A.A. Diversity Course Requirement

Diversity in the curriculum refers to the study of one or more groups that have been historically marginalized on the basis of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, disability, religion, age, immigration, or geopolitical power. Diversity-designated courses facilitate academic inquiry, analysis and understanding of past and current differences, conflicts and relations of power, thereby moving the discourse of diversity beyond mere tolerance, celebration, or appreciation.

Students who entered in Fall 2011, or later, must take at least one diversity-designated course to receive an AA degree. See Courses for a list of approved courses.

Many Washington state colleges have a diversity requirement. By joining our peer colleges, we prepare students for transfer to the university level, as well as for adult life in a diverse world with changing demographics. Learning about diversity serves all students, positively impacting campus climate. It is distinctly important for the recruitment and retention of students of color.

Degree Exception Committee: As with any changes to the catalog, students can opt to follow the catalog currently in use or at the time of their first enrollment. Students may petition the Degree Exception Committee if there is uncertainty about which catalog applies or if they believe they have had a hardship in trying to meet the diversity requirement prior to graduation based on the availability of classes.

The Diversity Requirement does not add a new course or new credits to the A.A. degree. Diversity-designated courses meet already-existing degree requirements, either as distribution credits in Social Science, Humanities, English or Fine Arts, or as electives.

This requirement does not apply to most Career and Technical programs. Some of these, like Criminal Justice and Early Childhood Education, also have diversity requirements, and others infuse diversity into their curriculum. Other programs and the A.S. degree have strict restrictions on available credits. Career and Technical programs (AAA, AAS, AAA-PTS, AAS-PTS, Cert and/or Cert-P) are managed by advisory boards, which also oversee any changes to their degrees.
Students are not able to petition for exemption based on personal identity, experience or prior learning. The purpose of a diversity requirement is to ensure that students have been exposed to academic frameworks through which better to understand their own and others' experiences.