WHITTIER – Rio Hondo College will begin offering three new two-year associate degree programs in fall semester 2016, including one that brings a guarantee of admission to California State University (CSU) campuses.

The new courses of study are Associate of Arts in Social Work, an Associate of Arts in Dance and an Associate of Arts for Transfer in Economics.

“At Rio Hondo College, we are always looking for new ways to serve our students,” said Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss. “Part of that is an ongoing effort to increase the number of higher education paths students can pursue – options that now include social work, dance and economics.”

The economics degree, approved in August, is part of the growing system of two-year degrees for transfer, which guarantee students CSU admission to pursue further studies.

The California Community Colleges approved the social work degree in December 2015 and the dance degree in January. In both cases, Rio Hondo educators decided to offer a local AA degree because the college system hasn’t finalized the elements for a degree for transfer. However, the degree programs mirror the requirements of a degree for transfer.

For example, the social work curriculum will offer lower-division transfer courses for California State University majors in social work, sociology with an emphasis in social work, or human services. Five specific courses are required, including fieldwork in human services, statistics and introductory courses in psychology and sociology. An elective course must be taken from a list of more than a dozen options that include anthropology, administration of justice, child growth and development, critical thinking, history, abnormal psychology and social problems.

With the new degrees, Rio Hondo College now offers 50 two-year associate degree programs, 21 two-year associate degrees for transfer, a four-year Bachelor of Science in automotive technology and 60 certificate programs.

“We like to emphasize the “community” in community college,” said Board of Trustees President Mary Ann Pacheco. “That commitment is especially evident in how we structure our programs in response to student interests. Indeed, a social work degree not only serves our students, but it also serves our community.”