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    Jun 21, 2024  
2024-25 Academic Catalog 
2024-25 Academic Catalog

Educational Information

General Education

General education, as an integrated and cohesive whole, provides the educational foundation necessary to promote intellectual and personal development. Upon completion of the associate degree, graduates of Virginia’s Community Colleges will demonstrate competency in the following core competencies:

Core Competency 1

Civic Engagement is the ability to contribute to the civic life and well-being of local, national, and global communities as both a social responsibility and a life-long learning process. Degree graduates will demonstrate the knowledge and civic values necessary to become informed and contributing participants in a democratic society.

Core Competency 2

Critical Thinking is the ability to use information, ideas, and arguments from relevant perspectives to make sense of complex issues and solve problems. Degree graduates will locate, evaluate, interpret, and combine information to reach well-reasoned conclusions or solutions.

Core Competency 3

Professional Readiness is the ability to work well with others and display situationally and culturally appropriate demeanor and behavior. Degree graduates will demonstrate skills important for a successful transition into the workplace and pursuit of further education.

Core Competency 4

Quantitative Literacy is the ability to perform accurate calculations, interpret quantitative information, apply and analyze relevant numerical data, and use results to support conclusions. Degree graduates will calculate, interpret, and use numerical and quantitative information in a variety of settings.

Core Competency 5

Scientific Literacy is the ability to apply the scientific method and related concepts and principles to make informed decisions and engage with issues related to the natural, physical, and social world. Degree graduates will recognize and know how to use the scientific method and evaluate empirical information.

Core Competency 6

Written Communication is the ability to develop, convey, and exchange ideas in writing, as appropriate to a given context and audience. Degree graduates will express themselves effectively in a variety of written forms.

Honors Program

The Laurel Ridge Community College Honors Program is designed to challenge and reward students who are intellectually motivated and academically able through opportunities for in-depth study and interaction with like-minded students. A student may obtain honors credit by earning credit in an honors section, by fulfilling the honors component in a regular course as specified by the course professor or by completing a special honors seminar. A grade of A or B is required in a course or seminar to earn honors credit. Faculty recommendation or approval is required for enrollment in an honors seminar.

Honors credit is noted on the student’s transcript for each course or seminar in which it is earned. Graduating students with a GPA of 3.2 or higher, who have earned honors credit in at least three courses plus one honors seminar (for a total of ten (10) credits) receive the title “Honors Program Scholar” which is designated on their transcript and diploma.

Developmental Studies

The college offers classes for students who are not ready for college-level english and/or math classes. The courses are now known as English Direct Enrollment (EDE) and Math Direct Enrollment (MDE).  The EDE and MDE courses are offered to meet the following needs:

  1. Prepare individuals for admission to college courses and programs,
  2. Assist students already pursuing coursework who are experiencing difficulties or want to improve their efficiency, and
  3. Provide an opportunity for individuals interested in improving their skills in particular areas but are not necessarily enrolled in a program.

Students can enroll in courses to meet these three types of needs both during the regular school year and during the summer term.

Instructional Delivery Methods and Modalities

Laurel Ridge Community College makes use of a variety of instructional modalities to meet student needs and support their success including in-person, synchronous online, asynchronous online, hybrid, and hyflex. Students should be advised that any course may require the use of a computer, computer labs, email, Internet, or other digital resources and support software, and these requirements are not necessarily in the course schedule. The enrollment and registration process is the same for all course modalities. 

Below are the instructional delivery modes at Laurel Ridge and their respective descriptions. 

Type of Course 



A course with face-to-face instruction which may be enhanced with technology. Note: Includes lectures, labs, practicums, clinicals, etc. 

Distance Learning Modalities 

Synchronous Online 

A course that requires students and instructors to meet online, via Zoom, on a regular and consistent schedule (e.g. Mondays 7-9 p.m.). 

Asynchronous Online 

A course in which all course content, interaction, and assessment occurs in the Learning Management System (LMS). 


A course that blends the delivery of instruction between online and face-to-face (some hours are spent in the classroom on a regular and predetermined schedule, with the rest being completed online).  


A course with flexible attendance options allowing students to choose one of three modalities for attendance: synchronous, asynchronous, or in-person. The face-to-face component of the course will take place at the location listed on the course schedule. Because students may elect to complete a Hyflex course entirely asynchronously, it is designed and carries the same expectations as a fully asynchronous course. 

Distance Learning

Distance learning offers Laurel Ridge Community College students a convenient way to earn college credit through online, hybrid, and hyflex courses where most of the instruction occurs when the students and faculty are not in the same place. Some courses may require attendance for on-campus labs or proctored testing; such requirements are noted in the class schedule. These interactive, web-based classes are designed for students who desire flexibility in their studies. 

Although distance learning courses may be more convenient, they are as rigorous as face-to-face courses and still require significant time investments. Distance learning courses require great responsibility, commitment, self-motivation, and discipline. Distance learners must have consistent and reliable access to a computer and Internet connection.

Students should expect to engage in distance learning through the Learning Management System (LMS). Within the LMS, students will have access to course documents, receive instruction, compose and submit assignments, take quizzes and tests, participate in group activities, discuss issues, and ask questions of the instructor and other students. Remote proctoring software and Zoom may also be required. Distance learning courses require students to have the computer knowledge and skills to: 

  • send and receive emails with attachments, 

  • conduct Internet searches, 

  • download information from the Internet to your computer,

  • recognize and use links, 

  • find, download, and install programs and plug-ins from safe sources, 

  • perform basic word processing, such as formatting, cutting and pasting, and inserting graphics, 

  • navigate effectively between two or more applications, 

  • scan for and remove computer viruses, 

  • utilize hardware such as a webcam and microphone. 

For more information about distance learning, please visit  

To help you be a more successful distance learning student, we strongly recommend you examine your learning preferences and technology-related skills before registering for an online or hybrid course. To see if distance learning is right for you, take som time to complete this free, Online Learning Readiness Self-Assessment

Minimum Requirements for Associate Degrees in the VCCS

General Education AA AS AFA AAA/AAS
  • Communications
6(a) 6(a) 6 3-6
  • Humanities/Fine Arts/Literature
6(c) 6(c) 3-9(b) 3-6
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences
6(d) 6(d) 3-9 3-6
  • Natural Sciences
4 4-8 4 0-6(e)
  • Mathematics
3 3-6 3 0-6(e)
  • Institutional Specific General Education Courses
5-6 5-6 0 0
Total for General Education 30-31 30-38 19-28 15(g)
Other Requirements for Associate Degrees        
  • Student Development
1-2 1-2 1-2 1-2
  • Transfer Core(f) (columns 1-3)
27-32 20-32 34-43  
  • Career/Technical Courses (column 4)
Total for Degree 60-63 60-63(h) 60-63 60-69(h)


(a) Each of the courses in communication must be in written communication.

(b) One course in humanities/fine arts for the Fine Arts major must be a literature course.

(c) Each of the two courses cannot be from the same discipline area (e.g. humanities).

(d) One course in social/behavioral sciences must be a history course and the second required course cannot be history.

(e) A total of 3-6 semester hours is required in either natural sciences and/or mathematics for the AAA and AAS.

(f) Transfer core includes additional general education and/or major courses.

(g) As specified above, degree programs must contain a minimum of 15 semester hours of general education as defined by SACSCOC.

(h) See Policy for exceptions to the total credits allowed.

Core Computer Competency Requirements


A minimum level of proficiency in the use of computers and various software applications is essential in today’s technological world. Therefore, Laurel Ridge Community College requires each degree-seeking student to demonstrate proficiency in using a Windows-based operating system, along with components of an integrated productivity software package, including word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentation and/or communication applications.


The majority of the College’s associate degrees require that students complete a computer course such as ITE 152 Introduction to Digital Literacy and Computer Applications CSC 110 Principles of Computer Science  or equivalent. In lieu of completing a basic computer proficiency course, students may demonstrate proficiency in the core computer competencies. Students who successfully demonstrate proficiency in using a Windows-based operating system along with word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentation, and communications applications may then select an appropriate elective to complete the required credit hours for their degree.

Computer Competency Testing

Laurel Ridge requires many degree-seeking students to demonstrate proficiency in computer operations and software applications. Students may take ITE 152 Introduction to Digital Literacy and Computer Applications CSC 110 Principles of Computer Science , or equivalent. Students may demonstrate proficiency in core computer competencies by passing each of the three sections of the IC3 Digital Literacy Certification (Computer Competency Certification Exam). The three sections cover topics in Computing Fundamentals, Key Applications, and Living Online. Each section requires the purchase of an exam voucher. In the event of a student not passing a section, the student is allowed not more than two retakes with the purchase of additional vouchers. There is a one-day waiting period required for the initial retake and a one-day waiting period for the second retake. Students should allow approximately three hours to complete all three exams.

Individuals seeking IC3 certification are required to take and pass all three IC3 exam sections. Each section must receive a passing score to achieve the Laurel Ridge Community College computer literacy requirement. If students don’t pass the exam or if they feel that they need to improve their computer skills, they must take a computer course.

However, after passing the IC3 exam, students neither earn college credit for exam certification nor fulfill computer competency requirements at transferring universities or colleges. Students who successfully demonstrate proficiency may then select an appropriate elective to complete the required credit hours for their degree.

Classification of Programs

Programs offered by the College may be classified both by their purpose and by the degree or certificate to which they lead. College-parallel transfer programs lead to an associate of arts (AA) degree or an associate of science (AS) degree, which are intended to prepare students for transfer to four-year baccalaureate programs.

Occupational-technical programs, intended to prepare students for specific occupations, lead to an associate of applied science (AAS) degree, a certificate (C), or a career studies certificate (CSC). Following completion of these programs, students may choose to enter the workforce or pursue additional education or training options.

The College reserves the right to withdraw program offerings if there is not sufficient demand or for other appropriate reasons.

Special Course Designations

Some courses in this catalog have special designations, to signal their status as transfer courses, or as courses only offered at partner sites, etc. The following is a key to those designations:

Passport/UCGS Courses

Transfer Virginia is an initiative run by the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV). The purpose of this initiative is to streamline the path from community college to senior institutions of higher education in Virginia. Through this work, the transferability and applicability of courses will be consistent for all students in the VCCS regardless of delivering campus or modality. A course designated as a Passport Course is guaranteed to transfer as an equivalent course at any public 4-year institution in Virginia.

The Uniform Certificate of General Studies (UCGS) is a one-year college program in which all courses are transferable and satisfy lower-division general education requirements at any Virginia public institution of higher education. The Passport is a component of the UCGS and is therefore a subset of courses in the UCGS.  Students are advised to take the UCGS course that best suits their intended program of study at the four-year institution. Courses that are on the UCGS Course Roster for the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) may be noted in the catalog.  

Dual Enrollment Only

Community Colleges in Virginia have contractual agreements with K-12 schools. For certain courses, the high school may offer a student the ability to receive high school credit as well as college credit. Such offerings are taught by approved high school teachers who meet Virginia Community College faculty credential requirements and are qualified by the college to teach courses.  The dual enrollment courses are supervised by the local community college. In some instances, there are courses in our catalog that are currently taught only at the high school. These are listed as Dual Enrollment Only.