Difference Between A.A. Degree and A.S. Degree (With Table)

Associate degrees are designed for students who want to jump-start their careers after achieving a high school diploma. Usually, they are for two to three years and help students to gain the required knowledge and skills faster than a bachelor’s degree program. The Associate of Arts degree and the Associate of Science degree are two examples of such degrees.

A.A. Degree vs A.S. Degree

The main difference between an A.A. degree and an A.S. degree is that the former focuses on subjects like liberal arts, social science, etc., while the latter provides students with knowledge of natural and applied science. An A.A. degree is much more flexible than an A.S. degree which focuses mainly on subjects related to math and science.

Associate of Arts degree is an undergraduate program of two years which provides students with the knowledge of general education and skills in the subjects like social science, humanities, etc. It helps students to develop their critical thinking and research skills. It is a program that provides students comprehensive learning experience and helps them to jump-start their careers. 

An Associate of Science degree educates students in the fields of natural and applied science. It usually takes two years to complete this program and it is a degree through which students enter the field of science that interests them. It mainly focuses on subjects related to maths and science.

Comparison Table Between A.A. Degree and A.S. Degree

Parameters of ComparisonA.A. DegreeA.S. Degree
Full form           Associate of Arts DegreeAssociate of Science Degree
NatureIt is more of a general natureIt is narrowly focused
Focus of studyIt is a flexible program, but generally, it consists of subjects related to liberal arts and social science.It is focused on maths and science-related subjects.
Interests              Students who are interested in psychology, philosophy, marketing, or accounting usually go for this degreeStudents who are interested in science, maths, computer science, or Healthcare go for this degree
Top 5 careers after completionMarketing Assistant Assistant Retail Manager  Customer Service Representative  Administrative Assistant  Bank Teller  Air Traffic Controller Computer Programmer Nuclear Medicine Technologist Dental Hygienist  Registered Nurse  

What is an A.A. Degree?

An A.A. degree, often known as an Associate of Arts degree, is a two-year basic undergraduate degree. This degree is available for students who have finished their high school diploma and are interested in the subject related to arts. An A.A. degree generally helps students get knowledge and skills in various fields, as it is a more flexible program than other associate programs. A student pursuing an A.A. degree can work in various fields like marketing, accounting, psychology, philosophy, etc. It also prepares students for further educational pursuits in bachelor’s degrees and provides students with general education and academic requirements. 

The level of an A.A. degree is above a high school diploma but below a bachelor’s degree. Jobs that a student may get after the completion of an Associate degree in Arts include management positions, sales, educational jobs, etc.

Students pursuing this degree will develop workplace problem-solving skills, and the ability to work in teams, leadership skills, communication, and other soft skills. The curriculum offers students a comprehensive learning experience that allows them to tailor their coursework to their specific interests. The requirements to enter this degree differ from college to college, but one requirement that is common to all is that it requires students wanting to pursue it to have a high school diploma.

What is an A.S. Degree?

An A.S. degree, or Associate of Science degree, is an undergraduate degree pursued by students who want to enter the field of science. It usually lasts for two years. It provides students with knowledge of natural and applied science. Students who are interested in math and science-related subjects can pursue this degree after completing their high school diploma. It focuses more on math and science-related subjects, and students who want to go into the fields of health care, computer science, math, or science can pursue this degree.

The level of an A.S. degree is similar to an A.A. degree that is above a high school diploma and below a bachelor’s degree. Jobs that a student may get after the completion of an A.A. degree are nursing, business administration, IT, etc.

A.S. degree can be a stepping stone for the students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree after its completion as it provides students with the basic knowledge in the field of science that interests them. Students can customize their coursework to gain knowledge in the field of their interests. The qualifications for entering this degree vary by college, but one need that is common is that individuals interested in pursuing it have a high school graduation.

Main Differences Between A.A. Degree and A.S. Degree

  1. In terms of education, an A.A. degree is broader because it provides knowledge in a range of topics, but an A.S. degree is focuses on math and science-related subjects.
  2. Liberal arts and social science are the subjects of an A.A. degree, whereas natural and applied science are the subjects of an A.S. degree.
  3. A.A. degree offers students knowledge in broad range of liberal arts subjects, while A.S. focuses on a few subjects.
  4. The interests of students pursuing an A.A. degree are primarily in art-related subjects such as philosophy, psychology, and so on. Interests of students who pursue an A.S. degree reside in science-related subjects like health care, computer science, etc.
  5. Careers available after an A.S. degree include marketing assistant, customer service representative, and so on, whereas careers available after an A.A. degree include Air Traffic Controller, computer programmer, nursing assistant, and so on.


Associate degrees in art and science are very distinct from one another. One provides knowledge in the field of arts, while the other provides knowledge in the field of science. Because they are both associate degrees, they do share some similarities, such as the fact that they are both typically two-year programs that help students jump-start their careers in the field of their choice sooner than a bachelor’s degree.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10668926.2018.1478346
  2. http://needcollegehelp.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Saving-the-Associate-of-Arts-Degree.pdf