Bachelor's degree

Bachelor's degree

A bachelor's degree is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or major that generally lasts for three, four, or in some cases and countries, five or six years. It may also be the name of a postgraduate degree, such as a Bachelor of Civil Law, the Bachelor of Music, or the Bachelor of Philosophy.

Honours degrees and academic distinctions

Under the new British system, and those influenced by it, such as the American, Canadian, Irish, Jordanian, Indian, Malaysian, Maltese, Sri Lankan, Singaporean, Zimbabwean, and Hong Kong, undergraduate degrees are differentiated either as "pass degrees" or as "honours degrees", the latter sometimes denoted by the appearance of "(Hons)" after the degree abbreviation.Fact|date=January 2008 An honours degree generally requires a higher academic standard than a pass degree, and in Maltese, Singaporean, Australian, New Zealand, Scottish, Sri Lankan, South African, Malaysian and some Canadian universities an extra year of study. Previously in the UK Polytechnics, an honours degree took one more year of study than an ordinary degree. This applies in Scotland with ordinary MA and MA(Hons) degrees (which are the equivalent of English first (BA) degrees). In England now, most first degrees are assumed to be honours as Third Class honours are actually a relatively low standard. In Scotland there also exist "Designated Degrees". But other universities, such as MIT, do not make any such distinctions.


Depending on the province, a bachelor's degree takes either three or four years to complete. Traditionally, a three-year degree is also called a "pass degree" or "general degree", and a four-year degree is also called an "honours degree". In provinces that grant three-year bachelor's degrees, a student may choose to complete an additional year of studies to obtain a four-year honours degree.

Some Canadian universities no longer offer three-year pass degrees, and have started to grant four-year honours degrees exclusively. In general, obtaining a bachelor's honours degree requires completion of a number of full year credits, completion of one or more majors or a specialist program, and maintaining a grade point average above a certain minimum.

An honours bachelor's degree is generally a prerequisite for admission into graduate studies in Canada.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The degrees awarded carry a designation related to the broad subject area such as BA, BSc, BEng etc. The majority of Bachelor's degrees are now honours degrees. Prior to the mid 20th century some candidates (but not, for example, at Oxford or Cambridge) would take an Ordinary degree, and then be selected to go on for a final year for the Honours degree. A first degree course is usually three years, but it might be reduced to two either by direct second year entry (for people who have done foundation degrees or changed subject or similar) or by doing compressed courses (which are being piloted by several newer universities). [ [ "Two-year Honours Degrees Offered:] The 'fast-track' Degrees Will Be Piloted at Five Universities". "BBC News", April 18, 2006, accessed October 8, 2007: "Students in England can do honours degrees in two years, under new 'fast track' plans to save time and money."] . For funding reasons (funding for undergraduate programs is automatic, funding for postgraduate programs is not) it is becoming increasingly common to skip the Bachelor's stage entirely and go straight to Masters level on a four year (five year if with industrial experience) course (which often shares the first two years with the equivalent Bachelor's course).

"Honours degrees" are of a superior academic standard. However the practice of writing 'Hons' as part of the degree designation is untraditional and some consider it to be an affectation. An Honours degree is always awarded in one of four classes depending upon the marks gained in the final assessments and examinations. The top students are awarded a first class degree, the next best, an upper second class degree (usually referred to as a 2:1), the next a lower second class degree (usually referred to as a 2:2), and those with the lowest marks gain a third class degree. An "Ordinary" or "unclassified" degree (which does not give the graduate the right to add '(Hons)') may be awarded if a student has completed the full honours degree course but hasn't obtained the total required passes sufficient to merit a third-class honours degree. Alternatively a student may be denied honours if he/she has had to retake courses. An ordinary degree usually requires 300 CATS points whereas an honours degree requires 360 CATS points. It is possible to be awarded an ordinary degree with distinction if the average of the 300 CATS points is 70%+.

For a detailed explanation of the classification system see British undergraduate degree classification.

"Ordinary degrees" are unclassified degrees awarded to all students who have completed the course and obtained sufficient marks to pass the final assessments and examinations. Ordinary degree courses usually have lower entry requirements than Honours degree courses. Although Ordinary degree courses are often considered to be easier than Honours degree courses, this is not always the case, and much depends on the university attended and the subject being studied. Some modern universities offer the opportunity for Ordinary degree students to transfer to an Honours degree course in the same subject if an acceptable standard is reached after the first or second year of study.


At the four Ancient universities of Scotland (St Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen) and also at Dundee, undergraduate degrees are differentiated as either "Designated Degrees" or "Honours Degrees".

An Honours degree (( Master of Arts MA (Hons) for arts/social sciences or BSc (Hons) for sciences)) is awarded for students who have completed four years at university - two years at "sub-honours" level, studying a variety of different subjects, and two years at "honours" level studying one subject in depth, usually including a dissertation in the final year. Honours degrees are further subdivided in classes. These are first class, upper second class (2:1) and lower second class (2:2).

A "designated degree" (MA or BSc) is awarded to students who have completed three years at university studying a variety of related subjects. The first two years of both a "Designated Degree" and an "Honours Degree" are identical, but candidates for the "Designated Degree" study in less depth in their final year, and often over a wider variety of subjects. Candidates for the "Designated Degree" do not usually complete a dissertation. A Scottish "Designated Degree" is different from an English "Pass Degree" even though both are denoted "BSc" Bachelor of Science.

United States

Many U.S. universities and colleges award bachelor's degrees with latin honors -- usually (in ascending order) "cum laude" (with honor/praise), "magna cum laude" (with great honor/praise), the occasionally seen "maxima cum laude" (with maximal honor/praise), and "summa cum laude" (with highest honor/praise) -- degrees without honors are awarded "rite".Fact|date=April 2007 Requirements for such notations of honors generally include minimum Grade Point Averages (GPA), with the highest average required for the "summa" distinction. In the case of a few schools, a senior thesis for degrees in the humanities, and laboratory research for "natural science" (and, sometimes, "social science") degrees is also required. A notable exception is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which does not have a dean's list, Latin honors recognition, or undergraduate honors program or subjects.

Bachelors' degrees in the United States are typically designed to be completed in four years of full-time study, although some programs (such as engineering or architecture) usually take five, and some universities and colleges allow ambitious students (usually with the help of summer school and/or high school Advanced Placement courses) to complete them in as little as three years. Some U.S. colleges and universities have a separate academic track known as an "honors" or "scholars" program, generally offered to the top percentile of students (based on GPA), and offering more challenging courses or more individually-directed seminars or research projects in lieu of the standard core curriculum. The students are awarded the same bachelor's degree as students completing the standard curriculum, but with the notation "in cursu honorum" on the transcript and the diploma. Usually, the above Latin honors are separate from the notation for this honors course, but a student in the honors course generally must maintain grades at least worthy of the "cum laude" notation anyway.Fact|date=April 2007 Hence, a graduate might receive a diploma "Artium Baccalaureatum rite" or "Artium Baccalaureatum summa cum laude" in the regular course, or "Artium Baccalaureatum summa cum laude in cursu honorum", for instance.

If the student has completed the requirements for an "Honors" degree only in a particular discipline (e.g., English language and literature), the degree is designated accordingly (e.g., B.A. with Honors in English). In this case, the degree candidate will complete the normal curriculum for all subjects except the selected discipline ("English", in the preceding example). The requirements in either case usually require completion of particular Honors seminars, independent research at a level higher than usually required (often with greater personal supervision by faculty than usual), and a written Honors thesis in the major subject.

English-speaking world

New bachelor's degrees

The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge are perhaps alone in the United Kingdom today in awarding the B.A. for all undergraduate degrees. Almost all American universities award both B.A. and B.S. degrees, though a number of small liberal arts colleges award only the B.A. (e.g. Hamilton College). However, on a global scale, in many universities over the last hundred years the range of bachelor's degrees has expanded enormously, especially in Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa. This represents a move towards specialization in tertiary education, in which college or university in these countries is intended to be training for a specific career, and therefore akin to vocational education. It is a departure from the liberal arts approach common in the United States, in which the graduate is versed in a wide variety of subjects in addition to an academic major, with the intent they be well prepared to pursue any number of careers, or a progression of careers.

A full list of British degree abbreviations is also available.

BA, AB, BS, BSc, SB, ScB

Today, the most common undergraduate degrees given are the "Bachelor of Arts" ("Artium Baccalaureus") (BA, AB) and the "Bachelor of Science" ("Scientiæ Baccalaureus") (BS, BSc, SB, ScB). Originally, in the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Trinity College Dublin, all undergraduate degrees were in the Faculty of Arts, hence the degree of Bachelor of Arts.

In the Commonwealth most universities, since the late 19th century, have followed the practice of the University of London [page xiii of The University of London and the World of Learning, 1836-1986By Francis Michael Longstreth ThompsonPublished by Continuum International Publishing Group, 1990ISBN 9781852850326 ] in dividing undergraduate degree subjects, other than Law, Medicine and Engineering, into the two broad categories of arts and sciences; conferring the degree of Bachelor of Arts upon students of the former and admitting students of the latter to the degree of Bachelor of Science.

In the United States, many colleges (particularly liberal arts colleges) as well as universities award the Bachelor of Arts for all academic (non pre-professional) subjects. In these institutions, students studying academic subjects (English, chemistry, etc.) would receive a Bachelor of Arts, students studying for professions (police science, finance, nursing) would receive a Bachelor of Sciences.Fact|date=September 2008 Some schools award the Bachelor of Arts for the humanities and the Bachelor of Arts for both natural sciences and social sciences.Fact|date=September 2008 In some cases a student may choose between a B.A. course of study and a B.S. course of study in the same subject at the same college.Fact|date=September 2008

Two American civilian universities—the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)—as well as the five service academies (United States Military Academy, United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, United States Merchant Marine Academy and United States Coast Guard Academy) award the Bachelor of Science for all subjects, including in subjects that at other institutions would be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (such as literature).

BS, BA Econ, BEc, BSc(Econ)

The Bachelor of Economics is a degree awarded to students who have completed a course of study in the field of economics. Courses typically last three years, but may last as long as six.

BAI, BEng, BE, BSE, BIng, BESc, BASc,BTech, BSc(Eng)

The "Bachelor of Engineering" ("Baccalaureus in Arte Ingeniaria") degree or the "Bachelor of Applied Science" [] degree is a professional degree awarded to students who have completed the three or four year course of study in engineering. There are more specific variants for many subfields, such as the BSEE degree ("Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering"). The BAI is awarded by the University of Dublin (Trinity College Dublin). Some South African Universities refer to their Engineering degrees as BIng (Baccalaureus Ingeniaria) .


The Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) is an undergraduate degree in business management, accounting and economic fields. The degree is also known as the Bachelor of Commerce and Administration (BCA).


The "Bachelor of Science in" "Engineering Technology" degree is a professional degree awarded to students who have completed a four year course of study in engineering technology. There are variants including general engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology, electrical engineering technology and civil engineering technology. Some of these variants even have optional areas of concentration. For instance mechanical engineering technology could include mechanical systems design, manufacturing systems, marine engineering technology, among others.


The "Bachelor of Architecture" is a professional degree awarded to students who complete the five year course of study in the field.


The "Bachelor of Aviation" is awarded to students who complete a four year course of study in the field.


The Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration is awarded to students who complete the three to four years course of study in business administration, usually majoring in a specific field of business administration such as accounting, finance, marketing, management, management information systems, etc.


The Bachelor of Business Information Systems is a professionally orientated degree awarded after 4 years of study


The Bachelor of Divinity, Bachelor of Theology, Bachelor of Religious Studies, or Bachelor of Religious Education is awarded upon completion of a program of study of divinity or related disciplines, such as theology, religious studies, or religious education. In some universities it is a first degree, in others it is a higher degree. While it is generally conferred upon completion of a four-year program, it is also conferred in some specialized three-year programs. From there the next level of advancement is generally the Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, Master of Religious Studies, or Master of Religious Education.


The Bachelor of Design is awarded to those who complete the four years course of study in the Design, usually majoring in a specific field of Design.


The Bachelor of Fine Arts is a specialized degree awarded for courses of study in the fine and/or performing arts, frequently by an "arts school" or conservatory, although it is equally available at a significant number of traditional colleges and universities. In contrast to the B.A. or B.S., which are generally considered to be "academic" degrees, it is usually referred to as a "professional" degree, whose recipients have generally received four years of study and training in their major field, as compared to the two years of study in the major field usually found in most traditional Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science programs.


The Bachelor of Integrated Studies is an interdisciplinary bachelor's degree offered by several universities in the United States and Canada that allows students to design a customized and specific course of study to best suit their educational and professional objectives. Generally, this degree is sponsored by two or more departments within the university. Schools which confer the BIS degree include Pittsburg State University, Weber State University, Ferris State University, Arizona State University, University of Minnesota, and the University of New Brunswick, among others.


The "Bachelor of Journalism" degree is a professional degree awarded to students who have studied journalism at a four-year accredited university. Not all universities, however, grant this degree. In the United States, schools tend to offer the BA or BS with a major in Journalism instead.


The Bachelor of Kinesiology degree is an undergraduate degree in the field of human movement and kinetics. Some schools still offer it under the aegis of a School of Physical Education (BPE or BHPE), although "Kinesiology" or "Human Kinetics" is currently the more popular accepted term for the discipline.


The "Bachelor of Landscape Architecture" is awarded to students who complete the five year course of study in the field.


The "Bachelor of Liberal Arts", "Bachelor of General Studies", Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Bachelor of Science in General Studies or Bachelor of Applied Studies is sometimes awarded to students who major in the liberal arts, general, or interdisciplinary studies. The Bachelor of Professional Studies is awarded to students who major in professional career studies.


The title BMedSc is granted to students who have qualified in the field of Biomedical Science and Medical Science. Such universities that offer this course are the University of Birmingham in UK and UNSW, the University of Sydney, Flinders University, Griffith University, Monash University and the University of Melbourne in Australia. The degree of BMedSci may also be awarded to an individual who having followed the prescribed course of study for the degrees of MB ChB/MB BS does not complete their undergraduate clinical training. In brief, this is normally awarded having completed successfully the first three years of an undergraduate medical degree at certain UK medical institutions, examples include the University of Manchester.

BM or BMus

The Bachelor of Music degree is a professional or academic undergraduate degree in music at most conservatories in the U.S. It is also commonly awarded at schools of music in large private or public universities. Areas of study typically include music performance, music education, music composition, academic fields (music history/musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology), and may include jazz, commercial music, recording technology, sacred music/music ministry, or music business. Small liberal arts colleges and universities without schools of music often award only BAs in music, with different sets of requirements. (see also: "BFA")

BN, BNSc, BScN, BSN, BNurs

The Bachelor of Nursing Science (BNSc or BScN) or Bachelor of Nursing (BN) is a three-four year undergraduate degree that prepares students for a career in Nursing, subject to completion of exams in their area of residence to gain "registered nurse" status. Sometimes referred to as BSN - Bachelor of Science in Nursing.


The "Bachelor of Pharmacy" was the principal academic degree for the practice of pharmacy in the United states, however, most colleges of pharmacy have phased out the degree in favor of the PharmD also known as the "Doctor of Pharmacy" degree.


The "Bachelor of Philosophy" degree is either an undergraduate or graduate degree; generally, it entails independent research, or a thesis/capstone project.


The Bachelor of Science in psychology is a degree awarded to students who have completed a course of study in the field of psychology. Courses typically last three years, but may last as long as six.

BSE, BS in Ed

The "Bachelor of Science in Education" is a four-year undergraduate degree offered by many US colleges and universities for those preparing to be licensed as teachers. Variants include the BEd, BA Ed, BAT ("Bachelor of Arts for Teaching"), and BST. Preparatory to the MS in Ed, this degree is most often taken by those interested in early childhood, elementary level, and special education, or by those planning to be school administrators. Secondary level teachers -- for high school students -- often major in their subject area, as History or Chemistry or Mathematics, instead, with a minor in education.

BSc Ed

The Bachelor of Science and/with Education is a degree awarded to students who complete the four to five year course of study in the field of science (major and minor in biology, chemistry, physics, math) and Education, it is the combination of degree in science and education course(sometimes refer to double degree programs BSc + BEd = BSc Ed). Although notionally BSc and BEd are two degrees, they must be taken together.


The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology


The "Bachelor of Science in Public Health" is a four year undergraduate degree that prepares students for careers in the public, private, or non-profit sector in areas such as public health, environmental health, health administration, epidemiology, or health policy and planning.


The "Bachelor of Science in Law" is a special-purpose degree that allows someone who has some prior studies but not achieved a bachelor's degree, resume their education and pursue the study of law towards an eventual Juris Doctor degree.


The "Bachelor of Social Science" is a three or four year undergraduate British degree that enables students to specialize in the area of Social Science. Unlike the BA (Bachelor of Arts), the Bachelor of Social Science is often more respected as a degree more focused at the Social Sciences on the basis of compared to the Bachelor of Arts which allows students to study a vast range of disciplines, the Bachelor of Social Science enables students to develop more central and specialised knowledge, many universities place the Bachelor of Social Science between the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science undergraduate degrees.


Batchelor of Vererinary Medicine and Surgery.


The "Bachelor of Laws" is the principal academic degree in law in most common law countries other than the United States, where it has been replaced by the Juris Doctor degree.


There are many other specialised Bachelor's degrees offered. Some are in very specialised areas, like the five-year BID or BSID degree in industrial design. Others are offered only at a limited number of universities, such as Stanford University's BAS ("Bachelor of Arts and Sciences") degree for students completing two Arts and Sciences majors, one of which would ordinarily lead to the BA while the other would ordinarily lead to the BS, but who are receiving only one degree. At many institutions one can only complete a two-degree program if the bachelors degrees to be earned are of different types; e.g., one could earn a BA in philosophy and a BS ChE in chemical engineering simultaneously, but a person studying philosophy and English would receive only a single BA with the two majors. Rules on this vary considerably, however. The Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University has awarded Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) since its inception in 1919.

The University of Delaware offers a Bachelor's of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree for many majors within their school of Arts and Science. These degrees often indicate an interdisciplinary course of study. []

Asia Pacific

The education systems in Asian countries are largely patterned after the western models.


In Bangladesh, Universities and Colleges award three and four years degree in Science (B.S, B.Sc, BCS, BBA, BBIT ,B.COM etc.) and two to fours years degree in Arts (B.A, B.Com, etc.). Engineering Universities provided 4 years degree program for bachelor’s. Medical colleges have 5 year degree programme. In law education there is 3 years LLB degree after 2 years of BA, so total 5 years study. All of these programs begin after achieving Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC - in total 12 years of education).

Eligibility :50% 12th (science) / You can go for degree after diploma engineering(direct 2nd year intake)


Since the undergraduate education system inChinais modelled after American style, all the degrees are learnt from United States. Thus four years education is almost a standard length, although some private small colleges do offer 3 year programs, which cannot award a degree credentialed by education bureau. Normally, about 90% graduates can obtain a degree, however, no degree is awarded with excellency or honor.


In India, arts, commerce and science colleges provide three year bachelor's degrees (BA, BSc, BBA, BCom, etc.). Generally these programs are of three years duration and begin after secondary school year 12. After successful completion of these programs, a Bachelor's degree is awarded by the respective university to which the college is affiliated.

Engineering and medical colleges provide 4 to 5 years degree programs for bachelor's degree (BE, BArch, BTech, MBBS) that also begin after secondary school year 12(also called +2). The Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree program is of 5 years duration.

Eligibility :50% 12th (science) / You can go for degree after diploma engineering(direct 2nd year intake)


Institutes of higher learning in Japan provide four years of college education leading to a bachelor's degree which is referred to as "gakushi (学士)", e.g., Gakushi in Economics. Some institutes offer six-year programs leading to a professional degree.


Institutes of higher learning in Malaysia provides a three & four years of education leading to a B.Sc Hons Degree. There are also twinning programme with Australian and UK universities.


In Pakistan, arts, commerce and science colleges provide four year bachelor's degrees (BA, BSc, BBA, BCom, etc.). Generally these programs are of four years duration and begin after secondary school year 12. After successful completion of these programs, a Bachelor's degree is awarded by the respective university to which the college is affiliated.

Engineering and medical colleges provide 4 and 5 year degree programs respectively for bachelor's degree (BE, BArch, BTech begin after 3 year Diploma of Associate Engineer, MBBS) that also begin after secondary school year 12. BTech(Hon's) degree is at par and compatible to BE/BSc Engineering. The Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree program is of 5 years duration


In the Philippines, where the term "course" is commonly used to refer to a bachelor's degree, several undergraduate categories exist - the two most common degrees awarded being Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (AB or BA). Specializations ("majors") in economics, business administration, radiologic technology, nursing, architecture and engineering fall under Science in most colleges and universities. The latter two specializations require five years of schooling, in contrast to the standard of four years. Other common degrees are Bachelor in Education (BEd), and Bachelor of Laws (LLB, a graduate degree). Being patterned after the United States, all universities and colleges offer graduation with honors - cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude.


Bachelor's degrees exist in almost every country in Europe. However, these degrees were only recently introduced in some Continental European countries, where Bachelor's degrees were unknown before the Bologna process.


The historical situation in Austria is very similar to the situation in Germany. The traditional first degrees are also the "Magister" and the "Diplom". A new educational legislation in 2002 reintroduced the Bachelors degree (awarded after three years) also in Austria.


Since the new European system Bologna process, the 3 years Bachelor cursus replaces the old 3 years grad school which was called "graduat" or the old 2 or 3 years "candidatures" which prepare for university diploma.


The Bachelor degree was re-introduced at universities in Denmark in 1993, after the original degree baccalaureus was abandoned in 1775. The bachelor degree is awarded after 3 or 4 years of study at a university, and follows a scheme much similar to the British one. Two bachelor degrees are used at university level today:
* "Bachelor of Science" ("BSc"), awarded to students with main focus on scientific, medical or technical areas.
* "Bachelor of Arts" ("BA"), awarded to students with main focus on humanistic, theological or jurisprudence areas.

The bachelor degree has also been used since the late 1990s in a number of areas like nursing and teaching. Usually referred to as a "profession-bachelor" these degrees usually requires 4 years of study at a college. These bachelor degrees do not grant automatic access to a university master's program, as opposed to the traditional bachelor degrees awarded by universities.


The traditional bachelor's degree is the equivalent of the French "Licence" 3 years degree. Since the new European system of 2004 "LMD" Bologna process there are universities the Bachelor 3-years, 2 years for the Master and 3 or more years for the Doctorat.


Bachelor's degrees, called "Bakkalaureus", originally existed in Germany, but were abolished up until 1820 as part of educational reforms at this time. The Magister degree, originally a graduate degree, became the new first degree after five years of study. In 1899 a second first degree, the Diplom, was introduced when the "Technische Hochschulen" received university status.

However, in 1998 a new educational legislation reintroduced the Bachelor's degree (first degree after 3 years of study) in Germany. Today these degrees can be called either "Bakkalaureus" or "Bachelor" (in accordance with federal law) but the English term is more common. The traditional degrees will be abolished by 2010.


Since the Bologna Process the old Italian five years laurea system is no longer in use. The BA level corresponds today to the "Laurea" (its name has been "Laurea Triennale" for a short time after reform), which has a normative time to completion of three years (notice that in Italy students graduate from high school at the age of 19) and grants the access to postgraduate degrees (the equivalent of Master Degree being "Laurea Magistrale", even though its name after reform has been "Laurea Specialistica" for a short time). In order to graduate, students must complete 180 credits and write a thesis. Graduation marks go from 66 to 110 (for some important Universities such as Polytechnics the maximum mark awarded is 100). According to each faculty internal ruling a "lode" (distinction) may be assigned to candidates with a 110/110 mark for recognition of the excellence of the thesis. BA/BSc and MA/MSc graduates in Italy are addressed as "Dottore" (for a man) or "Dottoressa" (for a woman).


In 2004, the Dutch degree system was changed to abide to international standards. Former degrees such as the "baccalaureus" (bc. for Bachelor), "doctorandus" (prefix abbreviated to drs.; it corresponds to MA or MSc), "ingenieur" (ing. for those having graduated from a university of applied science and ir. for those having graduated from university), "meester in de rechten" (mr.; it corresponds to LL.M.) and "doctor" (dr.; it corresponds to Ph.D) are still granted along with their international equivalents.

Bachelor's degrees are granted by both accredited colleges and universities. For colleges after four years of education a bachelor's degree is obtained (e.g. B.Com., B.Eng. but no B.A. or B.Sc.). For universities after three years of education a degree is granted (B.A., B.Sc. and LL.B.)

Whether a bachelor's degree is granted by a college or university makes a lot of difference. B.A.'s from a university grant 'immediate' entry into a master's programme (and are usually considered a formality to allow students entering foreign universities master's programmes), bachelor degrees from a college require an extra 'bridge year' (often called a 'pre-master' year) to be allowed into a master's programme, since university bachelors are already tutored in research fields, whereas college bachelors are not. Granted degrees may be used as suffixes (Jan Jansen B.Sc.). Note: the English prefix 'Mr.' corresponds in Dutch with the official, and protected prefix 'mr.', meaning a 'meester in de rechten', i.e. a Master of Law, or the English equivalent LL.M.

Many Dutch universities have recently started offering Honours programmes / tracks to extra talented students.


In Poland, the licentiate degree corresponds to the Bachelor's degree in Anglophone countries.

Russia and Ukraine

The specialist degree ( _ru. специалист) was the first academic distinction in the Soviet Union. In the early 1990s, "Bakalavr" (Bachelor's) degrees were introduced in all the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, except Turkmenistan. After Bakalavr degree, one can earn a Master's degree (another 1–2 years) while preserving the old 5-year Specialist scheme. "Specialist" degree is now being discontinued in universities that take part in Bologna process, so new students don't have this option.


The Swedish equivalent of a Bachelor's degree is the "kandidatexamen". It is awarded after three years of study: a year and a half in the major subject and a year and a half in other subjects. A thesis equivalent to 15 ECTS credits must be included in the degree. The exception to this system is Theology, where a "teologie kandidat" (Bachelor of Theology) is a four-year degree, equivalent to a Master's. Previously, there was a Bachelor of Law degree ("juris kandidat") which contained 4.5 years of study, but this degree has now changed its name to "juristexamen" ("law degree").


Similarly to Austria and Germany, Switzerland does not have a tradition of Bachelor degrees. The traditional first degrees were the Licentiate and the Diplom and the second degrees were the DEA and the postgraduate diploma. Bachelor's and graduate Master's degrees replaced the old degrees in 2003 after the application of Bologna process.

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery

In countries following British tradition, (the University of Malta is an exception) medical students pursue an undergraduate medical education and receive Bachelors degrees in Medicine and Surgery (MB BChir or BM BCh or MB ChB or MB BS).

This was historically taken at Oxford and Cambridge universities after the initial BA degree, and in Oxford and Cambridge the BA is still awarded for the initial three years of medical study, with the BM BCh or MB BChir being awarded for the subsequent clinical stage of training. Some British universities give a bachelor's degree in science, or medical science, mid-way through the medical course, and most allow students to intercalate a year of more specialised study for a Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Medical Science (BMedSci) or Bachelor of Medical Biology (BMedBiol) degree with honours.

Although notionally MB and BChir are two degrees, they must be taken together, and by convention entitle the bearer to use the title of "Doctor". In some Irish universities a third degree, Bachelor of the Art of Obstetrics (BAO), is added.

The non-university (licentiate) qualifications allowing registration as a medical practitioner in the UK, which have not been awarded by the United Examining Board since 1999, also conferred the courtesy title of "doctor."

See also

* Academic degree
* Associate's degree
* Bologna process - European harmonisation.
* Degrees of the University of Oxford
* Doctorate
* Double degree
* Engineer's degree
* Master's degree
* Validation
* Undergraduate education


External links

* [ "Education and Learning: Bachelors Degrees: Qualifications Explained"] – "" Government site in the United Kingdom listing qualifications for Bachelors degrees in the UK.
* [ "Glossary of Bachelor's Degree Programs Organized by Program"] – An overview of bachelor degrees provided by "Education Portal" ("").

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  • bachelor's degree — bachelor s de,gree noun count a first university degree. A degree that you can study for after your bachelor s degree is called a master s degree …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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  • bachelor's degree — noun an academic degree conferred on someone who has successfully completed undergraduate studies • Syn: ↑baccalaureate • Hypernyms: ↑academic degree, ↑degree • Hyponyms: ↑Bachelor of Arts, ↑BA, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • bachelor's degree — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms bachelor s degree : singular bachelor s degree plural bachelor s degrees a first university degree. A degree that you can study for after your bachelor s degree is called a master s degree …   English dictionary

  • bachelor's degree — bakalauras statusas T sritis Švietimas ir mokslas apibrėžtis Kvalifikacinis aukštojo mokslo laipsnis, suteikiamas baigus universitetinės aukštosios mokyklos pagrindinių studijų programą. atitikmenys: angl. bachelor s degree; licence pranc.… …   Aiškinamasis kvalifikacijų sistemos terminų žodynas

  • bachelor's degree — bachelor s de.gree n a first university ↑degree, such as a ↑BA, ↑B.S., or ↑BSc …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Bachelor's degree or higher — This graph shows the percentage of persons with the degree mentioned or higher. The latter three columns all fall under the category of describing those with a Bachelor s degree or higher. Bachelor s degree or higher is a commonly used term by… …   Wikipedia

  • bachelor’s degree — n (fml) the first degree that you get when you study at a university. Bachelor’s degrees include Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc). Compare master’s degree. * * * …   Universalium

  • bachelor's degree — first level university degree, four year university degree …   English contemporary dictionary

  • bachelor's degree — bach′elor s degree n. edu a degree awarded by a college or university to a person who has completed undergraduate studies …   From formal English to slang

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