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Associate Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies

Associate Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies

The AIS has become more attractive in recent years, because the degree is so flexible, yet focused. The AIS allows students to work with their advisor in creating a degree program that both fulfills graduation requirements and focuses on bringing multiple disciplines together to research a specific problem or area.Increasing your scope of learning just got a lot easier! The Associate Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies(AIS) allows students select two areas of concentration, based on individual interests, and academic and professional goals. Those wishing to use the AIS degree as a foundation for a bachelor's degree oftentimes select concentration areas based on what they wish to pursue at the bachelor's level.

Areas of emphasis include: Arts, Humanities, Science, Business, Education, Technology, Health, Social and Behavioral Science, Organization and Communication of Ideas, and Social Justice and Equity Studies.

The first step in beginning your associate degree is the application process, which is outlined below. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at learn.online@wku.edu.

  • Apply for admission 
  • Submit Required Materials:
    • Beginning Freshmen: An official high school transcript (no faxed transcripts accepted) and ACT or SAT scores. Students over the age of 21 may substitute the ACCUPLACER for ACT/SAT.
    • Transfer Students: Send your official transcripts from each college attended to Undergraduate Admissions. You may request electronic transcripts through the National Student Clearinghouse. This speeds up the admissions process considerably. If your school is not listed with the Clearinghouse, please contact them directly to see if they have another process in place for electronic submissions or request that an official copy be sent by mail. Transfer students with fewer than 24 semester hours of college credit earned, must also submit high school transcript and ACT or SAT scores.

To Apply to WKU:

Complete the WKU Domestic and International Undergraduate Application

Under Planned Course of Study Section, Choose:

  1. Category of Study >>> Associate Degree
  2. Planned Course of Study >>> Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS)
  3. Concentration >>> Select your concentration 
  4. Primary Location >>> Web (online)

Admission Application Deadlines:

Kentucky and Out-of-State Residents

  • Fall Semester: August 1
  • Spring Semester: January 1
  • Summer Term: May 1

International Students

  • Fall Semester: April 1
  • Spring Semester: September 1
  • Summer Term: March 1

The Associate’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies requires completion of 60 credit hours (21 hours of general education/colonnade requirements; 27 hours distributed among two areas of emphasis; 12 hours of electives, which may be applied to earning an undergraduate certificate or can be completed with general electives). A minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average is required for graduation. AIS degree candidates must fill out a degree program, which serves as an agreement between the University and the student regarding the course requirements for the AIS degree, and is valid for five years from the date approved by the college dean. Once the form is complete, students may email it directly to the AIS advisor, Merrall Price at merrall.price@wku.edu.

Students who have previously earned 60 hours of credit with a 2.0 cumulative grade point average or above in all higher education course work completed at Western Kentucky University and have met all other requirements for the degree, may apply as candidates for the AIS Degree. If, upon evaluation of their transcripts, such students meet all the requirements for the degree, the degree will be awarded at the next graduation ceremony.

Academic Requirements:

General Education for AIS Students Starting 
Prior to Fall 2014


Colonnade Program for AIS Degree Starting           
Fall 2014 or After


Cat. A1: Organization Communication of Ideas
ENG 100: Freshman English
Approved category A1 elective


College Composition (WC)
Oral and Written composition must be represented
ENG 100: Freshman English and
COMM 145 or other approved course


Cat. B: Humanities
Any class from Category BI or BII


Arts and Humanities (AH)
Literary Studies (ENG 200 or approved course) 
and An approved course from AH Explorations list


Cat. C: Social and Behavioral Sciences
Two classes from Category C


Social and Behavioral Sciences (SB)
World History (HIST 101 or HIST 102)
and An approved course from SB Explorations list


Cat. D: Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Any class from Category DI or DII (Science or Math)


Quantitative Reasoning (QR) or 
Natural & Physical Sciences
MATH 109/116 OR other approved course OR
approved Natural & Physical Science course


Category E: World Cultures
Approved Category E elective




Total Hours Required General Education Program
applicable to students starting prior to Fall 2014


Total Hours Required for Colonnade Program 
applicable to students starting Fall 2014 or after



Students who are ready to plan their degree program should refer to wku.edu/online/online-classes.php for more information regarding the General Education/Colonnade program. The schedule of classes is also accessible from that page, and allows students to see past, current and upcoming course offerings.

The AIS program allows great customization of the degree based on each student's academic and professional goals, and personal interests. Students must select two areas of emphasis from the list of approved categories. An overall total of 27 credit hours is required, with a minimum of 9 hours in each of the two selected concentrations. Additionally, students must complete 12 credit hours of electives, which may be strategically selected to build upon the student's goals and objectives.

AIS Degree: Approved Areas of Emphasis


Organization and Communication of Ideas




Social and Behavioral Science


Social Justice and Equity Studies



In addition to the 21 hours of general education/colonnade requirements, and 27 hours in concentration areas, students are required to complete 12 hours of electives. Electives can be selected from any college level course. Students may use elective hours to further build their expertise in a specific area by earning an undergraduate certificate or to explore areas of interest. 

Please note the following additional information:

  • The AIS cannot be filed as a second degree program; as a result, students applying for concurrent or secondary associate's degrees must file the AIS as their primary degree program.
  • Developmental courses do NOT count toward the total number of hours earned.



Financial Aid includes grants and loans for educational purposes. The government requires the student to file a form online to the government agency for this purpose which is called FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov  to apply. Once that form is completed and filed, the student will receive an email from WKU about the status. All financial aid comes through the WKU Student Financial Aid office and they communicate mostly through email. The email will explain all the grants and/or loans that are available to the student and how to receive the money.

Nearly all students are eligible for some form of financial assistance. In fact, over 90% of the students who applied for financial aid in recent years received an award offer. Every effort is made to assist you and your family in obtaining the resources necessary to meet the difference between the total cost of attending Western Kentucky University and your ability to contribute toward your education.

If you would like to apply for financial assistance (loans, grants, scholarships, veteran's benefits) the first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov. Please refer to the Financial Aid Guide for additional information and complete instructions.

Please keep in mind, student must maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue to qualify for financial aid. For additional information on receiving, and keeping your financial aid, please refer to the WKU Financial Aid website to review the complete policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress at wku.edu/financialaid/sap.php.

Eligibility for On Demand Courses

On Demand courses may also be covered by financial aid if the student has met basic eligibility requirements and has a current FAFSA on file. Students must fill out an On Demand Agreement found on the WKU Financial Assistance website. Students receiving financial aid must complete their course(s) in the current semester. For more information please contact the Student Financial Assistance office at (270) 745-2755.

Veterans and Active Military

All college courses offered by On Demand have been approved for veterans and other persons eligible under the provisions of the GI Bill. Each student must assume the responsibility for submitting the proper forms to assure payment of appropriate entitlements. Please contact the Veterans Coordinator in Student Financial Assistance.

Department Contact, Merral Price:

Program Advisor: Dr. Merrall Price
Email: merrall.price@wku.edu

WKU Online:

Online Program Services
 (270) 745-5173
Email: learn.online@wku.edu

For more information about this program, fill out the form below.


2012 AIS Graduate

"I chose social and behavioral sciences as one of my concentrations, because I knew that I eventually wanted to pursue a bachelor's in sociology, but I also wanted to earn something on my way to a bachelor's, because I needed a better job. So, this degree was perfect for me! I loved the classes, and the flexibility it gave me to earn my associate's entirely online."


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 Last Modified 1/10/20