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Program of Study FAQs

What is a program of study?

A program of study is a guide that helps you determine what classes you need to take to earn a specific certificate or degree.

Why do I need a program of study?

The Texas Legislature passed a law that requires you to select a program of study by the time you complete 45 credit hours. If you do not select a program of study, you will not be eligible to receive an official transcript.

Can I have more than one program of study on file?

Yes, but you must select one of your programs as your "primary" program of study.

Can I change my program of study?


Who can help me choose a program of study?

El Centro College has academic advisors who will assist you in selecting the program of study that best suits your interests and needs.

After I have selected and printed my program of study, what's next?

We strongly recommend that you bring your report to the Advising/Counseling Center or Admissions/Registrar's Office for advisement to ensure your educational success.

What do the abbreviations in front of the degree plan or program of study ID mean?

These abbreviations represent the different types of degrees and other awards the colleges of DCCCD offer. They are:

AA = Associate in Arts (TSI required)
AAS = Associate in Applied Sciences (TSI required)
AAT = Associate of Arts in Teaching (TSI required)
AS = Associate in Sciences (TSI required)
C1 = Level one certificate (one-year program, TSI waived)
C2 = Level two certificate (two-year program, TSI required)
CERT = Certificate (can be a level one or level two program)
ES = Enhanced Skills Certificate (TSI required)
SA = Skills Achievement Award (TSI waived)
ATC = Advanced Technical Certificate (TSI required)
MSA = Marketable Skills Achievement Award (TSI waived)

Note: TSI stands for Texas Success Initiative.

Why am I required to have a program of study if I am a financial aid student?

Federal law requires you to be enrolled in an eligible program of study to receive financial aid. If you haven't declared a degree or certificate program on your academic record, all financial aid awards will be put on hold until you choose your program of study.

To select a program of study, log on to eConnect and visit My Program of Study, or go to the Admissions/Registrar's Office and select a qualifying program.

Please choose your program carefully. This selection will affect the information your academic advisor will use to help you choose your classes and track your progress toward your degree.

Important note: Choosing a program of study is not the same as a request for an official degree plan or evaluation.

If I am applying for Veterans Affairs benefits, do I need a program of study?

Yes. Under Veterans Affairs laws, anyone requesting benefits must file a program of study. For specific information, contact your Veterans Affairs representative.

What is an official degree plan?

An official degree plan is one of the best ways to help you stay on track toward your college goals. It is a personalized academic plan prepared by a degree audit specialist from your college Admissions/Registrar's Office. It lists all the courses you need to take to meet your degree requirements.

When should I file for an official degree plan?

The sooner the better. Don't waste time or tuition on courses that don't count toward your degree or certificate. File your official degree plan now. Make all of your courses count!

How do I file an official degree plan?

Complete and submit an official degree plan request to the El Centro College Admissions/Registrar's Office and/or Advising/Counseling Center. Once your official degree plan has been processed by the college, you will receive your degree plan in the U.S. mail, or you will be notified by email to go to eConnect to review your degree plan. The email address you provide on your form will be used to communicate with you. It takes about four to eight weeks to process degree plans. During peak registration periods, this process will take longer.

Next, it's important for you to make an appointment with a degree audit specialist in your college's Admissions/Registrar's Office. The degree audit specialist can review and revise your official degree plan and make recommendations specifically for you. We realize every student's needs are different. Let our degree audit specialists help you make the most of your college experience.

Is my program of study my official degree plan?

No. Your program of study guide is not your official degree plan. Both the program of study and the official degree plan are course guides that help you stay on track toward your degree or certificate. However, your official degree plan is the personalized, audited plan you file with the Admissions/Registrar's Office to receive your diploma or certificate and for graduation. You must go to the Admissions/Registrar's Office to request your official degree plan and to apply for your diploma and graduation.

Once you file an official degree plan, it is active for five years. For example: If you are using the 2010 catalog year, it is active through the Summer II 2015 semester.

How can I find the full title of the degree?

You can find the complete titles of all degrees and certificates in the catalog.

What is an official transcript?

It is a record of all the courses you took and the grades you earned at any of the seven colleges of DCCCD. Learn more about transcripts.

Why do I need an official transcript?

When you apply for a job, you may need to provide official college transcripts to document the courses you have taken and training you have received, and to verify any degrees and certificates you have earned. If you plan to transfer to another college or university, you must provide your official transcript from the colleges of DCCCD so that your course credit can be applied toward your university degree.

How do I know which catalog year to choose?

You must be or have been enrolled in the colleges of DCCCD during the catalog year you select. A catalog year begins with the Fall term and ends with the Summer II term of the next year. For example, if you were enrolled in Summer II 2008, your catalog year would be 2007 since it encompasses the Fall 2007, Spring 2008 and Summer I and II 2008 terms. You would not be eligible for the 2008 catalog year. You can view the semesters you have attended the colleges of DCCCD on My Advising Report (login required) on eConnect.

More information about choosing a catalog year can be found in the catalog.

What is the difference between an Associate in Arts or Sciences degree, an Associate in Applied Sciences degree and a certificate?

Associate in Arts or Sciences degrees are basic transfer programs for students who may transfer to a four-year institution to seek a bachelor's degree. An Associate in Applied Sciences degree or a certificate provides technical/occupational knowledge and training to prepare you to enter a chosen field as a skilled employee after one or two years of study.

A list of all degrees and certificates offered by the colleges of DCCCD is available in the catalog.

When I complete my official degree plan, do I automatically get a diploma or certificate?

Filling out the Application for Graduation form is the only way to ensure you receive your certificate or diploma. More information about graduation requirements can be found in the catalog.

Can I apply for graduation at any of the seven colleges?

You must apply for graduation at the college from which you plan to graduate. In addition, 25 percent of the credit hours required for graduation in any degree program or certificate must be earned through instruction (not credit-by-examination) at the college granting the degree. For example, if you are a CADD student at Eastfield College, you must apply for graduation at Eastfield.

How do I find out about the graduation ceremony? Do I just show up?

You need to notify the Admissions/Registrar's Office of the college from which you are graduating. They will need to order a cap and gown for you and reserve a place for you to sit during the ceremony. Many colleges have a rehearsal for the graduation ceremony.

How do I contact the Admissions/Registrar's Office?

View contact information for El Centro's Admissions/Registrar's Office.