What is a College Degree?

This refers to a qualification bestowed upon a student by an academic institution on completion of the program the student registered for. A degree opens the door to diverse career paths and a wide range of opportunities. Some students may get confused about how a degree is different from a major. They should know that they’ll be awarded a degree on completion of all the requirements for graduation, while a major is the more specific field of study they had focused on while completing their degree.

Degrees are classified both by the level of study and discipline. In terms of degree levels, students can take their pick from associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. They often choose these degrees, one after the other, over the course of several years.

Here’s a synopsis of four different types of degrees:

Associate Degrees

These are awarded at the end of 2-year schooling programs that get students ready either for entry-level jobs in different fields or for transferring them to a 4-year university or college.

A student can choose from an Associate of Arts degree, which offers basic education in the liberal arts, including courses like English literature, history, etc. With an Associate of Science degree, a student would get the academic foundation for science fields. Such a degree is typically a transferable degree, instead of being one that prepares the student outright for an immediate career.

Associate of Applied Science degrees are created for students who wish to enter the workforce right away. These degrees offer specializations or have particular areas of focus to provide students with a more in-depth education in their chosen field.

Bachelor’s Degrees

These are awarded at the end of 4-year undergraduate studies in colleges and universities. Compared to an associate degree, these degrees offer more in-depth and intensive knowledge of a field to give a well-rounded education to the students.

According to The College Board, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) are the most common bachelor’s degrees. Other degrees on offer are the Bachelor of Fine Arts Arts (BFA) and Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degrees.

Master’s Degrees

Graduate schools award these degrees like Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Fine Arts, and Master of Business Administration, which typically take two years to complete for full-time students.

Doctoral Degrees

These are the most prestigious and highest form of degree, which prepare students to be the top experts in their chosen fields and often take 6-7 years or more to accomplish.

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