Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
    Palo Alto College
  Jul 24, 2024
Palo Alto College Schedule/Catalog 2022-2023 
Catalog Navigation
Palo Alto College Schedule/Catalog 2022-2023 [Archived Catalog]


The colleges in the Alamo CollegesDistrict confer (post on official transcript) degrees and certificates three (3) times a year:  at the end of Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

The colleges in the Alamo Colleges District offer recognition for satisfactory completion of work in the following forms:

  • Associate of Arts Degree
  • Associate of Science Degree
  • Associate of Arts in Teaching
  • Associate of Applied Science Degree
  • Certificates

Graduation Application

To be awarded a degree or certificate, students should request preparation of a degree audit and file an Apply to Graduate Form after the completion of forty-five (45) semester credit hours toward a specific degree or at least fifteen (15) semester credit hours toward a certificate at the home college of the Alamo Colleges District. All candidates should list the catalog edition under which graduation is requested when completing the Apply to Graduate Form online through the student's ACES account. One application is required for each degree or certificate requested.

Degree/Certificate Requirements

The colleges in the Alamo Colleges District focus on preparing students for their next educational or career step.  Proactively taking steps to reduce the student’s cost and time of attendance and providing students with additional flexibility and opportunities to earn a two-year degree while maximizing the number of credits transferred toward a baccalaureate degree or earning stackable program options to help them successfully enter the workforce and continue to enhance their lifelong educational progress.

Graduation requirements apply to certificates, reverse transfers, associate degrees, associate of applied science degrees, advanced technical certificates and enhanced skills certificates.  A student may earn a total of one AA, one AAT, and one AS degree from the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District.  In order to be eligible for multiple degrees, at least fifteen hours for any additional degree must be unique to that degree and not part of any degrees previously earned from the colleges of the Alamo Colleges District.  If the student qualifies for a degree from more than one college of the Alamo Colleges District, the degree will be awarded by the home college.  Students may earn multiple distinct certificates and AAS degrees from the college(s) offering the awards.  

To be awarded an Associate Degree or Certificate students must:

  • Complete all required courses and semester credit hours for the specific degree or certificate
  • Achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in the coursework that applies to the student’s degree certificate program completed at the college in the Alamo Colleges District awarding the Associate Degree or Certificate.    
  • Submit official transcripts of all coursework attempted at other colleges and universities.
  • Earn a grade of “C” or better in all technical courses directly relating to the technical program, i.e., Associate of Applied Science Degree or Certificate programs.
  • Earn at least 25% of degree hours required for graduation in residency at the college of the Alamo Colleges District granting the degree or certificate. 
  • Fulfill all Texas Success Initiative (TSI) requirements.
  • Be in Good Academic Standing at the end of the term the student is receiving the award

Catalog Requirements

Degree and core curriculum requirements must be completed within five (5) academic years from the date of the Alamo Colleges District’s college catalog chosen.

Students may choose the catalog in effect the date of first enrollment in one of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges Distict’s colleges. A student may choose a subsequent catalog under which to complete graduation requirements, provided the student has earned credit hours during a semester in which the selected catalog was in effect. Those students majoring in or choosing to change their major to a Workforce Education Program (Associate of Applied Science or Certificate) will be strongly encouraged by assigned certified advisors to elect the most recent catalog and program plan. The unique skills associated with workforce programs are dynamic in nature; therefore, the course objectives are constantly revised to teach the most current technologies and skills required by workforce. Selecting the most recent catalog for a workforce program does not preclude the transfer of general education courses previously completed to the new program plan.

Students may file a petition to Enrollment Services/Admissions and Records office for an extension of the five (5) year rule. Veterans must notify the Veterans Administration Office for changes in their catalog and degree plan.

Students should refer to their degree plan in ACES through Alamo GPS to view and monitor their progress toward degree or certificate completion. Please note that not all transfer coursework may be reflected in Alamo GPS. If all transfer coursework is not reflected, please see the Enrollment Services/Admissions and Records office.


To be awarded a degree or certificate, students must apply for graduation by submitting an Apply to Graduate Form online through the students’ ACES accounts during the semester for which they plan to graduate. Applications submitted after the deadline are processed with the next graduating class and diplomas/certificates reflect that date.

Commencement Exercises

All candidates for degrees and certificates are encouraged to participate in commencement exercises. Candidates need not be enrolled during the semester that the Apply to Graduate Form is submitted or during the semester in which the degree is conferred. Participation in the graduation ceremony, however, does not ensure automatic fulfillment of requirements or that a degree will be awarded.

  • Eligibility to Participate in Commencement Ceremony:
    • SPC has two commencement ceremonies: one in the Fall semester (December) and one in the Spring semester (May).  Students may participate in the commencement provided the student has completed course requirements or is enrolled in the final courses required for their degree
    • SAC/PAC/NVC/NLC has one commencement ceremony in the Spring semester (May). Students may participate in the commencement provided student has no more than 2 courses (6-8 credit hours) pending to graduate

There is no cost for graduation. The diploma, cap, and gown are provided by the Alamo Colleges District.

Guarantee for Job Competency for Professional/Technical/Workplace Students

If an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) graduate or Certificate completer, whose coursework began in the Fall 1993 semester or thereafter, is judged by an employer to be lacking in technical job skills identified as exit competencies for the specific degree or certificate program, the graduate will be provided up to nine (9) tuition-free semester credit hours of additional skill training by the college of the Alamo Colleges District awarding the degree or certificate under the conditions of this policy. The guarantee does not imply that the graduate will pass any licensing or qualifying examination for a particular career.

Conditions applying to this guarantee policy:

  • The graduate/completer must have earned the (AAS) Degree or Certificate in a technical program published in the catalogs (or their addenda) of the college awarding the degree.
  • The graduate/completer must have completed the (AAS) Degree or Certificate with a majority (75%) of the credits being earned at the college awarding the degree within a four (4) year time span from initial enrollment. The last fifteen (15) semester credit hours MUST be completed at the college awarding the degree and must include the capstone course for the respective degree. For information on the capstone course, contact the respective chairperson or program coordinator.
  • The graduate/completer must be employed full-time in an area directly related to the area of program concentration as certified by the college president or designee of one of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District.
  • The graduate/completer must commence employment within six (6) months of graduation/completion.
  • The employer must certify in writing that the employee is lacking entry-level skills which were identified by the college awarding the degree or certificate as the program exit competencies as approved by the program advisory committee. The employer must specify the areas of deficiency within ninety (90) days of the graduate’s/completer’s initial employment.
  • The employer, graduate/completer, and representatives of the college awarding the degree will develop a written educational plan for retraining.
  • Retraining will be limited to nine (9) credit hours related to the identified skill covered by the retraining plan.
  • All retraining must be completed within one (1) calendar year from the time agreed upon for the educational plan.
  • The graduate/completer and/or employer is responsible for the costs of books, insurance, uniforms, and /or other course-related expenses.
  • The student’s sole remedy against the Alamo Colleges District and its employees for skill deficiencies shall be limited to nine (9) credit hours of tuition-free education under the conditions described above.
  • The program can be initiated through a written contract with the Office of the College President.

AA, AS, AAT Transferability

The intent of the AA, AS, and AAT degree is that the 60 semester hours will transfer toward a baccalaureate degree. The Alamo Colleges District and institutions of higher education work closely to ensure a smooth transition from the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District to four-year institutions of higher education baccalaureate degree programs.

Students may select a pre-major for their further study at an institutions of higher education. The pre-major designation provides students with the greatest flexibility to customize their course schedule and program to meet both their academic interest areas and the specific requirements of their intended transfer institution.

During their enrollment at one of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District, students are advised to fulfill the lower-division requirements for an institution of higher education’s program into which they plan to transfer. Students wishing to transfer into a baccalaureate or professional degree program are encouraged to meet with an assigned certified advisor to identify the undergraduate degree requirements of the institution of higher education to which they plan to transfer and consult with a counselor/certified advisor at one of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District to review elective credits that align with their desired institution’s requirements to ensure full course transfer.

The colleges in the Alamo Colleges District have established Articulation Agreements with a number of institutions of higher education, including many in San Antonio. These agreements describe partnerships to facilitate the transfer process and may include:

  • Joint Admissions Agreements
  • Transfer Advising Guides
  • Advising Guides for Specific Pre-Majors
  • Core Curriculum Equivalences
  • Course Equivalency Tables
  • Reverse Transfer Agreements

The agreements allow students to identify which courses may be taken at any one of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District to complete freshman and sophomore requirements for a particular institution of higher education degree program. Institutions of higher education generally will accept a maximum of sixty-six (66) transfer credit hours in lower-division general education and specific field of study curriculum courses.

Students are encouraged to see their assigned certified advisor to find out which universities have these agreements and to gather information concerning institutions to which they intend to transfer, including institutions of higher education admissions requirements, degree program requirements, scholarships, housing, and contact information. Information about scholarship resources is also available. Institutions of higher education admissions representatives and transfer advisors from select institutions may be scheduled each semester to advise prospective transfer students at each of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District.

Reverse Transfer Degree

Students who transfer from the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District to a Texas public college or institution of higher education prior to graduation have an opportunity to complete requirements to earn an associate degree awarded by one of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District. This process recognizes students’ accomplishments and awards the important credential deserved. For students who transfer to most Texas institutions of higher eduation, this is an automated system.

Student Eligibility Criteria

Texas requires public institutions to participate in reverse transfer according to specific guidelines set forth in Texas Education Code, Title 3, Chapeter 61, Subchapter A, §61.833 (Credit Transfer for Associate Degree).

Student must:

  • Supply transfer credit from a Texas public 4-year institution.
  • Earn at least 30 credit hours for course work successfully completed at the lower-division institution of higher education.
  • Complete the degree requirements for the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District at the transfer institution.
  • Earn a cumulative total of at least 66 credit hours for work successfully completed.
  • Prior to the fall 2013 semester, eligible students had to earn a cumulative total of at least 90 credit hours.

Following student consent on the ApplyTexas Admission Application or through another process, four year institutions of higher education partners send a list of potentially eligible students and transcripts to the Alamo Colleges District each term. Transcripts are evaluated and associate degrees are awarded to eligible students. Students will be notified via the last known email address that the degree has been awarded.

Students may also request a reverse transfer degree audit at any time by submitting an institution of higher education transcript and visiting the college’s Enrollment Services/Admissions and Records office.

Automatic Award of Degrees and Certificates

The colleges in the Alamo Colleges District encourage students to complete a degree audit and apply for graduation prior to the term in which they intend to graduate. However, each of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District may confer an award to current and former students who have met graduation requirements. Students may choose to opt out of the automatic award of the degree or certificate by notifying the college prior to the award.

This provision applies to certificates, reverse transfers, associate degrees, and associates of applied sciences degree. In addition to the course requirements outlined in the respective program plans, students must meet other graduation and residency requirements specified in the catalog in effect at the time of the catalog year selected.  Students may submit an appeal to have the five (5) year rule waived, but students must be or were enrolled in the year of the selected catalog.