Associate Degree Programme PHEC & HED
BZ University Multan
Following the international model of community colleges,
Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC), in collaboration with Higher Education Department (HED), has launched a Pilot Project; the “Establishment of Community Colleges in Punjab”. In the first phase, four colleges have been selected. Initially 2-Year Associate Degree (equivalent to Bachelor's Degree) on semester system basis is being offered in Commerce, IT, Media and Fine Arts.
The rationale behind the Community College Program is to produce skilled human resource. The traditional 2-Year Bachelor's Degree offered in public colleges develops no marketable skills.
PHEC, realizing the incongruence of curricula with the market, economy and society, is taking steps to bridge this gap by introducing a 2-Year Associate Degree on the model of community colleges of advanced countries in various emerging fields of industry to create a job-ready skilled workforce.
The existing infrastructure, equipment and teaching staff of the selected colleges will be used to launch these programs. More areas of specialization will be added in future such as Hotel Management, Paramedic, Nursing, Radiological Science and Public Health. Community colleges offer high quality education with technical expertise at a low cost and in a flexible manner. The focus is on marketable and industry-driven skills to fulfill the gap.
The Community Colleges Pilot Program would be the first step for providing a 2-Year Associate Degree with professional specializations, modeling community colleges of US and preparing students to enter the job market. After getting a 2-Year Associate Degree from these colleges, the graduates will have a number of career prospects. They may choose to enter the local industry to earn their livelihood. The effective skills and industry-education linkage would help integrate and flourish their career in their chosen fields.
Govt. College Civil Lines Multan
Govt. College Township, Lahore
Govt. College for Women, Faisalabad
Govt. Post Graduate College for Women, Gujranwala
Associate Degree in Commerce
(Specialization in Accounting & Finance)
Associate Degree in Information Technology
(Specialization in Networking / Web Technologies)
Associate Degree in Mass Communication
(Specialization in Media Studies)
Associate Degree in Fine Arts
(Specialization in Textile Design)
An Associate Degree is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by community colleges,
junior colleges, technical colleges, and bachelor's degree-granting colleges and universities upon
completion of a course of study usually lasting two years. In the United States and, uncommonly, in
Canada, an associate degree is equivalent to the first two years of a four-year college or university
degree. It is the lowest in the hierarchy of post-secondary academic degrees offered in these countries.
It is roughly equivalent to the foundation degree and the Business and Technology Education
Council's Higher National Diploma in Britain, the two-year General Academic Studies Degree (French:
diplôme d'études universitaires générales, DEUG) in France, the Higher Education and Training Awards
Council's Higher Certificate in the Republic of Ireland. In 2000, Hong Kong introduced associate degrees,
as equivalence to higher diplomas. These programmes are mainly provided through affiliated colleges at
universities. In 2004, Australia added "associate degree" to the Australian Qualifications Framework. This
title was given to more academically focused advanced diploma courses. However, very few courses yet
use the new title.
An Associate Degree is a two-year post-intermediate or equivalent academic degree to be
awarded by public & private Universities/DAIs primarily in market driven subjects based on local and
regional community and industry needs to be determined through a comprehensive survey to be carried
out by the University/Institution concerned. The Associate Degree holder will be a simple “Graduate” as
this degree will be equivalent to a BA/BSc (Pass) degree as far as the level of the degree is concerned.
The immediate link of the associate degree with the requirements of the market place is a core
requirement of this programme since this degree fulfills a requirement or need of industry and is
developed to respond to that need. The associate degree is not awarded in a generic manner upon
completion of two years of a four-year regular undergraduate (BS) programme.
The concept of Associate Degree originates from the United States and, is being executed in
many technically advanced countries including Canada, Australia and Japan etc. This degree is the
lowest amongst the hierarchy of academics qualifications being awarded by foreign Universities. An
Associate Degree programme is normally structured to be conducted over four regular semesters over a
two years period and consists of 65-68 credit hours. After award of an Associate Degree from an
accredited degree awarding University/Institution, the holder will have the option of transferring the
credits to a BS programme, at the discretion of the host university.
The primary types of Associate Degree
i) Associate of Arts (AA)
ii) Associate of Science (AS)
iii) Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
The main differences between these different kinds of associate’s degrees are the course requirements.
An AS and AA degree prepare graduates for further educational pursuits at the bachelor’s level by focusing more on academic requirements and general education courses.
An AAS has more “applied” course requirements, which means they are more practical in nature and are generally more focused on a specific career or vocational field.
An Associate Degree is a two-year post-intermediate/A-level or equivalent qualifications. The
Curriculum for each Associate Degree programme is especially developed in close consultation with
experts drawn from industry & the community and provides both for a solid general education background
as well as courses addressing the needs of the specific degree. The general courses include English
Comprehension, Communication Skills, Presentation Skills, Technical Report Writing, Computers and
Pakistan Studies/Islamiyat or Ethics.
In the first phase of the launch of the Associate Degrees programme, number of Associate
Degree programmes will not be offered in the professional disciplines of Pharmacy, Medicine, Dentistry,
Nursing, Engineering, Law, Veterinary Sciences, and Architecture and Town Planning. Discussions are
yet to be initiated with the respective Accreditation Councils about these programmes and they will be
launched following consultations with them.
To rationalize the Associate Degree programme, a series of consultative meetings were held at
Higher Education Commission with selective public and private sector universities. It was agreed to
launch Associate Degree in selective universities at their designated campuses with applied and focused
approach and keeping in view marketability of holders. It was particularly agreed that Associate Degree
will not be offered to students enrolled for BS programme at the main campus of the University and will,
therefore, not be an exit path for these students. The apprehension that the proposed Associate Degree
will in any way hamper the successful implementation of BS Programmes was dispelled. It was also
decided that Associate Degree will not be a substitute to existing BA/BSc (Pass) degrees offered through
4  Programme Features
To rationalize the Associate Degree programme, the constructive and innovative ideas put
forward by the Vice Chancellors reaffirm the fact that the programme is not to be launched in isolation
and, in fact, all the stakeholders including universities, industries and market forces have been taken on
board. The universities intending to launch theme based Associate Degree shall be required to carry out
market survey before institution of the Associate Degree programme to ascertain the employability of the
graduates. Following are the selective features of the Programme:
- Associate Degree programmes shall be launched in market driven disciplines for
which HEC shall present fast-track curriculum development to ensure uniformity in
case subject is offered at more than two Universities/Institutions.
- To make Associate Degree attractive and to ensure marketability of the holders, a survey
needs to be undertaken by the University/Institution to identify specific
target areas within broader disciplines of study before launching the programme.
- Admission requirement for Associate Degree shall be Intermediate/12-year schooling or
equivalent and will be awarded upon qualifying 65-68 credit hours in four (04)
semesters to be completed.