Associate Degree Program
We know choosing the next step after high school can be overwhelming. Maybe you’re not sure you’re ready for college. Or you want to pursue a degree but are facing barriers to achieving it—either academically or financially. No matter your path, Dominican’s associate degree program can offer the support you need to succeed.
This immersive experience minimizes the typical barriers to student success by allowing you to live, study and ultimately make an impact in the communities that matter most to you. You’ll earn a two-year associate degree with a career-focused concentration while you live and learn alongside a cohort of your fellow trailblazers in the vibrant Pilsen neighborhood. Upon graduation, you can transition seamlessly into our top-ranked bachelor’s degree programs or graduate ready for a career. Request more information.
- Live and study on-site in the Pilsen neighborhood in year one of the program.
- Immerse yourself in a career-focused curriculum that ensures you develop the skills employers seek.
- Choose from one of four career-focused concentrations: nursing assistant, cybersecurity, translation and interpretation or legal studies with no extra time added to your degree, so you’re ready to launch your career upon graduation.
- Be automatically admitted into our top-ranked bachelor’s degree program after graduation, if you choose to continue your studies.
- Experience the benefits of apartment-style living with everything you need in one location, including a shared kitchen and study spaces.
- Receive all the tools you need to succeed, including a laptop and UPass for convenient transportation.
- Study using free, open educational resources, eliminating the need for costly textbooks.
- Join a group of students who will move through the two-year program together, building a strong support system.
- Use the city as your campus, studying at locations throughout Pilsen and beyond to gain hands-on experience.
- Enjoy a flexible schedule with built-in breaks to allow time for you to manage your responsibilities outside the classroom.
- Take advantage of on-site wraparound support services, including advising, tutoring, career coaching, financial wellness and more.
- Access all the city’s amenities via the CTA Pink Line, which is steps away from campus.
A strong candidate will:
- Be a current or recent high school graduate
- Have a cumulative GPA of 2.3-2.74
- Live in or near Chicago’s South or West side
- Be affiliated with a community-based organization or one of our partners
- Examples include OneGoal, Bottomline, College Possible, Chicago Scholars, Cristo Rey Network, Noble Network, etc.
If you don’t meet all the criteria above, don’t worry. For more details and to see if you qualify, please request more information.
What You'll Learn
Dominican’s associate degree goes beyond typical two-year programs with a unique job-ready focus. Our curriculum, shaped with direct input from employers and community partners throughout the city, ensures you'll develop the skills you need to succeed.
Our program is cohort-based, which means you’ll join a community that will follow you through the same two-year experience, building a network of support that will last well beyond graduation. Together, you’ll study in small classes at our Resource Center in Pilsen, just steps away from your residence hall. As part of the program, you’ll receive all the resources you need to succeed, including a laptop. Our coursework leverages open educational resources, eliminating the need to purchase textbooks.
But learning isn’t contained to the classroom. You’ll use the city as your campus, studying at sites throughout Chicago on a set day each week, and gaining hands-on experience in fields of critical need. Your flexible course schedule includes built-in breaks to allow time for you to manage your outside responsibilities.
Upon graduation, you’ll be seamlessly accepted to our high-impact bachelor’s degree programs should you choose to continue your studies. Not interested in a bachelor’s degree? That’s OK, too. As part of the program, you’ll choose a concentration in one of four in-demand areas, including cybersecurity, nursing assistant, translation and interpretation or legal studies. Through specialized coursework and hands-on experiences, you’ll gain the skills you need to excel in your field of interest. Beyond credentials, Dominican also provides extensive career development and coaching, connecting you directly to Chicago employers so that you can find a job in your area of study.
Where You'll Live
In year one of the program, you’ll enjoy apartment-style living at La Casa Residence Hall. You and a roommate will share a floor with eight other students, building community in the shared study spaces and kitchen. Nearly everything you need, from laundry to academic support resources, is located on site. Plus, you’ll have access to a daily meal program on campus.
Just steps away from the CTA Pink Line, La Casa offers easy access to public transportation and extensive community amenities, including restaurants, entertainment, and cultural activities. As part of the program, you’ll receive a UPass to help you explore the city without additional out-of-pocket expenses.
In year two, you’ll have the ability to live wherever suits your lifestyle—at home, on your own or on our River Forest campus, with shuttle service to Pilsen provided.
This isn’t your traditional two-year program. Dominican’s associate degree program offers extensive support both in the classroom and beyond. Here, you’ll never walk alone. From academic counseling to career coaching, experienced, full-time faculty will craft a personalized success plan and support your progress—every step of the way. On-site resources extend well beyond your coursework and include help with basic needs (food, housing, and social service), technological assistance, financial wellness, mental health assistance and more.
Throughout the program, you’ll gain exposure to a wide variety of companies and have countless opportunities to network with Chicago’s top employers. We’ll make our connections your connections so that you graduate with an established network. You’ll also build critical thinking skills through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, uniquely preparing you for the job market.
And, through the cohort experience, you’ll form a lasting support system with students who share similar experiences and background. Nearly 50% of Dominican students are the first in their family to attend college and over 70% of undergraduates are students of color.
When you join Dominican, you join a community committed to your success. You won’t find this level of support at any community college.
This is so much more than an associate degree. It’s a pathway to your future. An invitation to a community—a family—who will help you chart your course while empowering you to create lasting change. It’s where you belong. Let’s get started.
Financing Your Degree
Recognized as the #1 Best Value School in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report, Dominican University is committed to making higher education accessible. Our associate degree is designed to be a low-cost, high-impact program for students with limited financial resources. Your net cost of attendance may be as low $5,200 after full MAP and Pell Grant eligibility. Your out-of-pocket costs will include the cost of your tuition, your room & board, a daily meal plan, laptop and UPass for convenient transportation around the city. Loans and payment plans are available to assist students in financing their education. Learn more about tuition and aid.