Types of Degrees in College: In this article, we will look at the various types of college degrees, such as associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and professional certificates.
Types of Degrees in College
Postsecondary students can choose from four major types of degrees. In order of complexity, these college degrees are: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
Depending on the level of the degree and the field of study, earning one of these degrees can take 2-8 years.
Prior to enrolling in a graduate-level university program, students may be required to complete one or more undergraduate programs.
Students can consider which program best fits their career goals and academic interests when comparing different degrees.
Keep in mind that all college degrees require a high school diploma as a prerequisite.
Types of College Degrees
There are four major degrees in college. They include:
Of the four major types of college degrees, an associate’s degree is generally the easiest to obtain.
Associate-level programs offer different degrees for a variety of careers.
These 2-year programs may provide the necessary training to prepare students for entry-level positions in fields like nursing, graphic design, and other vocational areas.
Associate degree programs are most commonly available from community colleges and technical schools.
Completing an associate degree program may qualify graduates to enter the workforce.
Transferable associate degree programs cover the general education requirements needed to continue a student’s education at a 4-year university.
What is a bachelor’s degree? A bachelor’s degree program is an undergraduate program that usually takes four years to complete.
Enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program requires that students choose a major area of study, such as finance, history, communications, or biology.
Graduates from a bachelor’s degree program are qualified to work in entry- or management-level positions, depending on the field.
A bachelor’s degree is also usually required for admittance into a graduate program.
The next education level in the degree hierarchy is the master’s degree. Master’s degree programs are graduate programs that let students specialize in an area of study.
They typically take 1-2 years to complete.
Along with an undergraduate degree, enrolling in a master’s degree program usually requires a minimum GPA and an acceptance score on a graduate entrance exam, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Many master’s degree programs require a thesis or capstone project for graduation.
Earning a master’s degree may qualify graduates to work in advanced or executive-level positions.
A master’s degree is also required for entrance into some doctoral programs.
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Doctoral degree programs, also known as PhD programs, are the highest college degrees.
Because doctoral degree programs are the most advanced type of degree program available, admission may require individuals to hold a master’s degree, though some programs accept candidates with only bachelor’s degrees.
Acceptance into these programs may also require the submission of standardized test scores and letters of recommendation.
A PhD program typically takes several years to complete and often includes the completion of a dissertation and a major research project.
During the final years of a medical-related doctoral program, students may be required to complete hands-on clinical hours with real patients.
When pursuing a doctorate, college selection is critical because funding and requirements can vary greatly.
PhD graduates are qualified to work as business or research experts, as well as postsecondary professors.
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