Irvine Valley College offers working students an after-hours pathway to a business degree

Irvine Valley College is launching a new degree program designed to work around the busy schedules of its working students.

First piloted in the fall, the school’s Weekend Pathways program is set to return in August, offering an associate degree in business administration in two years or less — along with guaranteed admission to a California State University campus.

Irvine Valley College students Julian Brito, Katrina Dagg and Omid Mohammadi

What makes the track especially unique, however, is that all of its classes will take place after hours, on Friday nights and weekends, to accommodate students with traditional Monday-through-Friday work schedules.

It’s a first for IVC, combining traditional, online and hybrid courses. Students will be able to take up to four classes a semester, most of them in accelerated eight-week modules, according to Traci Fahimi, IVC’s dean of social and behavioral sciences.

“I think we’ve got something that’s potentially really a great service to students,” Fahimi said.

IVC’s Office of Instruction began developing the Weekend Pathways program in 2015 to better serve the college’s population of working students.

While there aren’t exact numbers to determine the size of this group, data reported from roughly half of IVC’s students during registration suggests approximately 12 percent work full time and 41 percent hold part-time jobs. That adds up to thousands, given that the college serves more than 14,000 students a year.

“This program was based on an understanding of how many of our students work and juggle school,” Fahimi said. “We perceived there was an unmet need.”

She added that business degrees tend to be among the most popular. Those who complete the program will gain a strong academic foundation in business administration, and they’ll be prepared for upper division baccalaureate study.

They’ll also receive an associate degree in science for transfer, or AS-T, in business administration. This is a new kind of degree that ensures a seamless transition to the CSU system, where students will be able to complete their bachelor’s degree in just 120 units.

Courses set to be offered next year include Communication Fundamentals, Introduction to College Study Skills, College Writing 1, American Government, Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Principles of Economics.

Fahimi recently discussed the Weekend Pathways program with the Orange County Register, which published this Q&A. More information can be found at