To be eligible for the Associate in Arts degree (A.A.), the Associate in Science degree (A.S.), or Associate in Applied Science degree (A.A.S.), students are recommended by the faculty if they:

  • Complete at least 60 credits (excluding developmental courses) of passing work.
  • Fulfill course requirements established in the selected program of study.
  • Earn a G.P.A. of at least 2.0 in work taken at the College applicable to their program.
  • Complete at least 30 semester hours at the College.
  • File an application for graduation. Intent to graduate forms are available in the Enrollment Center and at the administrative offices in New Bedford and Attleboro.
  • Students may transfer back up to 34 credits with approval of the pertinent academic program/department in order to complete a degree, the Continuous Enrollment Policy notwithstanding.


Each year, the College confers the honor of Valedictorian for one graduating student who demonstrates    academic and service excellence.  S/he gives the Valedictory address at the Commencement ceremony and is a member of the Commencement Platform Party.  Students who will graduate with the highest grade point averages among all graduating students will be notified and invited to apply for the honor during the spring semester. Those who are interested in applying will be asked to submit an essay and a list of College activities and services.  These submissions and the candidate's academic record at Bristol Community College are used to select finalists for consideration.


Graduation honors

Associate degree students who maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.2 to 3.49 will graduate “Cum Laude,” a G.P.A. of 3.5 to 3.79 “Magna Cum Laude,” and a G.P.A. of 3.8 or higher “Summa Cum Laude.” “Cum Laude” designations at graduation are based on academic performance through the Fall semester prior to the June graduation ceremony. Final “Cum Laude” designations include all coursework and are printed on the student’s official College transcript.

Graduation as a Commonwealth Honors Scholar

Students who successfully complete the Commonwealth Honors Program will be designated a “Commonwealth Honors Scholar” at graduation and will be recognized by the president at Commencement. Students will be distinguished by the wearing of the gold honors cord. “Commonwealth Honors Scholar” will be printed on the student’s transcript.

Community Service Leaders

Students who participate in service-learning or community service, attend leadership training, plan a community service project that meets a real need in the community, and recruit, help train, mentor, and supervise peers performing service for the project are designated as Community Service Leaders. They wear a red cord and are publicly recognized at Commencement.

Academic Achievement Awards

Students who maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 4.0 will receive an Academic Achievement Award when all program requirements are met.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society

Phi Theta Kappa is the national honor society of American community and junior colleges. BCC’s chapter is known as Beta Eta Phi. The purpose of this society is to recognize and encourage scholarship among community college students. Candidates are selected in the fall and spring of each academic year. They must be currently enrolled in a degree program at the College and have accumulated 24 or more BCC credits with a 3.5 or better cumulative average. Membership qualifies students to apply for special scholarships at many four-year institutions.

These area colleges and universities offer PTK scholarships to transfer students:

Boston University Mount Holyoke College
Bryant University Mount Ida College
Clark University Northeastern University
Endicott College Regis College
Harvard University Extension School Roger Williams University
Johnson & Wales University Smith College
Lasell College Suffolk University
Lesley College Wellesley College
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Western New England College

Planning an academic program

Length of program

Full-time students with appropriate high school credits can complete the requirements for an associate degree in two years. However, some students may need to make up deficiencies in certain areas. Others change their concentration or major or withdraw from one or more courses. Students who work may take fewer courses per semester. Any of these reasons may make it necessary for a student to spend more than four semesters at BCC. Courses may be taken in the summer for students who wish to shorten their time at BCC.

Changes of program

Students may change their program or areas of concentration by completing a change of program through the Enrollment Center or at the administrative offices at the other campuses.  A change of program will result in an update of academic requirements to the current academic catalog. Students changing their concentration within a program may retain their original catalog year.  International students attending BCC on an F-1 visa must receive approval for program changes from the Registrar’s office.

Grades already received in courses not applicable to the new program remain when computing the student’s G.P.A. on the permanent record. Students may request Academic Forgiveness (see page 140).

Transferring into certain programs, such as Culinary Arts, Clinical Laboratory Science, Complementary Healthcare, Dental Hygiene, Medical Assisting, Healthcare Information, Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Phlebotomy, Pre-Radiology Technology, and Therapeutic Massage may be limited by space available as well as by the competitive nature of these programs. Please refer to the description of the program of interest for additional information on admission requirements and the academic background of competitive applicants. All programs will be filled on a space-available basis.


Transferring from a certificate program

Students who complete a certificate program and who wish to enroll in a degree program must complete a change of program form available in the Enrollment Center and administrative offices at the New Bedford Campus and Attleboro Campus.

Transferring credits into BCC programs

Students who transfer into BCC from another regionally accredited college or university usually receive credit for courses that apply to their program with a grade of “C-” or better. Students may meet up to 34 credits of degree program requirements with credits transferred from another accredited college or university and/or credits earned through Prior Experiential Learning. 

To qualify for a BCC degree, a transfer student must complete at least 30 credits required at the College and fulfill graduation requirements in the selected curriculum. Exceptions may be granted by petition. For certificate programs, half the required credits must be earned at BCC.

To receive credit for courses taken at any other institution while enrolled at BCC, students must obtain approval in advance. Forms are available in the Enrollment Center. Completed forms should be accompanied by the catalog from the other institution. The student must arrange to have transcripts of approved courses sent to the Registrar’s office within six weeks of completing the course(s). 

VALOR Act Academic Credit Evaluation Policy

Students may also request to receive credit for military training and experience. In accordance with the Valor Act, Bristol Community College uses the ACE Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services as the primary method for evaluating and awarding academic credit for military occupation, training, experience, and coursework.  Any questions related to the transfer of military credits can be directed to the Registrar’s Office at 774.357.2240.

Active Duty Military Leave Policy

Bristol Community College will allow military personnel called to active duty (not to include National Guard or Reservist training) to withdraw from their courses without academic or financial penalty. Written or verbal notice of departure must be given to the Office of the Registrar or the Office of the Vice President of Students; however, a copy of the order to active service must be provided to either office noted above within three months of release from active service. Readmission to the matriculated program of study at the point of departure is guaranteed, provided the student returns within two semester of discharge from active duty. To maintain eligibility for all other benefits, the cumulative length of absences cannot exceed five years.

Earning a second degree from BCC

To qualify for a second associate degree, a student must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours beyond the first degree and meet all specific degree requirements of the second program. Students may earn one degree in an academic program of study. Students that have earned a degree in a program concentration cannot be awarded a second degree in the same program with a different concentration.


The Service-Learning program at BCC offers students a unique opportunity to combine classroom theory in any discipline with community practice in a non-profit agency and, at the same time, to develop a sense of social responsibility. While some community colleges require a minimum of 20 hours per service-learning experience over a semester, BCC requires a minimum of 10 hours.

Along with performing the service itself, students complete one or more reflective exercises chosen by their instructor to enhance understanding of course content, appreciation of the discipline, and sense of civic engagement. Some BCC faculty incorporate service-learning into their syllabi as a requirement; others offer it as an option.

If a student has a particular service-learning experience in mind but cannot find a course for it, s/he may be able to do it via Contract Learning. Many four-year colleges and universities require or strongly encourage service-learning, and prospective employers also look favorably on service-learning and other experiential learning activities.

Students who successfully complete service-learning will receive recognition of the activity on their academic transcripts by the notation “Service-Learning Component Course” following the course title and grade.

Commonwealth Honors Program

The Commonwealth Honors Program at BCC offers intellectually challenging experiences to highly motivated and gifted students in every discipline. It allows students to customize their experience in the Honors Program to their own individual needs and desires. The honors student works one-on-one with dedicated faculty members crafting intellectually stimulating experiences appropriate for the individual student. This independent work and the experience of one-on-one work with a faculty member will better prepare the honors student to continue his or her education at a four-year institution. The Honors Program also engages students in activities that will encourage them to become independent thinkers and lifelong learners.

Graduation requirements for Commonwealth Honors Scholars

To graduate with an associate degree as a Commonwealth Honors Scholar, a student must:

  • Meet all requirements for an associate degree in major/program.
  • Earn a minimum 3.5 cumulative G.P.A. while at BCC.
  • Earn a minimum of 30 credits completed at BCC.
  • Participate in a minimum of four honors experiences (10 honors credits), with a grade of at least “B.” These honors experiences could either be honors courses or honors component courses. At least two of these honors experiences (6 honors credits) must be taken at BCC.

In the honors credits, a student must:

  • Take at least one interdisciplinary honors course (3 credits), for honors-level students only.
  • Take a minimum of one writing-intensive honors experience (3 credits).
  • Complete an honors project (or possibly a thesis), directed by a faculty member, involving independent research.
  • This one-credit culminating experience could grow from one of the three honors experiences, but it does not have to follow that path. Students may be required to present their projects as part of an honors day seminar.
  • Earning credit outside the classroom

Cooperative Education

Cooperative Education combines classroom learning and work-based learning related to the student’s field of study. Students enroll in classes, work at their co-op jobs at least 15 hours per week, and earn 3 credits for their work. Students may also participate in co-op in the summer. To enroll in co-op, students must be at the sophomore level and participate in a weekly co-op seminar.

The Cooperative Education office will help students find appropriate positions. Those currently working in a job related to their program of study may apply to convert that job to a co-op work experience. Each co-op student and his/her faculty advisor and employer will develop a learning agreement with specific objectives to assess the student’s performance on co-op. This agreement will relate classroom theory and personal career goals to the co-op experience.

Contract Learning

For students who want to investigate personal academic interests or pursue more experimental methods of learning, the College offers a flexible credit format where students can create part of their own study program. Advisors work with the student to determine plans, identify appropriate resource people, and write a learning contract. The contract includes the student’s goals, how and when s/he intends to accomplish them, and how that work will be evaluated. The credits earned are determined by the work proposed and may not total more than one-eighth of total credit hours required for graduation.

Students register with the Enrollment Center. Tuition is based on the number of credits determined through the learning contract. Proposals must be signed by the student, the advisor, the appropriate divisional dean, and the associate vice president of Academic Affairs. Credit will be awarded only if approval is granted before the student starts the project.

Directed study

A directed study is an independent study or group study course, under the sponsorship of a faculty member, that meets the objectives of a regular course offering. If a required course or its equivalent is not available, directed study permits a matriculated student to enroll in a course needed to graduate or to complete a prerequisite for another required course. The Academic Affairs office may also approve other requests based on special student and/or programmatic needs.

A directed study course requires the approval of the instructor, the appropriate divisional dean, and the associate vice president of Academic Affairs. Credit for a directed study course is equivalent to credit for a regular course offering. Approval forms are available in the Enrollment Center. Students with approved directed study forms must register through the Enrollment Center. Tuition based on the number of credits approved will be charged at that time.

Link to the main site.