May 15, 2021  
2017-2018 Catalog 
2017-2018 Catalog [ARCHIVED PUBLICATION]

Curriculum Programs: Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates

Purpose of Curriculum Instruction

In accord with the college’s stated mission, it is the purpose of curriculum instruction to prepare graduates for employment as skilled and productive members of the workforce and for continued academic success in their pursuit of further study.


  • To provide an academic advising system that assists all students in setting and achieving appropriate academic goals.
  • To require all students to demonstrate an appropriate level of reading, writing, and mathematics skill prior to taking college level courses.
  • To require all graduates, as appropriate for each degree, diploma, or certificate program, to develop the following:
    • Communication Skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking)
    • Mathematics Reasoning Skills
    • Technological Skills
    • Critical Thinking Skills
    • Global and Cultural Awareness
    • Sustainability
  • To require all degree graduates, as appropriate to each degree program, to further demonstrate competencies in the following areas:
    • Humanities/Fine Arts
    • Sciences
    • Social Sciences
  • To meet and/or exceed all North Carolina Community College System performance standards for curriculum programs.

Options for Program Completion

Students enrolled in curriculum courses at ECC can choose one of these options for program completion: the associate degree, the vocational diploma, or the certificate.

Associate Degree Programs

Associate degree programs prepare student to enter the workplace immediately upon graduation and/or to continue their education at a four (4) year institution. Full-time students can generally complete associate degree programs in two (2) years. The college offers four degree programs: the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.), the Associate in Arts degree (A.A.), the Associate in General Education (A.G.E.), and the Associate in Science degree (A.S.).

A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for admission into associate degree programs. Students take placement assessments in math, reading, computers, biology, and English before beginning their studies and may need to take developmental courses in those subjects if their scores so indicate. Developmental courses do not count toward the number of course credits required for graduation.

Diploma Programs

Vocational programs are primarily for those who wish to enter a trade immediately after graduation and can generally be completed in three semesters on a full-time basis. In some curriculum areas, diploma programs are the equivalent of the first three (3) semesters of the associate degree program, and courses earned in completing the diploma count toward the associate degree. Students must have a high school diploma or its equivalent to be admitted to any of the diploma programs.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs train men and women for immediate employment and can generally be completed in one (1) or two (2) semesters on a full-time or part-time basis. In some curriculum areas, the courses earned in completing the certificate program count toward the diploma and/or associate degree outlined in the catalog.