Two Year Degree (Associate)

Two Year Degree (Associate)


For most students planning to pursue a four-year degree, the first two years of college consist of general course requirements that are very similar at nearly all public and private colleges, both in South Carolina and across the nation.

By taking those general college courses at SMC, you can save money, time and even have a valuable degree in hand after just two years. If you’re a student who may not have the scores to get into your dream school, you can also get a second chance at SMC. Here’s how:

How You’ll Save Money:

  • If you’re a South Carolina student who meets the requirements for the LIFE Scholarship, you can attend SMC tuition-free. That’s a savings of over $30,000. LEARN MORE.
  • SMC is priced lower than 60% of other private South Carolina colleges. You’ll get the advantages of a small campus, personal attention and a high-quality education – and pay less.
  • By taking your first two years of courses here, you can transfer to another, more expensive school for your final two years. You’ll still graduate with a diploma from  your dream school (USC, Clemson, Winthrop, Furman, Wofford or ANY school of your choice), but you’ll spend far less money than if you spent all four years there. And because those first two years of college courses are the same for most students at most colleges, why not save thousands of dollars?

How You’ll Save Time:

Over 90% of college students change their major at least once while in college. Over 80% change it THREE times. The fact is, most high school students start college believing they’re interested in pursuing a major, but once they take a few courses in that major, or do an internship, they discover it’s not for them. Changing your major can make it difficult to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years. And the longer you stay in college, the more your expenses and debt increase.

By starting at SMC, you’ll save time in these ways:

  • Because we are a two-year school and our students transfer to finish their final two years at another college, we only offer general courses that are designed to introduce you to many different subjects and academic disciplines, while also transferring course credits easily to your new school. If you start college planning to major in math but change your mind, you won’t have gone so far down the “math major” path at SMC that you neglected taking other courses that could count toward a different major. You won’t have to make up for lost time.
  • High school students often choose a four-year college because it offers a very specific major. If you end up changing your major (and remember, over 90% of college students change majors at least once), you may suddenly find yourself at a college that doesn’t offer a major in your new area of interest. By starting at SMC and taking general college courses (in subjects you think you want to major in and also in many other areas), you’ll have plenty of time to finalize your major, feel confident about the right path for you and then transfer to the right college to finish your last two years. And you’ll do it without having to make up extra courses, which can slow you down.
  • We help students discover their academic and career interests early. As a freshman, you’ll take a number of career interests surveys and work with an adviser who can help you decide which academic path best suits your career goals. That adviser will also help you ensure you’re taking the necessary courses to complete your degree at SMC (Associate degree) and have the courses you need to transfer easily to another college to finish your Bachelor’s degree.

How an Associate Degree is Valuable Even if You Plan to Get a Bachelor’s Degree:

At the top of this page, we noted that your first two years of college courses are going to be very similar, no matter which school you attend. There are always exceptions, and it’s a good idea to talk to an Admissions Counselor if you’re unsure about meeting your academic goals at SMC.

But for the vast majority of students, your first two years of general college, required classes at SMC will be the same ones you’re required to take at any college or university. We’ve already noted above how you can save money and time by taking those classes at SMC. Another bonus: you’ll receive an Associate degree after you finish two years here.

  • With an Associate Degree, you can qualify for part-time job opportunities that are unavailable to students without a degree. Many employers will consider you for an entry-level position in your chosen career field because you have a degree in hand. These are often higher-paying jobs than typical college student part-time work; plus, you’ll start getting career experience early and you’ll earn money that can help pay student loans while you finish your final two years of college. Why spend two years as a restaurant waiter when you could begin working in your career field?
  • If you are forced to leave college due to financial or other circumstances after two years,  you’ll have a degree in hand, making it much easier to either earn a better living or return to college at a later time.

How SMC Can Help You Get into Your Dream School:

  • We know that not all smart, hard-working students are good at taking standardized tests. If your SAT/ACT scores don’t qualify you for admission into your dream school, spending two years at SMC will give you the chance to improve your grades and transfer to another school to finish your degree. When admitting transfer students, most colleges place a strong emphasis on your college GPA rather than your SAT/ACT scores, because you’ve proven you can do college-level work.
  • Students who attend SMC for two years before transferring to another college to complete a Bachelor’s degree are often more successful students because they’ve had the time and opportunity to get comfortable with college. Our courses are academically rigorous, but we offer a uniquely supportive environment to help you achieve your goals.
  • Because we focus on freshmen and sophomore college students, you’ll have many more opportunities for leadership positions that will make you a stand-out transfer applicant. You don’t have to wait in line behind juniors and seniors to be president of clubs and organizations or to captain an athletic team.


Quick Facts About Our Associate Degree Programs:

Associate degrees awarded in:

  • Arts (General Studies)
  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Fine Arts
  • Religious Studies
  • Science

Who It’s For:

Students who plan to transfer to another college to pursue majors in these and many other academic disciplines:

Art, Business, Business Administration, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Drama, English, Education, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, History, Mathematics, Medicine, Music, Natural or Physical Sciences, Political Science or Government, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, Veterinary Medicine and Other Arts and Letters Disciplines.

How It Works:

Complete SMC freshman/sophomore years, get intensive help choosing the right major/career path, receive an Associate Degree and transfer to the right college for your final two years of Bachelor’s Degree completion.


Save time and money by taking general education requirements here. With an Associate Degree, you may also qualify for better part-time jobs/internships while completing a Bachelor’s degree here or at another college.

Where Courses Transfer:

SMC courses are designed to transfer to almost any other college or university (as long as you receive a grade of “C” or above.)


Degree Requirements: