2024-2025 Catalog and Handbook 
    May 20, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog and Handbook

Gen Ed Core Competencies

General education, as an integrated and cohesive whole, provides the educational foundation necessary to promote intellectual and personal development. Upon completion of the associate degree, graduates of Virginia’s Community Colleges will demonstrate competency in student learning outcomes (SLOs) determined and assessed by each college in the following general education areas: 1) civic engagement, 2) critical thinking, 3) professional readiness, 4) quantitative literacy, 5) scientific literacy, and 6) written communication. Collectively, these general education core competencies distinguish graduates of Virginia’s Community Colleges as individuals with a breadth of knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to pursue further education and their careers, continue to develop as learners, and contribute to the well-being of their communities. The six competencies are defined in policy (VCCS with aspirational statements of learning goals for graduates. Each community college will determine and assess specific learning outcomes based on the definitions and aspirational statements.

The associate degree programs within the Virginia’s Community College System support a collegiate experience that meets the general education requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). The general education core competencies shall be included in the catalog of each college.

VCCS/MECC General Education Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

VCCS degree graduates will demonstrate competency in the following general education areas:

  1. Civic Engagement is the ability to contribute to the civic life and well-being of local, national, and global communities as both as social responsibility and a life-long learning process. Degree graduates will demonstrate the knowledge and civic values necessary to become informed and contributing participants in a democratic society. Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to:
    • summarize fundamental principles and debates about democracy and citizenship, both within the United States and in other countries
    • reflect on personal social/civic identity and how that identity differs from others in their communities
    • deliberate on issues and problems to advance or achieve a civic aim
    • recognize the value of diverse feelings, perspectives, and life experiences, and the strength that such diversity brings to civic life
    • examine the ethical implications of community and civic actions and decisions
    • consider and respond to civic, social, environmental, or economic challenges at local, national, or global levels
    • identify personal and collective actions that could be taken to address injustices in society
  2. Critical Thinking is the ability to use information, ideas and arguments from relevant perspectives to make sense of complex issues and solve problems. Degree graduates will locate, evaluate, interpret, and combine information to reach well-reasoned conclusions or solutions. Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to:
    • discriminate among degrees of credibility, accuracy, and reliability of inferences drawn from given data;
    • recognize parallels, assumptions, or presuppositions in any given source of information;
    • evaluate the strengths and relevance of arguments on a particular question or issue;
    • weigh evidence and decide if generalizations or conclusions based on the given data are warranted;
    • determine whether certain conclusions or consequences are supported by the information provided,
    • use problem solving skills.
  3. Professional Readiness is the ability to work well with others and display situationally and culturally appropriate demeanor and behavior. Degree graduates will demonstrate skills important for successful transition into the workplace and pursuit of further education. Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to:
    • ability to maintain open, effective, and professional communications
    • ability to demonstrate appropriate workplace and classroom demeanor and behavior;
    • ability to work effectively with others on a task in a group or a team to achieve a common goal while maintaining constructive interpersonal relationships
    • ability to solve a challenge or program through innovative ways
    • practice ethical decision-making skills and learn how to describe and analyze positions on ethical issues.
  4. Quantitative Literacy is the ability to perform accurate calculations, interpret quantitative information, apply and analyze relevant numerical data, and use results to support conclusions. Degree graduates will calculate, interpret, and use numerical and quantitative information in a variety of settings. Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to:
    • determine whether the source of the information is authentic, valid, and reliable.
    • explain numerical information presented in mathematical forms (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, words)
    • convert relevant information into various mathematical forms (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, words)
    • accurately solve mathematical problems
    • make judgments and draw relevant conclusions from quantitative analysis of data and predict future trends when appropriate
    • use quantitative evidence to support a position or clarify a purpose orally or in writing using appropriate language, symbolism, data, and graphs
  5. Scientific Literacy is the ability to apply the scientific method and related concepts and principles to make informed decisions and engage with issues related to the natural, physical, and social world. Degree graduates will recognize and know how to us the scientific method, and to evaluate empirical information. Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to:
    • generate an empirically evidenced and logical argument;
    • distinguish a scientific argument from a non-scientific argument;
    • reason by deduction, induction and analogy;
    • distinguish between causal and correlational relationships;
    • recognize methods of inquiry that lead to scientific knowledge.
  6. Written Communication is the ability to develop, convey, and exchange ideas in writing, as appropriate to a given context and audience. Degree graduates will express themselves effectively in a variety of written forms. Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to:
    • clearly identifies the purpose of the message and focuses the delivery to the audience
    • uses appropriate and relevant content to illustrate main ideas
    • organizes and presents a main idea clearly and concisely with a basic structure
    • uses standard American English, and accepted, conventional grammar and mechanics
    • recognize the role of culture in communication.

      Table 5-1
      Minimum Requirements for
      Associate Degrees in the VCCS

        Minimum Number of
      Semester Hour Credits
      General Education: (1)




      AAA / AAS


      6(a) 6(a) 6 3-6

      Humanities/Fine Arts/Literature

      6(c) 6(c) 3-9(b) 3-6

      Social/Behavioral Sciences

      6(d) 6(d) 3-9 3-6

      Natural Sciences

      4 4-8 4 0-6(e)


      3 3-6 3 0-6(e)

      Institutional Specific General Education Courses

      5-6 5-6 0 0

      Total for General Education =









      Other Requirements for Associate Degrees:

      Student Development 

      1-2 1-2 1-2 1-2

      Transfer Core(f) (columns 1-3)
      Career/technical courses (column 4) 








      Total for Degree = 60-63 60-63(h) 60-63 60-69(h)



      (a) Each of the courses in communication must be in written communication. 

      (b) One course in humanities/fine arts for the Fine Arts major must be a literature course.

      (c) Each of the two courses cannot be from the same discipline area (e.g. humanities).

      (d) One course in social/behavioral sciences must be a history course and the second required course cannot be history.

      (e) A total of 3-6 semester hours is required in either natural sciences and/or mathematics for the AAA and AAS.

      (f) Transfer core includes additional general education and/or major courses. 

      (g) As specified above, degree programs must contain a minimum of 15 semester hours of general education as defined by SACSCOC.

      (h) See Policy for exceptions to the total credits allowed.


Table 5-2
Minimum Requirements for
Diplomas, Certificates, and Career Studies Certificates




Career Studies



A two-year curriculum with an emphasis in a career/technical area

A curriculum that consists of a minimum of 30 semester credit hours

A program of study of not less than 9 nor more than 29 semester credit hours



May include any appropriate courses numbered 10-299

May include any appropriate courses numbered 10-299

May include any appropriate courses numbered 10-299




A minimum of fifteen percent (15%) of credit hour requirements shall be in general education, including 1 three-credit English course.

A minimum of fifteen percent (15%) of credit hour requirements shall be in general education, including 1 three-credit English course.

There are no general education requirements.



Policy 5.1.2

  • 25% of credit hours must be taken at home institution.
  • 2.0 GPA
  • Graduation honors eligible

Policy 5.1.2

  • 25% of credit hours must be taken at home institution.
  • 2.0 GPA
  • Graduation honors eligible

Policy 5.1.2

  • 25% of credit hours must be taken at home institution.
  • 2.0 GPA
  • Not eligible for graduation honors



State Board for Community Colleges


Local College Board


License Requirements

The Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) licenses, certifies, registers, and disciplines those professions, occupations, businesses, and individuals that the Virginia General Assembly has determined must be regulated in order to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the public. The majority of professions and occupations regulated by DPOR require applicants to successfully pass minimum competency exams before they are licensed at the entry level. Licensing, certification and registration play a major role in protecting the public. MECC offers courses to prepare for certification in the following professions and occupations:

  • Contractor
  • LP Gas Fitter
  • Real Estate Appraiser
  • Real Estate Sales and Broker
  • Tradesman (electrician, plumber, HVAC)
  • Waterworks/Wastewater Works Facility Operator
  • Waste Management Facility Operator

For more information and a complete listing on these professions and occupations, please visit the DPOR web site at www.state.va.us/dpor or call 804.367.8500 and ask for the board regulating the profession or occupation of interest to you.