May 25, 2022  
2016-2017 College Catalog 
2016-2017 College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Program Information

Student Outcomes Assessment Requirements

It is Th­omas Nelson’s responsibility to measure the effectiveness of academic services, which makes it necessary for students to take part in assessment activities such as exit interviews, surveys, license examinations, prepare portfolios, or complete an activity that demonstrates the achievement of program and/or general education competencies. In some instances, the College may select a group of students to participate in an assessment activity, while others may be assessed as part of course requirements. Assessment information becomes part of the institution’s requirement for graduation; all information remains confidential and may only be used by the College for the purpose of institutional improvement.

General Education Requirements

General education is a required component of all degree programs and selected certificate programs at ­Thomas Nelson. General education requirements address the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values characteristic of educated persons. ­They are unbound by disciplines and honor the connections among bodies of knowledge. ­Thomas Nelson degree graduates will demonstrate competency in the following general education areas:

Communication: A competent communicator can interact with others using all forms of communication, resulting in understanding and being understood. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • understand and interpret complex materials
  • assimilate, organize, develop, and present an idea formally and informally
  • use Standard English
  • use appropriate verbal and non-verbal responses in interpersonal relations and group discussions
  • use listening skills
  • recognize the role of culture in communication

Critical Thinking: A competent critical thinker evaluates evidence carefully and applies reasoning to decide what to believe and how to act. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • discriminate among degrees of credibility, accuracy, and reliability of inferences drawn from given data
  • recognize parallels, assumptions, or presuppositions in any given source of information
  • evaluate the strengths and relevance of arguments on a particular question or issue
  • weigh evidence and decide if generalizations or conclusions based on the given data are warranted
  • determine whether certain conclusions or consequences are supported by the information provided
  • use problem solving skills

Cultural and Social Understanding: A culturally and socially competent person possesses an awareness, understanding and appreciation of the inter connectedness of the social and cultural dimensions within and across local, regional, state, national, and global communities. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • assess the impact that social institutions have on individuals and culture-past, present, and future
  • describe their own as well as others’ personal ethical systems and values within social institutions
  • recognize the impact that arts and humanities have upon individuals and cultures
  • recognize the role of language in social and cultural contexts
  • recognize the interdependence of distinctive world-wide social, economic, geo-political, and cultural systems

Information Literacy: A person who is competent in information literacy recognizes when information is needed and has the ability to locate, evaluate, and use it effectively. (Adapted from the American Library Association definition.) Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • determine the nature and extent of the information needed
  • access needed information effectively and efficiently
  • evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into his or her knowledge base
  • use information effectively, individually or as a member of a group, to accomplish a specific purpose
  • understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and use information ethically and legally

Personal Development: An individual engaged in personal development strives for physical well-being and emotional maturity. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • develop and/or refine personal wellness goals
  • develop and/or enhance the knowledge, skills, and understanding to make informed academic, social, personal, career, and interpersonal decisions

Quantitative Reasoning: A person who is competent in quantitative reasoning possesses the skills and knowledge necessary to apply the use of logic, numbers, and mathematics to deal effectively with common problems and issues. A person who is quantitatively literate can use numerical, geometric, and measurement data and concepts, mathematical skills, and principles of mathematical reasoning to draw logical conclusions and to make well-reasoned decisions. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • use logical and mathematical reasoning within the context of various disciplines
  • interpret and use mathematical formulas
  • interpret mathematical models such as graphs, tables and schematics and draw inferences from them
  • use graphical, symbolic, and numerical methods to analyze, organize, and interpret data
  • estimate and consider answers to mathematical problems in order to determine reasonableness
  • represent mathematical information numerically, symbolically, and visually using graphs and charts

Scientific Reasoning: A person who is competent in scientific reasoning adheres to a self-correcting system of inquiry (the scientific method) and relies on empirical evidence to describe, understand, predict, and control natural phenomena. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • generate an empirically evidenced and logical argument
  • distinguish a scientific argument from a non-scientific argument
  • reason by deduction, induction, and analogy
  • distinguish between causal and correlational relationships
  • recognize methods of inquiry that lead to scientific knowledge

In selecting courses to meet the general education requirements, students are expected to follow the curriculum outline for their major. While general education courses other than those designed specifically for transfer may be used to meet portions of the general education requirements, principles published by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges require that general education courses be general in nature and not “…narrowly focused on those skills, techniques, and procedures peculiar to a particular occupation or profession.” Credits transferred into Thomas Nelson from another institution may be used to satisfy these requirements, but students should request a transcript evaluation to determine which courses may be applied. With careful planning, some general education courses may also meet prerequisites for courses in the major. Students are advised to consult a Thomas Nelson advisor or counselor and appropriate transfer guides to ensure that selected courses will meet Thomas Nelson’s and the transfer institution’s requirements.

The following list is provided as a guide to planning and is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of Thomas Nelson courses that students may use to meet general education requirements in the associate’s degree programs. For the purposes of transfer, the list includes courses most commonly accepted to meet core requirements at public four-year institutions. While transfer students who complete the associate’s degree can expect to have met their lower-level general education requirements at the four-year institution, transcripts for transfer students who do not complete the associate’s degree are reviewed by the receiving institution on a course-by-course basis. Not all courses listed below will meet core requirements at all four-year institutions, but students may receive elective credit.

Although not intended for transfer, several of the College’s applied degree programs may be transferred to four-year institutions based upon guaranteed admissions and articulation agreements. Students should consult with their advisor early in the program to ensure optimal transferability of their courses.


Course Requirements for The Major

AA/AS Degrees:

In selecting courses, students are expected to follow the curriculum outline for their major and specialization. Students who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university are urged to acquaint themselves with the requirements of the institution and major department to which they intend to transfer. With careful planning, students may be able to meet both general education requirements and prerequisites for the major with the same course(s), allowing greater flexibility in selecting electives. Students should consult their advisor or counselor to select courses most appropriate for their curriculum. Many Thomas Nelson courses are transferable as general electives even if they do not fulfill core requirements.

AAA/AAS Degrees and Certificates:

In selecting courses, students are expected to follow the curriculum outline for their major and specialization. Where appropriate, students may select courses from lists of approved courses provided by their division office to meet requirements in the major. AAS/AAA degrees generally are not designed for transfer, but students can increase the transferability of selected applied degree programs by substituting transfer courses where appropriate to meet program requirements.

General Electives

In addition to general education and courses required for their major, students may also have the opportunity to enroll in a credit course as a general elective. The curriculum outline for each program lists specific courses students must take to complete the degree or certificate, and most programs limit student choice to lists of approved courses. Some programs, however, may provide flexibility for students to select any credit course at the 100- or 200-level in which they have an interest. Transfer students are advised to consult a Thomas Nelson advisor or counselor and the transfer institution’s transfer guide to determine transferability of elective courses

Course Prerequisites

Students must successfully complete some courses before enrolling in others. These prerequisites are listed in each semester’s Thomas Nelson Schedule of Classes and may include developmental courses identified through the College’s Placement Testing Program. The College reserves the right to withdraw students from courses in which they have enrolled without successfully completing the appropriate prerequisites.

Course Co-Requisites

A co-requisite is a course that must be taken simultaneously with another course, unless the student has already completed it successfully. Co-requisites are listed in the Thomas Nelson Schedule of Classes and may include developmental courses identified through the college’s Placement Testing Program. The College reserves the right to withdraw students from courses if they are not also enrolled in the co-requisite course or have not completed it successfully.

State Policy On Transfer

The Joint Committee on Transfer recommended a statewide policy to facilitate transfer between state supported community colleges and senior colleges and universities. The State Policy on Transfer provides a mechanism for community college students to transfer to a four-year institution. Although community colleges typically recommend that students complete the associate degree prior to transfer, many students choose to transfer before graduating. A certificate of general education was adopted by the committee that provides a recommended program of study for students who begin at the community college without a clear sense of their future educational goals, assists students in planning a rigorous and well-rounded program of study prior to transfer, and provides them with certain guarantees about the acceptability of courses in this program of study.

Articulation Agreements

Thomas Nelson Community College is a member of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). Both the College and the VCCS have entered into articulation agreements with many of the four-year colleges and universities in Virginia. These agreements are developed jointly by representatives from the College or the VCCS and the four-year institutions. The articulation agreements list the appropriate courses to take at Thomas Nelson that will transfer to the four-year college towards completion of the bachelor’s degree.

Through a system-wide negotiated agreement, students who graduate from a Virginia Community College with an Associate of Science or Associate of Arts degree, the minimum grade point average, and any specified courses as listed in the agreement are guaranteed admission to many of the Commonwealth’s colleges and universities. A complete listing of guaranteed admissions agreements can be found on the VCCS website at

Thomas Nelson also has a number of articulation agreements with Old Dominion University, including agreements for the Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology with General Education Certificate to Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology and the Associate of Science in Electronics Technology (Electrical Engineering Technology specialization) with General Education Certificate to Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology: Electrical Systems Technology.

Thomas Nelson also has a program that allows students to co-enroll at the College of William and Mary. For information on this and other transfer agreements, please contact the Academic Planning and Transfer Center in Griffin Hall, Room 201K, or visit their website at

In addition to contacting the Academic Planning and Transfer Center, students who plan to transfer are strongly advised to contact the four year institution to verify current information concerning academic program and transferability of courses. Students are encouraged to utilize the four-year college’s transfer guide to assist with planning. Many transfer resources are available in the Academic Planning and Transfer Center in Griffin Hall, Room 201K. They may also be obtained from the senior institution, and most transfer resources are available online. Students may obtain additional information from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) web site at

Thomas Nelson Institution-Specific Agreements

Art Institute of Washington
Bellevue University
Cambridge College
Capella University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Hampton University–Nursing
James Madison University
Kaplan University
Norfolk State University
Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News
Old Dominion University
Radford University
Southern New Hampshire University
St. Leo University
Strayer University
University of Maryland University College
Victory University
Virginia State University
Virginia Tech – College of Engineering & College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

VCCS Institutions with Guaranteed Admission Agreements

Bluefield College
Christopher Newport University
College of William and Mary
ECPI University
Emory & Henry College
Ferrum College
George Mason University
George Washington University–Nursing
Hollins University
Liberty University
Longwood University
Lynchburg College
Mary Baldwin College
Norfolk State University
Old Dominion University
Radford University
Randolph College
Regent University
Regis University
Shenandoah University
St. Leo Univeristy
Strayer University
Sweet Briar College
Troy University
University of Mary Washington
University of Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia State University
Virginia Tech University
Virginia Union University
Virginia Wesleyan College
Western Governor’s University