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History of the Associate in Arts Program

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50 Years of Educational Excellence at Unparalleled Value


Five decades ago, the Delaware legislature asked the University of Delaware to establish a program in Southern Delaware that would offer the citizens of Sussex County access to four-year degrees without having to go to Newark. In 1966, the University and the State of Delaware established a partnership in the form of the University Parallel Program.

This program, housed on the Owens Campus of Delaware Technical & Community College but administered by the University of Delaware and staffed exclusively by UD faculty, opened its doors in 1967. The Parallel Program gave students in southern Delaware the opportunity to take their first two years of college in Georgetown at a substantially reduced tuition rate, after which they could relocate to the Newark campus to complete a four-year degree. By 1971, the Parallel Program had expanded to the DTCC campus in Wilmington, and by 1985 it had expanded to the Terry Campus in Dover. Now with three satellite campuses, the program offered a pathway to a four-year degree for students in Sussex, Kent, and New Castle counties. 

In 2005, the Parallel Program became the UD Associate in Arts Program (AAP). Although it is similar to the Parallel Program in many ways, the AAP provides additional key benefits. Like the Parallel Program, the AAP offers UD courses, taught exclusively by UD faculty, in small classes on Delaware Tech campuses throughout the state. However, students in the program now earn an associate's degree — an Associate in Arts degree in University Studies — after earning 60 credits in the core courses that are required of all UD undergrads. Once they earn this associate's degree, most students then choose to transition to UD's Newark campus to earn their bachelor's degree. 

The AAP is like a community college embedded within the broader University of Delaware organization. The program provides the foundation for a full bachelor’s degree sequence; this sequence just starts at a different location.

Nursing student

For students planning to major in education, the Georgetown and Wilmington AAP campuses offer the Elementary Teacher Education (ETE) program, which allows students to complete the BS.Ed. in four years. AA-ETE students begin their education courses and field experiences in their first semester, enabling them to apply what they learn from their coursework and to develop their skills with children immediately. 

Additionally, Georgetown's dual-admissions partnership with Beebe Healthcare's Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing in Lewes, Del., offers prospective nursing students the opportunity to simultaneously earn an Associate in Arts degree from UD and a diploma in professional nursing from Rollins, which is the only hospital-based nursing program in Delaware. ​This educational partnership, which commenced in the Fall 2017 semester, offers a pathway for southern Delaware students to pursue RN, BSN, and MSN degrees without ever needing to transition to the Newark campus. 

Note our choice of words: AAP students transition to the Newark campus, not transfer. AAP students are already ID-carrying UD students who may use the UD library, join student organizations, catch a Fightin' Blue Hens football game, study abroad, and do essentially everything else a UD student at the main campus can do. Our students have the best of both worlds in terms of campus resources, as they also have access to Delaware Tech libraries, bookstores, social clubs, and student government activities. 

More than 80 percent of first-year AAP students return for their second year, and more than 70 percent earn their associate's degree within three years. Nearly all transition to the main campus to earn their bachelor’s degrees.

As the program continues to grow, a quality University of Delaware education is now more accessible than ever. The faculty and staff of the AAP are proud to continue this tradition of educational success for students across the state.

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History of the Associate in Arts Program
  • Associate in Arts Program
  • UD Academic Center
  • 300 N. Orange St.
  • Wilmington, DE 19801
  • Phone: (302) 571-5395
  • Fax: (302) 657-5198