Orange County, California

occ associate degree

Community college students have the option of receiving an Associate’s Degree in the Arts or Sciences. But what is an Associate’s Degree, and who benefits from receiving one?

Transfer to OCC for an associate’s degree
and/or university transfer

progression chart

After completing Step 1 (English courses at IEC@OCC), students attend Orange Coast College, a California Community College, for Step 2 of the Pathway process. Students spend roughly 2 years at Orange Coast College (and have the option of receiving an associate’s degree) before transferring to a CSU, UC, or other four-year college or university.


California Community Colleges award students Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Sciences (AS) degrees. Students do not have to receive an AA or AS degree, but the degree is useful for students who:

  • Plan to return to their home country in two years
  • Are interested in working in the U.S. through Optional Practical Training (OPT). After receiving an associate’s degree, students qualify for OPT and may work in the U.S. for one year.


Founded in 1947, Orange Coast College (OCC) is a fully accredited California Community College located in Costa Mesa, a city in beautiful Orange County. OCC offers students more than 153 academic and career programs of study and is #1 in transfers to University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) for all Orange County colleges (and #2 for all of Southern California)!  Orange Coast College’s 164-acre campus includes modern facilities and is just miles from the Pacific Ocean. Learn more about Orange Coast College.

After Step 2, students move on to Step 3 of the Pathway process: attending a four-year university for a bachelor’s degree.