Program Overview

The Associate of Arts (AA) program in Liberal Studies is an interdisciplinary pathway to a career, with the option to transfer to a four-year degree in the future. Students in the program will gain exposure to a breadth of disciplines for longer-term academic and career advancement and be prepared for a wide range of entry-level roles in in-demand fields. General education core courses are required for the completion of this program, including college writing, mathematics, communication, social science, and applied reasoning. The program offers students the chance to explore a variety of disciplines such as economics, accounting, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. As part of the program, students will complete an industry certificate that is designed to prepare them for an entry-level position in a role such as bookkeeping, sales and marketing, project management, user interface design, data analytics, or IT support.

While pursuing an AA in Liberal Studies, students will study major theories, practices, and applications of a wide range of disciplines. Through this program, students will explore many different fields, making interdisciplinary connections, building an academic foundation, and instilling a respect for lifelong learning. Students will also consider challenges in many fields including ethical and social considerations and will develop a well-rounded critical thinking skillset. The AA in Liberal Studies is a flexible degree focused on a career entry point, one that enables students to receive credit for prior learning and/or work experience and enables them to continue to earn credit for learning acquired outside the classroom.

This program is offered in partnership with Applicants must apply for admission via the Outlier website.

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The degree requires completion of 60 units as follows: 24 units of core courses and 36 units of elective courses, with a cumulative grade-point average of 2.00 (“C” grade) or better in all courses taken at Golden Gate University. Each course listed carries four semester units of credit, unless otherwise noted. Prerequisites to courses, if any, are listed in the course descriptions.

Students enrolled in this program may not audit any of the courses required for this program.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program should be able to do the following in the following areas:

Critical Thinking

  • Identifies assumptions and claims in arguments. Identifies, categorizes, and distinguishes among elements of ideas, concepts, theories, or practical approaches to standard problems.
  • Draws warranted inferences and formulates hypotheses from evidence; assesses strengths and weaknesses of inferences.

Quantitative Fluency

  • Presents accurate arithmetic and algebraic calculations and symbolic operations.
  • Explains how both calculations and symbolic operations are used in quantitative information on political, economic, health-related, or technological topics.
  • Creates and explains graphs or other visual depictions of trends, relationships or changes in status.


  • Describes one’s own moral beliefs and values, including their origins and development, assumptions, and predispositions.
  • Identifies and describes ethical issues. Describes common theories, concepts, and approaches to moral problems. Applies ethical perspectives/concepts/theories to ethical questions accurately. Articulates positions on ethical issues and/or rationale for decisions taking into account differing ethical perspectives and concepts.
  • Describes, explains, and evaluates the sources of their own perspective on selected issues in culture, society, politics, the arts, or global relations and compares that perspective with other views.

Information Literacy

  • ​Identifies, categorizes, evaluates, and cites multiple resources to create projects and papers with respect to a general theme within the arts, sciences, or professional practice.

Lifelong Learning

  • Identifies and examines connections between values, interests, strengths, prior learning (including academic learning), and professional goals.
  • Demonstrates attitudes and habits productive of lifelong learning, including curiosity, initiative, independence, and transfer (adapting and applying learning skills and knowledge gained in one situation to a new situation).

Applied Learning

  • ​Describes in writing at least one substantial case in which knowledge and skills acquired in academic settings are applied to a field-based challenge and evaluates the learning gained from the application using evidence and examples.
  • Analyzes at least one significant concept or method in light of learning outside the classroom.
  • Locates, gathers, and organizes evidence regarding a question in a field-based venue beyond formal academic study and offers alternate approaches to answering it.


  • Develops cogent, coherent, and substantially error-free writing for effective communication to general and specialized audiences.
  • Effectively delivers formal and informal oral presentations appropriate to an audience in various contexts.

Broad Integrative Knowledge

  • Describes a key debate or problem relevant to each core field, explains the significance of the debate or problem to the wider society, and shows how concepts from the core field can be used to address the selected debates or problems.
  • Uses recognized methods of each core field studied, including the gathering of evidence, in the execution of analytical, practical, or creative tasks.
  • Describes and evaluates the ways in which at least two fields of study define, address, and interpret the importance for society of a problem in science, the arts, society, human services, economic life, or technology.