NLC’s online Associate of Arts degree provides students with the foundation to succeed in any of NLC’s bachelor degree programs or any other 4-year university.

Students graduating from National Labor College with the Associate of Arts degree will develop skills at the postsecondary level in critical thinking, effective communication, global thinking, information literacy, leadership, and technical proficiency.

Students will also build a strong foundation in each of the following academic disciplines:

  • American history, including labor history
  • Humanities and arts, including literature
  • Social and behavioral sciences, including government and labor studies
  • Mathematical and natural sciences

To earn an Associate of Arts degree at National Labor College, a student must:

  • Complete a total of 60 or more semester credit hours (courses are 3 credits each)
  • Earn a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher (out of 4.0) in NLC courses
  • Meet General Education requirements as specified below
  • Complete the 15 required core credit hours in NLC courses

In addition to the required 15 credits at NLC, students may earn credit through a combination of transfer credit from an accredited college or university, American Council on Education (ACE)-certified apprenticeships, ACE-accredited courses or training, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) testing, military credits, partnership credits, and credit for lifelong learning experience through NLC’s Prior Learning Assessment (PLA).

Core Courses

Required Coursework (3 credits in each subject area below)

  • Effective Writing (or equivalent course in English composition)
  • Information Technology or Communications
  • Arts, Humanities or Literature
  • Safety and Health
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences
  • U.S. Government, Politics, Policy or Law

Sample Electives (24 credits to total 60 credits)

  • Computer Skills I & II
  • Ethics in Decision Making
  • Environmental Science
  • Film and Globalization
  • Gender & Identity in Labor History
  • History of Communication, Culture, and Technology
  • Multimedia Technology
  • Psychology of the Adult Learner
  • Science, Technology, and Our World
  • Statistics

Core Course Descriptions (3 credits each)

NLC Pathways: Becoming a Successful Online Learner
This course will teach new students skills that they need to become successful online learners. Students will complete a comprehensive orientation and overview of National Labor College; its mission, policies and programs. They will develop an academic plan that clearly outlines a pathway to degree completion. They will practice techniques and strategies that help them to become more effective and efficient students. Students will apply basic concepts of adult learning theory, motivational theory as well as organizational and time management tools to help them prioritize and manage their obligations. As part of a vibrant online learning community, students will experience the solidarity that distinguishes National Labor College as a college for working people and their families. This three credit course is required for all students enrolled in the Associate of Arts degree program.

Reading, Writing and Research
Building on ENGL 1200 (Effective Writing), this writing intensive advanced composition course is designed to enhance proficiency in critical reading and thinking and improve expository writing skills. Students will investigate the expressive powers of argumentation in writing while building their information literacy skills through an extended research project. Prerequisite: Effective Writing or advisor’s approval.

Effective Writing
How do effective writers transform their messages from ideas in their heads into writing that works? How can writing shape the thinking process and enhance critical thinking skills? Through analysis and application of the writing process, students in this course learn to approach writing with more confidence, read more effectively, work toward developing individual styles and gain skills in writing essays. [This course addresses the writing needs of students returning to college or just starting school.]

Introduction to U.S. Labor Studies
This class will introduce students to the landscape in which the labor movement operates. It will also provide students with a historical and legal perspective of union development and operation. Students will be introduced to expectations of National Labor College including on-line class work, library research, and composition.

U.S. History: Work, Workers, and the Building of the American Nation
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to some of the complexities and contradictions in the history of the United States as it developed, first as colonies in the British Empire. The history and various cultures of the British colonies continue to inform the development of the independent nation that expanded through conquest to include former colonies of Spain and France, even Russia, and a large region of Mexico. Working with primary documents, students will explore both the intended and the unintended consequences of key episodes and debate the contested meaning of language and symbols central to the emergence of the world’s most powerful nation. We will pay particularly close attention to the concepts and institutions of a democratic society that ordinary people, including workers, have come to expect as American citizens.

Introduction to Global Labor Studies
This course will introduce the student to the main issues, emerging patterns and current conditions of work and workers in the global system. Topics include globalization and neoliberalism, global supply chains, the role of labor unions, and the international labor movement in protecting workers.