What are the Different Types of College Degrees?

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There are many different types of degrees that you can earn in college, but for the most part they can be described by a few basic categories.

Undergraduate Degrees

Undergraduate degrees include those that are Bachelor’s level and below. A Bachelor’s degree is a 4-year degree that is awarded at a college or university. Beneath the bachelor level are Associate’s degrees. The associate is a 2-year degree that is often awarded at community colleges and vocational schools. Many students earn a 2-year Associate’s degree at a community college, then transfer to a 4-year university and complete 2 more years to earn a Bachelor’s degree.

Types of Bachelor Degrees

Most Bachelor’s degrees fall into 2 main categories: the BS, or Bachelor of Science, and the BA, or Bachelor of Arts. Whether you earn a BS or BA is largely determined by the subject you choose to study. If you earn your degree in the liberal arts, it will be a BA. If you earn a degree in business, science, or technology, it will be a BS.

There also a number of other types of bachelor degree which include:

  • BASc – Bachelor of Applied Science
  • BArch – Bachelor of Architecture
  • BBA – Bachelor of Business Administration
  • BComm – Bachelor of Commerce
  • BCompSc – Bachelor of Computer Science
  • BD – Bachelor of Divinity (also the name of a postgraduate degree in some universities)
  • BDes – Bachelor of Design (Visual design dicipline)
  • BEd – Bachelor of Education
  • BEng or BE – Bachelor of Engineering
  • BFA – Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • BMath – Bachelor of Mathematics (also the name of a postgraduate degree in some universities)
  • BMus – Bachelor of Music (also the name of a postgraduate degree in some universities)
  • BPharm -Bachelor of Pharmacy
  • BTech – Bachelor of Technology
  • BSEE – Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • BSF – Bachelor of Science in Forestry
  • LLB – Bachelor of Laws (also the name of a postgraduate degree in some universities)

Graduate, or Post-Graduate Degrees

After a student has earn Bachelor’s degree, they are considered a graduate, and are eligible to earn graduate (also known as post-graduate) degrees. There are 2 main types of graduates degree: the Masters and the Doctorate.

Types of Master’s Degree

The less demanding type of graduate degree is the Master’s. Master’s degrees typically take 2-3 years to earn, while doctorate degrees usually take 4-7 years. As with bachelor degrees, there is an MA (Master of Arts) and MS (Master of Science). For most types of Bachelor’s degree listed above, you can also earn a masters. The only change in the name of the degree is that bachelor is changed to masters.

Types of Doctorate Degree

There are several types of doctoral degrees that are awarded for research and professional studies. The type generally associated with academics is the research doctorate. The types of research doctorate are:

  • The Ph.D or Doctor of Philosophy
  • Doctor of Engineering
  • Doctor of Education

Criteria for research doctorates various in different countries and academic institutions, but students are generally required to complete a unique research project and deliver a dissertation.

The type of doctorate degree associated with medical doctors, dentists, lawyers, and other health professionals is known as the Professional Doctorate. Types of this degree include:

  • Medicinae Doctor (MD)
  • Juris Doctor (JD)
  • Doctor of Chiropratic (CD)

To earn a professional doctorate, students are required to study for several years at profession specific school such as medical school or law school.

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