West Hills CollegeCoalinga
College Catalog 2003 - 2004 Programs of StudyCourse DescriptionsGeneral InformationFaculty and Staff
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Graduation Requirements

Duty to Grant
The Governing Board of a community college shall award the appropriate diploma, degree, or certificate whenever a student has completed all requirements for the degree, diploma, or certificate without regard to the length of time actually taken by the student to complete such requirements. The Governing Board shall grant to any student who has satisfactorily completed the requirements of any course of study in less than the prescribed time, credit for the full number of semester hours scheduled for such course.


Students should plan the general direction of their educational careers as early as possible. Students wishing to transfer to a four-year college or university should select the transfer institution as early as possible. To assist with planning, requirements are described in this section for:

1.  The Associate Arts degree;

2.  The Associate Science degree;

3.  Certificates of Achievement.


Physical Education Requirements
Students under 21 years of age are required to complete a minimum of two courses in physical education activity totaling not less than two units while working toward an associate degree. Intercollegiate athletics will not count toward the required units.

A student may be exempted upon presentation of a medical excuse from a physician. A student with a physical disability should file a physician's certificate of disability each semester requesting exemption.

Petition to Graduate
It is the student's responsibility to file a "Petition to Graduate" at the time of registration and no later than the eighth week of the semester in which he or she plans to complete the requirements of the certificate or degree program. The Petition to Graduate form is available in the counseling offices in Coalinga and Firebaugh. Original transcripts of college or equivalent work must be on file in the Admissions and Records Office at this time.

Students who file petitions after the end of the eighth week of the semester might not receive diplomas until after the end of the following semester.

Students who have completed or enrolled in courses that meet the final requirements toward a certificate or degree must see a counselor. Students are advised to meet with a counselor two semesters before graduation to review their Student Educational Plan and complete an evaluation of their units.

Transfer to Four-Year Colleges and Universities
It is generally to the advantage of the transfer student to complete his or her general education requirements at West Hills College Coalinga. It is also important that the student take the proper lower division prerequisites for his/her major. The sooner a student decides upon a major and chooses which college to attend, the better his or her course choices will be. Students planning to transfer should work closely with counseling staff as soon as possible after enrolling in the first semester to ensure seamless transfer process.

California State University
Copies of general educational certification will be sent with transcripts upon student request. Requests for certification of general education to the California State University system must be initiated by the student on forms available in the Admissions and Records Office.

University of California

Copies of general educational certification will be sent with transcripts upon student request. Requests for certification of general education to the University of California system must be initiated by the student on forms available in the Admissions and Records Office.

Commencement Exercises

Students who wish to be awarded the Associate Arts degree, Associate Science degree or a Certificate of Achievement are strongly urged to participate in the commencement exercises held at the end of the spring semester.

General Education Requirements: Philosophy Statement

The general education component of the associate degree introduces students to the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, applied sciences, and technology.  It exposes students to different areas of study; demands the acquisition and use of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills, imparts a sense of our shared cultural heritage and how to function as responsible, ethical individuals in a complex society, and instills a level of intellectual curiosity and self-awareness conductive to lifelong learning and personal growth.

Together with the West Hills College Coalinga degree requirements, the general education component of the associate degree prepares students to

1.  transfer to and function successfully in a baccalaureate degree granting institution or

2.  enter the work force as a competent, productive citizen and

3.  live a richer, more rewarding life.


General education is the distinguishing feature of higher education.  It is a broadly-based core of knowledge and abilities, acquisition of which is the distinctive characteristic of the educated person.  General education courses emphasize the ability to reason, to examine issues from different perspectives, to challenge authority, and to communicate ideas logically and confidently.  They instill open-mindedness, respect for differences among people, and knowledge of self.  They provide an understanding of the human condition and of human accomplishments and encourage a lifelong interest in learning.


General education courses are not primarily skills-based, nor are they limited to, or more appropriate for majors in a specialized field of study.


Courses that fulfill general education requirements must:

1. Require reading, writing, computation, and critical thinking.

2. Improve students' abilities to:

  • communicate oral and written ideas effectively;
    define problems, design solutions, critically analyze results;
  • work effectively and cooperatively with others;
  • work independently;
  • develop and question personal and societal values, make informed choices, and accept responsibility for one's decisions;
  • function as active, responsible, ethical citizens;
  • acquire the curiosity and skills essential for lifelong learning.

3.       Impart understanding, knowledge, and appreciation of:

  • our shared heritage, including the contributions of women, ethnic minorities, and non-western cultures;
  • the earth's ecosystem, including the processes that formed it and the strategies that are necessary for its maintenance;
  • human social, political, and economic institutions and behavior, including their interrelationships;
  • the psychological, social, and physiological dimensions of men and women as individuals and as members of our society.


Courses that fulfill general education requirements must fall into one of the content categories listed below:

Area A Communication in the English Language and Critical Thinking;

Area B Physical Universe and its Life Forms;

Area C Arts, Literature, Philosophy, and Foreign Language;

Area D Social, Political, and Economic Institutions and Behavior, Historical Background;

Area E Lifelong Learning and Development.