Academic Programs & Course Expectations

Who Administers NECC’s Associate Degrees and Certificates?

Under the leadership of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, programs of study at Northern Essex Community College are offered through the cooperative efforts of  five Academic Centers,  each directed by a Dean. These Five Centers administer the associate degree and certificate programs of study: The Center for Business and Accounting, Center for Health Professions, Center for Liberal Arts, Center for Professional Studies, and the Center for STEM. The sixth area, the Student Success Hub, is a multi-purpose, service-oriented student services and academic area that assists students to assess and improve academic skills.

What type of academic programs does NECC offer?

Northern Essex Community College offers a variety of academic programs leading to the attainment of an Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science or Associate of Science Degree. Associate degree programs carry a minimum of 60 credits and follow a required or recommended sequence of courses. These programs are carefully designed to develop the knowledge, skill, abilities and appreciation that the College has determined essential to receive degree status. Students intending to continue their studies are encouraged to review specific college requirements with their advisors to obtain highest transfer-ability of the NECC coursework.

What are NECC's Core Academic Skills that graduates are required to attain?

Communication: Public Presentation and Written Communication 

Students will develop and express ideas by applying the tools of discussion, debate, research and inquiry. They will demonstrate the capacity to listen, speak, read and write with increasing complexity and sophistication, attending both to purpose and to the diversity of audiences, and to communicate their ideas using appropriate oral, written, visual or technological means. 

Global Awareness

Students will develop an understanding of the diverse cultures, ways of thinking and historical traditions in today’s world. They will learn to use this knowledge to address increasingly interdependent global issues such as the environment and human rights.

Information Literacy

Students will learn to identify their information needs, then locate, evaluate, and appropriately integrate information to accomplish a specific purpose. Students will demonstrate the ability to use current technology as well as other research resources to successfully find, and then effectively communicate the information.

Quantitative Reasoning

Students will learn to interpret and manipulate quantitative information and apply mathematical concepts and skills to solve real-world problems.

Science and Technology

Students will learn to explain how science and technology influence each other and how both can be used to explore natural and human-created systems.

Please see the list of Core Academic Skills: Intensive Course Designations.

What degree options are available to NECC students?

Specific degree options within degree programs will recommend or require a minimum of either six courses or twenty credits as defined within the college catalog and will be included on the college transcript.

  • Transfer Associate Degree Programs: The primary transfer programs at Northern Essex are Liberal Arts, Business Transfer and Engineering Science. These programs are parallel to the first two years of similar programs in most public and private senior colleges throughout the country and provide a solid basis for transfer with advanced standing.
  • Career Associate Degree Programs: Career associate degree programs are intended to provide the theory and technical knowledge to develop the professional skills students need to qualify for entry into the job market immediately after graduation. Many of these programs include practicum experiences while others may be supplemented with cooperative education courses for on-the-job training. Individual courses within these programs may have transfer potential into related degrees at senior colleges. With some additional courses, students in career programs can and do go on to four year colleges or universities.

What certificate options are available to NECC students?

NECC certificates are awarded for an area of concentration that develops specific skills needed for immediate job entry into a career field/cluster or further study in a clearly identified area of specialization within a discipline. NECC awards two types of certificates.

  • Certificate (CT): The NECC Certificate is awarded for a 30 or more credit program.
  • Certificate of Completion (CC): The NECC Certificate of Completion is awarded for a 29 or less credit certificate program.

What curriculum plan or course requirement or expectations should students be aware of?

The plan of study for each associate degree or certificate program indicates all or some of the following:

  • Specific courses, by number and title, which must be completed and the sequence in which they must be completed.
  • Required types of courses, such as science, mathematics, humanities, social sciences, etc., which must be completed.
  • Elective opportunities (not otherwise limited by specific program requirements) where any course or courses for graduation credit can be chosen as long as the required number of credits to earn the degree is satisfied.

In order to meet the requirements for an Associates Degree (60+ credits), a student should complete an average of 15 credits each fall and spring semester. Since this is not possible for all students, the college defines a full-time student as one who is carrying a minimum of 12 credits in one semester. Many students take more than four semesters to complete their program requirements, including summer and January classes. Students, in consultation with advisors, are able to select courses and create their schedule during the registration period. If students are not able to take the courses in the order in which they are listed in the curriculum plan, students must be certain that they have fulfilled any stated prerequisites for courses that are selected out of sequence.

What content delivery expectations should students be aware of and prepared for?

View Credit Hour Policy.

All current and potential Northern Essex Community College students should be prepared to complete assignments, exams, and projects using a variety of computer technology formats for any course in which they are enrolled. As part of the learning experience, a faculty member may use technology to enhance his or her course. There are various formats that can be used:

  • Online: Completely online with no required meetings
  • Hybrid: Online with required on campus meetings
  • Web Meeting: Online with required online meeting times
  • Web Enhanced: On campus traditional class meeting with required web assignments 
  • Web Companion: On campus traditional class meeting with supplemental web assignments 

How is admission to career/criteria programs determined?

View Career Program Sequences.

Admission to career programs is competitive, as enrollments are limited. Qualified students who are not initially accepted to their program of choice are offered admission to the General Studies Degree. Students enroll in courses designated in the Career Program Sequence for the program for which they have applied. The courses are all applicable to the degree or certificate in which they seek to enroll. Career program faculty and/or Academic Advising staff advise these students. Qualified students are admitted to their program of choice when a vacancy occurs.

How long should it take to complete a program at NECC?

The sequence of courses in associate degree programs allows these programs to be completed in two years by full-time students. Many of our students design three to five-year plans or accelerate their progress by attending summer and/or evening classes. For more information see an advisor.

Updated: 2021-2022 Academic Catalog (Effective Fall 2021)