal and all related documents for the dean’s review.
  10. The CAP forwards the proposal and all related documents to the dean.
  11. The dean seeks reviews and comments, and then forwards the proposal and all related documents to the vice president and provost for review and approval.
  12. The CAP sends an electronic copy of the proposal and all related documents to the SVPAA’s office to have the proposal placed on the CCC agenda. The CAP ensures that the proposal and all related documents are complete and ready for the CCC’s consideration.
  13. The CCC reviews the proposal.
  14. After the CCC approves a proposal, the final version of the proposal is forwarded to the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs for review and approval.
  15. The senior vice president for academic affairs reviews and acts on the proposal and and makes the final decision on some curriculum actions. Others actions need additional approval from the Board of Trustees and Maryland Higher Education Commission.
  16. For approved curriculum actions, the Banner specialist notifies affected College personnel, including counselors, registrars, and schedulers, in the appropriate time frame.

At times, curriculum developments take exception to these steps. These exceptions, as well as more detailed information concerning the steps of the curriculum process, may be found in the Collegewide Curriculum Procedures Manual. The CCC manual provides practical background information on broad curriculum topics and explains the procedures to be used in planning, developing, and modifying the College’s curriculum offerings.

Visit the Collegewide Curriculum Committeenew window web site for more information.

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Learning Assessment Activities

At the core of the College’s mission and goals lies a commitment to promoting student success; ensuring student retention; and continuing the institution’s excellence, accountability, and continuous learning. To this end, the College has established practices and procedures to ensure that it systemically and methodically assesses student learning outcomes and reviews programs. The College Area Review and Outcomes Assessment are two formal processes the College uses to support and structure its commitment to excellence.


The College Area Review (CAR) is a self-evaluative, analytical review process that engages faculty, staff, and administrators. Montgomery College’s CAR process is systematic, comprehensive, and ongoing. Using a five-year review cycle, all disciplines, programs, student services, and administrative units participate in this program review and assessment process. For the academic areas, key benchmark data regarding student and program enrollments, program awards, retention data and transfer summaries are provided to each discipline. The analysis of program and discipline strengths and opportunities using this data is the expectation. The review process includes the examination of curriculum, student learning outcomes assessment activities, licensure, articulation agreements, advisory committee, faculty needs, and teaching methodologies. Full-time and part-time faculty are encouraged to participate in this review process. Administrative units evaluate the alignment of their unit’s goals, mission, and functions with the College’s mission and goals. Administrative units also examine the strengths, weakness, challenges, opportunities, resources, and the assessment of services that are benchmarked using best practices for unit effectiveness. The CAR process results in implementable recommendations for institutional improvements developed by each academic area and administrative unit. The CAR process receives an additional cross-sectional review from the College Area Review Committee (CARC), which is made up of faculty, staff, and administrators. Recommendations are further categorized by related units for aligned, where appropriate, to our strategic themes and initiatives. CAR results and recommendations are used for institutional decision making, addressing Perkins Grant requirements, and meeting Middle States accreditation standards.

For more information about the College Area Reviewnew window, please visit the CAR web sitenew window.

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Outcomes Assessment(OA) is a process that facilitates the direct assessment of student performance in courses and programs to improve student learning. All General Education designated courses participate in the assessment of General Education competencies through a common course assessment plan and use of the Montgomery College General Education rubric or discipline adaptations. All programs assess its outcomes through assessment plans that are developed by disciplines accountable for programs. Program assessment plans designate courses for assessment of program outcomes. Additionally, disciplines may also identify courses to participate in student learning assessment in order to improve student learning or document strengths of a course. The OA process is designed to be flexible enough to meet the individual needs of each discipline and to be meaningful to the faculty teaching the courses. OA is a faculty-driven process, and faculty determine how to assess student learning outcomes, program outcomes, and General Education competencies. Further, faculty determine how to use the data. The OA process is supported and guided by the Collegewide Assessment Team (CAT), which is made up of faculty, staff, and administrators.

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