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Baccalaureate degree

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Baccalaureate degree

A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree earned for a graduate course of study or major that in theory, depending on the location and the topic of study, is supposed to last three to six years, but can range more widely in duration, depending on ability and diligence of the student, whether or not the student balances work and other life commitments while attending school, the student's existing level of education, the availability of classes, and school policies. In some cases, it may also be the name of a second graduate degree, such as a Master of Legislative Law (L.L.B.), Master of Law (B.L.), Master of Civil Law, the Bachelor of Music, the Bachelor of Philosophy, or the Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree which are normally offered after a first Graduate/Bachelor's Degree.

During the Renaissance, those who received a doctorate, upon passing their final examinations, were decorated with berried branches of bay, an ancient symbol of highest honor. From this ancient custom derives the French word baccalauréat (from the Latin bacca, a berry, and laureus, of the bay laurel), and, by modification, the term "bachelor" in referring to one who holds a university degree.[1]



Under the British system, and those influenced by it, such as the Australian, Bangladeshi, Canadian, Hong Kong, Irish, Indian, Jordanian, Malaysian, Maltese, Nigerian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Singaporean systems, undergraduate degrees are differentiated either as pass degrees (also known in some areas as ordinary degrees) or as Honours Degrees, the latter sometimes denoted by the appearance of "(Hons)" after the degree abbreviation.[2] An Honours degree generally requires a higher academic standard than a pass degree, and in Maltese, Singaporean, Australian, Pakistani, Philippines, New Zealand, Irish, Scottish, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, South African and some Canadian universities an extra year of study.


In most African countries the university systems follow the model of their former colonizing power. For example, the Nigerian university system is similar to the British system, while the Ivorian system is akin to the French.

South Africa

In South Africa, an honours degree is an additional postgraduate qualification in the same area as the undergraduate major, and requires at least one further year of study as well as a research report.

Bachelor's degrees in the University of Botswana normally take four years. The system draws on both British and American models. Degrees are classified as First Class, Second Class Division One (2:1), Second Class Division Two (2:2) and Third as in English degrees, but without being described as honours. The main degrees are named by British tradition (Arts, Science, Law etc.) but in recent years there have been a numbers of degrees named after specific subjects, such as Bachelor of Library and Information


University admission is extremely competitive, with attendant advantages and disadvantages. Nonetheless, it takes four to five years to complete a bachelor's degree. In cases of poor performance, the time limit is double the standard amount of time. For example, one may not study for more than 10 years for a five-year course. Students are normally asked to leave if they must take longer. Nigerian universities offer BSc, BTech (Usually from Universities of Technology), BArch (six years) and other specialized undergraduate degrees, such as BEng (Bachelor of Engineering degree). Science undergraduate degrees may require six months or a semester dedicated to SIWES (Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme) but it is usually mandatory for all engineering degrees. A semester for project work/thesis is required, not excluding course work, during the bachelor thesis in the final year. The classifications of degrees: first-class, second-class (upper and lower), third-class (with honours; i.e., BSc (Hons)) and a pass (no honours). First- and second-class graduates are immediately eligible for advanced postgraduate degrees (i.e., MScs and PhDs), but other classes may be required for an additional postgraduate diploma before such eligibility.[3]

Furthermore, all graduating students are obliged to do the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) requirement, which usually takes one year, after which they are eligible to pursue higher degrees. The NYSC is a paramilitary service that involves students' being posted to different parts of the country to serve in various capacities. Principal objectives of the NYSC are to forge national cohesion, encourage students to apply their obtained knowledge to solving problems of rural Nigeria, and others. The NYSC was established by law after the Nigerian Civil War.[4]

Polytechnical schools (polytechnics) in Nigeria are not considered universities. They are mandated to educate technicians of high calibre; they offer the OND (ordinary national diploma) and the HND (higher national diploma). The polytechnics focus very strongly on practical technical training. The BSc and HND are compared in engineering circles but there are significant differences in training philosophies.

Honours degrees in Nigeria are differentiated only on the basis of performance. Honours degrees include the first-class degree, second-class degrees (upper and lower) and the third-class degree, but not the pass. All university students must do an independent research project which applies the knowledge obtained during the previous years of study.

The project work must be submitted in the semester before graduation and usually takes a significant number of points. Further course work is not precluded during the project work, but the courses are fewer and are at an advanced level. Project work is orally defended before the faculty and before peers. In the sciences and engineering a demonstration of the project is usually required. The exceptions are theoretical work, for which a media project is required.



In Bangladesh, universities and colleges award three- and four-year degrees (three-year degrees courses are called pass courses and four-year degree courses are called honours courses) in science and business (BSc, BBS, BBA, four-year and three months, etc.) and three- and four-year degrees in arts (BA, BSS, etc.). Engineering universities provide four-year degree programs for bachelor's degree courses of study. Medical colleges have five-year degree programmes. In law education there is a two-year LLB degree after completing three years in a BA program for a total of five years of study. There is also a four-year LLB honours degree. All of these programs begin after achieving the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC — in total 12 years of education).


Since the undergraduate education system in China is modeled after its American counterpart, all the degrees are adapted from those of the United States excepting the release of the degree certificate. Once a student has fulfilled his/her course requirements, a graduate certificate will be given. In order to get the degree, a student must finish and pass the dissertation stage; only then will he or she be awarded a degree credentialed by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China. Four years of education is the standard length, although some private small colleges not credentialed by the Ministry of Education do offer three-year programs. Normally, about 90% of graduates are able to obtain a degree; however, no degree is awarded with excellency or honor. It is also referred to as a "Xueshi" (学士).


The colonial link and the establishment of the University of the South Pacific in 1968 allowed the education system to follow suit from the qualification system of the Commonwealth. University of the South Pacific is the only university in the Oceania region to be internationally recognized outside of Australia and New Zealand with its bachelor's and other awards programme. It is also the highest ranked in the university ranking in the island region and also ranked above some Australian universities like the University of Canberra, University of Sunshine Coast and New Zealand universities like Lincoln University and Waikato Institute of Technology.[5]


In India, arts, commerce, and science colleges provide three-year (BA, BBA, BCA, B.Com, BSc etc..) and four-year bachelor's degrees (B.E., B Tech, B. Pharm). bachelor's degree is awarded by the respective university to which the college is affiliated.

Engineering and medical colleges provide four-year to five-year degree programs for bachelor's degrees (BE, graduate in engineering, B Arch, B Tech, BS, MBBS, BVSC&AH) that also begin after secondary school year 12 (also called +2). The Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree program is of five years' duration. Some of the institutes also provide the graduate diploma courses. A graduate diploma is basically the same thing as a graduate certificate. This terminology is more common in England, Australia, Canada, Scotland, Wales, etc., whereas "certificate" is more common in the US.

The Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, B.Sc.(Ag) or B.Sc. (Hons.) Agriculture is a four-year full-time degree course.


In Indonesia, most of the current bachelor's degrees are domain-specific degrees. Therefore, there are probably more than 20 bachelor's degrees. For instance, S.Psi for Sarjana Psikologi (literally translated as Bachelor of Psychology / BPsych, BA), S.T for Sarjana Teknik (literally translated as Bachelor of Engineering), S.Si for Sarjana Sains (literally translated as Bachelor of Science), S.Farm for Sarjana Farmasi (literally translated as Bachelor of Pharmacy), S.Kom for Sarjana Ilmu Komputer (literally translated as Bachelor of Computer Science) or S.Sos for Sarjana Ilmu Sosial (literally translated as Bachelor of Social Sciences). In the past, the Indonesian academic system adopted the old European/western degrees, such as the Ir (inginieur) for an engineering degree and doctor's degree (doktorandus) for a degree in either social or natural sciences. Need to be add as well subject.


In Nepal, the bachelor's degree is mostly a four-year program like BBA, BBIS, BIM. While some bachelor programs are of three-years like Bachelor's of Arts (B.A) and Bachelor's of Education(B.Ed). It is done after +2 level (High School). Bachelors in Engineering, Bachelors in Business Administration (B.B.A), Bachelor in Information Management (BIM), Bachelor of Business Information System (BBIS) are some few popular Bachelors Degree Program.


Institutes of higher learning in Malaysia provide three or four years of education leading to a BSc Hons Degree. There are also twinning programs with American, Australian, UK and French universities.


In Pakistan, commerce and science colleges provide four-year bachelor's degrees (BA, BS, BBA, BCom, etc.). Generally these programs are of four years duration as elsewhere in the world and begin after completing higher secondary school education by receiving a HSSC certificate acknowledging one's 12 years of study by the respective board. After successful completion of these programs, a bachelor's degree is awarded by the respective university, some colleges are affiliated with a university, mostly the state's (province's) central university and teach a part-time degree equal to 14 years of education such as a 2 year BA, BCom etc. A student may enroll in a two years BA, BCOM as well as a 4 year BA as an external candidate (external candidate are enrolled for examination & study program on self basis or through private tuition providers). Main universities offering these two programs are University of Punjab and University of Karachi where more than 50,000 students appear in BA & BCom exam as external candidates.

Engineering and medical colleges provide four- and five-year degree programs respectively for bachelor's degree (BE, BS (Engg), BSc (Engg), BArch, B.Tech begin after 3 year Diploma of Associate Engineer, MBBS) that also begin after secondary school year 12. The Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree program is of 5 to 6 years duration. When a four year Bachelor of Technology (B-Tech) degree is earned after 3 year Diploma of Associate Engineer, It is called B-Tech (Hons), and when Four year B Tech Degree is obtained after FSc (Two year intermediate in Science), then it is called 4-year B-Tech. But generlay B-Tech Degree is obtained after 3-year Diploma of Associate Engineer and therefore it is called B-Tech Honors, because it is 17 year of schooling as compared to other degrees like BSc Engineering, or BE, BBA, etc. which are 16 year of schooling.


In the Philippines, where the term "course" is commonly used to refer to a bachelor's degree major, course of study or program, 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, accountancy/accounting, radiologic technology, nursing, architecture and engineering are offered as BS degrees 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 professional degree). Being patterned after the United States, all universities and colleges offer graduation with honors — cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude.

Republic of Korea

Universities, colleges, and institutions of higher learning provide the bachelor's degree, called 'haksa' (Korean: 학사). For example, a university student who majored in literature and graduates obtains a BA, called 'munhaksa' (Korean: 문학사). Even if he or she does not go to an institution of higher learning, a person can get a bachelor's degree through the Bachelor's Degree Examination for Self-Education.

Sri Lanka

Recognised institutes of higher learning only are authorised to award degrees in Sri Lanka. Three years full-time bachelor's degree without an area of specialization is known as a general degree. A degree with a specialization (in chemistry, plant biotechnology, zoology, physics, engineering, IT, law, etc.) is known as a special degree and requires four years of study and more entrance qualifications. A degree in medicine, an MBBS, requires a minimum of six years.


Bachelor's degrees exist in almost every city in Turkey. Mostly preferred universities of Turkey are Middle East Technical University, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul Technical University, Yildiz Technical University, Bilkent University by BA students. They all grants Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees upon completion of eight semester programs offered by its faculties and the School of Foreign Languages. Also double-major is available in those universities. Some 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. It is called in Turkey "Lisans Mezunu".


In Australia and New Zealand, the university system largely follows the British model.


In Australia the degree is awarded with honours to students who have achieved a higher level of performance in a fourth year, one beyond a typical bachelor's degree. Some bachelor's degrees include an honours program as part of a four-year degree (i.e., engineering or psychology). An honours year generally consists of coursework and thesis for professional courses such as engineering or music, but is more often entirely research toward a thesis in other degrees. Honours is generally for those who want to take up a research track for postgraduate studies. Marking scales for honours differ; generally, First Class Honours (80–100%) denotes an excellent standard of achievement; Second Class Division 1 (75–79%) a high standard; Second Class Division 2 (70–74%) a good standard; Third Class (65–69%) satisfactory standard; between 0-64% the degree is not awarded with honours, but may be conferred as a pass degree.

The postgraduate honours programme allows researchers to pursue an independent research project in an area of interest under the supervision of an academic staff member. Students acquire skills which will enable them to work without close supervision in a research environment in industry or government, or to proceed to a research higher degree (such as a Ph.D.).[6] First-class and second-class (first division) is generally the standard required for entry into a Ph.D. or master's programme by research in Australia. In science, a second-class research honours or higher is generally prerequiste for entrance to a Ph.D. programme (a master's is an uncommon route). As such, the UK awarded honours (undergraduate) should not be confused with Australian awarded honours (postgraduate).

New Zealand

In New Zealand, only recognised institutions—usually universities—have degree-awarding powers.

Most bachelor's degrees are three years full-time, but certain degrees such as the Bachelor of Laws and the Bachelor of Engineering degrees require four years of study. A Bachelor of Medicine degree requires a minimum of six years.

Where students opt to study two bachelor's degrees simultaneously—referred to as a 'conjoint degree' or 'double degree'--an extra year of study is added. The number of years of study required is determined based on the degree with the greatest number of years. For example, a Bcom degree requires three years of full-time study, but a double Bcom-LLB degree will require five years of full-time study because the LLB degree is four years long. Exceptional students may choose to complete a degree in a shorter amount of time by taking on extra courses, usually with the help of summer school. Students who complete a double degree programme will have two separate bachelor's degrees at the end of their studies.

Consistently high-performing students may also be invited to complete the 'honours' programme. This usually requires an extra year of study with an extra honours dissertation. An honours award is credited with 'Hons.' (for example, 'Bachelor of Laws (Hons.)'). Some degrees also offer a Post Graduate Diploma, which often consists of the same workload, but with added flexibility. PGDip does not usually require a dissertation, however the student may complete one if desired. A diploma award is credited with 'PGDip' and the name of the degree (for example, 'PGDipArts' or 'PGDipScience'.

South America

Usually the region presents bachelor's, master's, doctoral and postdoctoral degrees.


In Brazil a bachelor's degree takes from four years (full-time) to six years (part-time) to complete. A bachelor's degree is the title sought by Brazilians in order to be a professional in a certain area of human knowledge. Master's and doctoral degrees are additional degrees for those seeking an academic career or a specific understanding of certain field.

A Brazilian "bachelor's" corresponds to a European "first cycle". A Brazilian "bachelor's" takes three to six years[7] for completion, as well as usually a written monograph or concluding project, in the same way as a European "bachelor's" can be finished in three to four years, after which time Europeans may embark on a one- to two-year 2nd cycle program usually called a "master's", according to the Bologna Process.

Depending on programs and personal choices, Europeans can achieve a "master's" degree in as little as four years (a three-year bachelor's and a one-year master's) and as long as six years (a four-year bachelor's, a two-year master's) of higher education. While in Brazil it would be possible to have a master's degree in as little as three years (two years for a "tecnólogo"[8] to degree and an additional year for a master's) or as long as eight years (six years for professional degrees, plus two years for a master's). Postgraduate degrees in Brazil are different from Europe. There are two different courses, Mestrado (equivalent to Research Master's in Europe, it takes two years and the candidate must submit a long dissertation before a jury of 3 renowned academics to obtain the title) and Especialização (equivalent to Taught Master's in Europe, it takes one to two years and the candidate must submit a shorter dissertation to obtain the title). Only candidates possessing a bachelor's degree are entitled to undertake a Mestrado.

The Brazilian bachelor's could be compared to the bachelors hons in the U.S.A/ Academic master's and doctoral degrees could be directly comparable.


In Colombia secondary school has two milestones, in 9th and 11th grades. After completing the first 4 years of secondary school (6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grades) a student is considered to have completed the basic secondary school while after completed the last two years (10th and 11th grades) is considered to have completed "bachillerato" or high school diploma.

This degree can be only academic (the most common) or:

  • military, given by military specialised schools and gives the opportunity for male students not to go to obligatory military service.
  • commercial, which grants students focussed skills on accountancy.
  • technical, which grants students focussed skills on technical abilities such in electricity, mechanics and related matters.
  • normal, which grants students focussed skills on elementary education.

After graduating from high-school, hopeful students must present a nation-wide exam that determines their eligibility to apply for their desired program, depending on the score the student achieves on the exam. In Colombia the system of academic degrees is similar to the U.S. model. After completing their "bachillerato" (high school), students can take one of three options. The first one is called a "Profesional" (professional career), which is similar to a Bachelor's Degree requiring from 4 to 6 years of study according to the chosen program. The other option is called a "Técnico" (technician); this degree consists of only two and a half years of study and prepares the student for technical or mechanical labors. Finally, the third option is called a ¨Tecnólogo¨ (equivalent to Associate degree), and consist of 3 years of study. A technical school gives to the student, after a program of two years, an under graduate degree in areas like software development, networks and IT, accountancy, nursing and other areas of health services, mechanics, electricity and technic-like areas.

Universities offer graduate degrees in ICFES endorsed programs like medicine, engineering, laws, accountancy, business management and other professional areas. A typical undergraduate program usually takes 10 or 11 semesters and some (i.e. medicine) require an additional period of service or practice to apply for the degree. A student who has obtained an undergraduate degree can opt to continue studying a career after completing their undergraduate degree by continuing onto Master's and Doctorate degrees. They can also choose to a specialization in certain fields of study by doing an extra year.

ICFES is the national authority for the education quality. A complete list of under graduate and graduate programs approved by ICFES can be found here:


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. Undergraduate programmes in Europe overall lead to the following most widely accepted degrees:

  • BSc.: Bachelor of Science degree (35% – 40% of undergraduate programmes)
  • B.A.: Bachelor of Arts degree (30%- 35% of undergraduate programmes)
  • LL.B.: the Bachelor of Law degree (1% of total programmes, however widely accepted in the law discipline)

The rest of the programmes typically lead to B.Eng, BBA, or other variants. Also, the AD (associate degree) is rising in popularity on the undergraduate level in Europe.

On a per-country, per-discipline and sometimes even per-institute basis, the duration of an undergraduate degree programme is typically three or four years, but can range anywhere from three to six years. This is an important factor in the student's decision-making 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 piece of educational legislation in 2002 reintroduced the bachelor's degree (awarded after three years) and masters' degree (another one or two years) in Austria.


In accordance with the agreements made in the Bologna process, the system of higher education in Belgium was reformed. A three-year bachelor's training was introduced to replace the former two- or three-year degree which was called "graduaat" (in Dutch)/"graduat" (in French) or "kandidatuur" (in Dutch)/"candidature" (in French), the latter being part of a college or university education.


Bachelor Degree in Business (BDiB) is a 4-year undergraduate study program which was introduced in the academic year 2008/2009. It is the only economics and business study program taught fully in English in the Republic of Croatia. The Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Zagreb was rewarded the prestigious EPAS accreditation for the EBIP/BDiB programme by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) at the meeting of its Accreditation Board on 9 February 2011.[9]

Czech Republic

Historically, the baccalareus was the undergraduate degree awarded to students who graduated from the course of trivium (grammar, dialectic and rhetoric) at a faculty of liberal arts (either at the Charles University or at the University of Olomouc). It was a necessary prerequisite to continue either with the faculty of liberal arts (quadrivium leading to a master's degree and further to a doctoral degree) or to study at one of the other three historical faculties—law, medicine or theology.

A bachelor's degree, abbreviated BcA., in the field of arts and Bc. (Bakalář in Czech) in other fields is awarded for accredited undergraduate programmes at universities and colleges.

The vast majority of undergraduate programmes offered in the Czech Republic have a standard duration of three years.

In the Czech tertiary education system, most universities and colleges today offer a three-year bachelor programme which can be followed up typically with a two-year master's (graduate) programme. Some specialisations, such as doctors of medicine and veterinary doctors, hold exceptions from the general system in that the only option is six-year master's programme with no bachelor stage (graduate with title doctor). This is due mainly to the difficulty of meaningfully splitting up the education for these specialisations.


The bachelor's degree was re-introduced at universities in Denmark in 1993, after the original degree baccalaureus was abandoned in 1775. The bachelor's degree is awarded after three or four years of study at a university and follows a scheme quite similar to the British one. Two bachelor degrees are given at the 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 whose main focus is on humanistic, theological or jurisprudence areas.

However, both in the business and the academic world in Denmark, the bachelor's degree is still considered to be "the first half" of a master 's (candidatus). It is not considered a degree in its own right ., despite the politicians' best attempts to make it more accepted.

The bachelor's 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's these degrees usually requires four 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's degrees awarded by universities. These degrees are considered to be a full education, and it often brings more confusion than clarification when someone explains that they have a bachelor's degree in some field.

Faroe Islands

Bachelor's degrees in the Faroe Islands are much the same as in Denmark.


The traditional bachelor's degree is the equivalent of the French "Licence" three- to four-year degree. Since the new European system of 2004 "LMD" Bologna process was founded, it has become standard to recognize a bachelor's over three years, a master's over five years and a doctorate over eight. However, most universities will accept an American bachelor's degree as the equivalent of a "Maitrise" four-year degree.


Main article: Diplom

Bachelor's degrees, called Bakkalaureus, originally existed in Germany, but were abolished up until 1820 as part of educational reforms at this time. The Abitur degree—the final degree received in school after a specialized 'college phase' of two years—replaced it, and universities only awarded graduate degrees.

The Magister degree, a graduate degree, was awarded after five years of study. In 1899 a second graduate degree, the Diplom, was introduced when the Technische Hochschulen received university status. Since the introduction of the universities of applied sciences, a shortened version of the latter, referred to as Diplom (FH) and designed to take three to four years, was introduced between 1969 to 1972.

However, to comply with the Bologna process, in 1998 a new educational law reintroduced the bachelor's degree (first degree after three 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.

The traditional degrees have been re-mapped to the new European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) point system to make them comparable to the new bachelor's degree. Traditional and Bologna process degrees are ranked as follows in Germany:

Bachelor o.d. (ordinary degree)
New, 180, 210 or 240 ECTS points required
Diplom FH
Traditional, 240 ECTS
Diplom Uni or TH
Traditional, 300 ECTS
New, also 300 ECTS (including bachelor)

So the new bachelor's degree is not a direct replacement of the traditional Diplom FH.


The old four-, five-, or six-year laurea system was discontinued in the early 2000s as per the Bologna process, with some exceptions such as law school or medical school. The bachelor's degree, called "Laurea", takes three years to complete (note that Italian students graduate from high school at age 19) and grants access to graduate degrees (known as "Laurea Magistrale"). In order to graduate, students must earn 180 credits (ECTS) and write a thesis for which students have to elaborate on an argument under the supervision of a professor (generally from three to eight ECTS). Graduation marks go from 66 to 110. According to each faculty internal ruling, a lode (honors) may be awarded to candidates with a 110/110 mark for recognition of the excellence of the final project.

Republic of Macedonia

In 2003 the German-style education system was changed to conform to the ECTS because of the Bologna process. The existing academic degree granted with a diploma was transformed into a baccalaureus (bachelor's degree). The universities usually award a bachelor's degree after three years (following which, a master's degree will be two years long) or four years (following which, a master's degree will be one year long).


In the Netherlands, the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees were introduced in 2002. Until that time, a single program that led to the doctorandus degree was in effect, which comprised the same course load as the bachelor's and master's programs put together. (The doctorandus title was in use for almost all fields of study; other titles were used for legal studies (meester) and engineering (ingenieur).) Those who had already started the doctorandus program could, upon completing it, opt for the doctorandus degree (before their name, abbreviated to 'drs.'), or simply use the master's degree (behind their name) in accordance with the new standard. Since these graduates do not have a separate bachelor's degree (which is in fact—in retrospect—incorporated into the program), the master's degree is their first academic degree.

In 2003/2004, the Dutch degree system was changed because of the Bologna process. Former degrees included:

  • baccalaureus (bc. for bachelor, corresponding to a BASc or BAA degree, it may be formally rendered as B eventually followed by the specialization field, instead of bc.)
  • doctorandus (prefix abbreviated to drs.; it corresponds to MA or MSc, but it may be formally rendered as M instead of drs.),[10]


  • ing. for graduates of the four-year courses offered by Dutch higher vocational colleges (HBO, that is; hoger beroepsonderwijs) see: university of applied science. It is similar to a BASc, BEng, BBE, B AS or B ICT (B IT), and it may be formally rendered as B followed by the specialization field, instead of ing.
  • ir. for those having graduated from technical university after a minimum of five years, corresponding to a MSc, but it may be formally rendered as M, instead of ir.),
  • meester in de rechten (mr.; it corresponds to LL.M., but it may be formally rendered as M instead of mr.) and
  • doctor (dr.; it corresponds to Ph.D., but it may formally be rendered as D instead of dr.)[11] are still granted along with their international equivalents.[12]

While the titles ing., bc., ir., mr., drs. and dr. are used before one's own name, the degrees B, M or D are mentioned after one's name. It is still allowed to use the traditional titles.

Whether a bachelor's degree is granted by a hogeschool or university is highly relevant as these parallel systems of higher education have traditionally served very different purposes with the vocational colleges concentrating on skills and practical training. A B.A or B.Sc from a university grants 'immediate' entry into a master's program. Moreover this is usually considered a formality to allow students to switch to foreign universities master's programs. Meanwhile those having completed a HBO from a vocational college, which represented the highest possible level of vocational education available, can only continue to a "master's" on completion of a challenging year of additional study, which in itself can serve as a type of selection process, with the prospective M.Sc. students being required to cover a great deal of ground in a single year.

Recently, HBO (vocational) master's degrees have been introduced in the Netherlands. Graduates thereof may use neither the extension "of Arts" (MA) nor "of Science" (MSc). They may use an M followed by the field of specialization (e.g., M Design).

This year of study to "convert" from the vocational to academic (WO-wetenschappelijk onderwijs, literally "scientific education") is also known as a "bridge" or "premasters" year. Note that despite the use of the terminology "university of applied science" the higher vocational colleges are not considered to be "universities" within the Netherlands.

Important aspects of Dutch bachelor's degree courses (and others) relative to some of those offered abroad include:

  • Duration. While in many countries courses are completed in a given time under normal circumstances, degree courses offered at some (though by no means all) Dutch institutions, including the most prestigious, can only be completed in three years by the best performing students.
  • Academic year. The Dutch academic year has a formal duration of 42 weeks. In practice students are often expected and required to spend a great deal of the "free" time revising for examinations. This is not always true elsewhere, as in many countries a very long summer break is taken and/or examinations are before the winter break rather than after.
  • Learning curve. Some education systems, notably the British one, involve a gentle introduction during the first year. This is generally not the case in the Netherlands, with the difficulty level in the first year serving as a type of "self-selection" with less committed and less able students routinely finding it difficult to keep up.

In February, 2011, the Dutch State Secretary of Education decided to adhere to the recommendations written in a report by the Veerman Commission. In the near future, the distinction between academic and higher vocational degrees will disappear.


In Poland, the licentiate degree corresponds to the bachelor's degree in Anglophone countries. In Polish it is called licencjat. To obtain the licencjat degree one must complete three years of study. There is also a similar degree called engineer (Inżynier) which differs from the licencjat in that it is awarded by technical universities and the program usually lasts for 3.5 years. After that the student can continue education for 2 or 1.5 years, respectively, to obtain the Polish magisterium degree, which corresponds to a master's degree.


Presently the Portuguese equivalent of a bachelor's degree is the licenciatura, awarded after three years of study (four in some few cases) at an accredited university or polytechnical institution. It is an undergraduate first study cycle program which is required to advance into further studies such as master's degree programs. Before the Bologna process (2006/2007) in Portuguese higher education, a licenciatura referred to a licentiate degree, which was a major bachelor's degree with professional accreditation. It required five years of study (equivalent to the present bachelor's plus the master's), but this was changed due to the European plan to make scholarship degrees uniform.

Russia, Ukraine, Armenia

The specialist's degree (Russian: специалист), (Ukrainian: спецiалiст) was the first academic distinction in the Soviet Union, awarded to students upon completion of five-year studies at the university level. The degree can be compared both to the bachelor's and master's degree. In the early 1990s, stepen' Bakalavra (Бакалавр) or (bachelor's) degrees were introduced in all the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, except Turkmenistan. After the bakalavr degree (usually four years), one can earn a master's degree (another one–two years) while preserving the old five-year specialist scheme.


In Spain the traditional system (up to 2009/2010) was split into three categories of degrees. There were the so-called first-cycle degrees: "Diplomado" or "Ingeniero Técnico", both three-year; there were also second-cycle degrees: "Licenciado" or "Ingeniero" with nominal durations varying between four and six years; and finally the third-cycle degrees: "Doctor". The official first-cycle degrees are comparable in terms of duration, scope and educational outcomes to an Anglo-Saxon bachelor's degree, meanwhile the second-cycle degrees are comparable in terms of duration, scope and educational outcomes to an Anglo-Saxon bachelor's + master's degrees combination if compared with the Anglo-Saxon system. In this traditional system the access to doctoral studies was granted only to the holders of "Licenciado" or "Ingeniero" (second-cycle) degrees.

Due to the ongoing transition to a model compliant with the Bologna agreement, exact equivalents to the typical Anglo-Saxon bachelor's degree and master's degree are being implemented progressively in Spain. Now there is an undergraduate bachelor's degree called "Título de Grado" (its duration generally being four years), a postgraduate master's degree called "Título de Máster" (1 or 2 years), as well as a doctor's degree called "Título de Doctor". The "Título de Grado" is now the prerequisite to access to a master study. The "Título de Máster" is now the prerequisite to access to doctoral studies.


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 of at least 15 ECTS credits must be included in the degree. Previously, there was a Bachelor of Law degree (juris kandidat) which required 4.5 years of study, but this degree now has a new name, juristexamen ("law degree").


Like Austria and Germany, Switzerland did not have a tradition of bachelor's and master's degrees. In 2003, after the application of the Bologna process, bachelor's and graduate master's degrees replaced the old degrees. As of 1 December 2005 the Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities granted holders of a lizentiat or diploma the right to use the corresponding master title. As of 2006, certificates of equivalence are issued by the university that issued the original degree. Currently three to four years of study are required to be awarded a bachelor's degree. A master's degree will require another two to three years of coursework and a thesis.

United Kingdom

The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge are perhaps alone in the United Kingdom today in awarding the BA for all undergraduate degrees. However, on a global scale, many universities over the last hundred years have expanded the range of bachelor's degrees enormously, especially in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, 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 a 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.

In England most first degrees not leading to professions (such as law, engineering, medicine) are now assumed to be honours degrees, although ordinary degrees are still awarded to those who do not meet the required pass mark for a third-class honours degree. The requirement for entrance into a Chartered Engineer path is an undergraduate Master's degree (MEng) or a Bachelor's honours degree (BEng) plus either additional exams equivalent to a Master's degree or a Master of Science (MSc) degree.

A full list of British degree abbreviations is also available.

England, Wales, and Northern Ireland

Degrees awarded carry designations related to the broad subject areas such as BA, BSc, and BEng. The majority of bachelor's degrees are now honours degrees. Until the mid-20th century, some candidates (but not, for example, those 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 areas or done something similar) or by doing compressed courses (which are being piloted by several newer universities).[13] For funding reasons (funding for undergraduate programs is automatic, while funding for postgraduate programs is not) it is becoming increasingly common to skip the bachelor's stage entirely and to go straight to the master's 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. 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 has not 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.

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. 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.

The graduateship (post-nominal GCGI) and associateship (post-nominal ACGI - Imperial College) awarded by the City & Guilds of London Institute are mapped to a British honours degree.

The Engineering Council Graduate Diploma is set at the same level as the final year of a British BEng.


At Scottish universities, undergraduate degrees are differentiated as either Designated Degrees or Honours Degrees.

An Honours degree, BA (Hons), (awarded as an MA (Hons) by some universities) for arts and social sciences, or B.Sc. (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. Depending on the University and course, the third and fourth years can be divided into junior honours and senior honours while in other cases the final year is simply called the honours year.

Each year, students will be given a number of subjects to study, with each subject given a number of credits which can be awarded upon passing that subject. A certain number of credits are required to gain entry into the next year and the amount of credits awarded each year is directly related to the subjects passed that year. As such, it is generally required to pass all subjects in a year to gain entry into the next.

It is typical that the grade of the degree will be assessed from the combined grades of both years at honours level, meaning the grades achieved in each subject in these years will account to the final class of degree awarded. Generally the percentage contributed toward the degree class in the final honours year will be much higher than that of the first honours year. Also, sometime in the honour years, a course usually includes a large project or number of projects to be undertaken, such as a Dissertation - although not always the case. A dissertation contributes a large percentage to that years grade as the workload is often viewed as a number of subjects combined and is therefore graded in the same manner.

Honours degrees are subdivided into classes depending on the overall grade achieved. These are from highest to lowest; first class, upper second class (2:1), lower second class (2:2), and third class.

A designated degree (BA, MA or BSc) is awarded to students who have completed three years at university studying a variety of related subjects. The first two years, sometimes three, 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) and are often referred to as ordinary degrees. In keeping with the Scottish "broad education" philosophy, ordinary degrees (and more rarely honours ones) may mix different disciplines such as sciences and humanities taught in different faculties and in some cases even different universities.

UK medical schools

Different universities and/or degrees however may have different processes. For example, the University of St Andrews' Bute Medical School traditionally awards medical students a BSc (Hons) after a three-year degree course—one year studying "Foundations of Medicine" involving basic medicine training, followed by a two-year honours course and dissertation.[14] This is not consistent with the usual four years required to attain such a degree.

Medical students at many other UK institutions have the further privilege of obtaining intercalated degrees (see medical school in the United Kingdom); a process which allows participants to obtain an intercalated BSc in a given field after only one year of study. Such programmes are available at most universities and are in place to offer students studying medicine a wider perspective on fields that are often only briefly covered in a medicine course.

Students are not automatically eligible to participate. This process in many ways reflects the US system of first obtaining a degree before studying postgraduate medicine.

Below, see discussion of the norm for obtaining a degree in medicine and of medical school in the United Kingdom.

North America


Education in Canada is governed independently by each province and territory, and thus there are differences between provinces when it comes to the granting of degrees. Each province loosely follows the American model. Bachelor's degrees may take either three or four years to complete and awarded by colleges and universities. A Bachelor with honours degree can be completed at universities; it requires a minimum of four years but may also take longer; it typically does not exceed five years. Going back in history, a three-year degree was also called a pass degree or general degree, and a four-year degree was called an honours degree. In provinces that grant three-year bachelor's degrees, a student with sufficiently high grades and proven abilities may be admitted to an additional year of studies to obtain a four-year honours degree. The honours bachelor's degree should not be confused with a bachelor's degree with honours, which is an academic degree (Latin "Baccalaureatus Cum Honore", abbreviated BA hons.) awarded to students who achieve an research honours bachelor's degree with a sufficiently high overall average and who, typically, fulfill a written thesis requirement during their postgraduate year of study. A student holding a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA hons.) may choose to complete a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program without the requirement to first complete a master's degree.

Generally, an honours bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for admission into graduate studies in Canada.

In the province of Quebec, students have to go through a minimum of two years of college before entering, for example, a three-year Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) or a four-year Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.) program. As a consequence, there is no de jure "honors degree" (although some universities market some of their programs as being de facto honors degrees in their English-language materials), but there are some specializations called "concentrations" in French, which are mostly taken as optional courses.

United States

Bachelor's 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)[15] usually take five, and some universities and colleges allow ambitious students (usually with the help of summer school, who are taking many classes each semester, and/or who have existing credit from high school Advanced Placement course exams) 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), that offers more challenging courses or more individually directed seminars or research projects in lieu of the standard core curriculum. Those 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 worthy of at least the cum laude notation anyway.[16] 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 in the honors course.

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., BA 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.

Many universities and colleges in the United States award bachelor's degrees with Latin honors, usually (in ascending order) cum laude 'with honor/praise,' magna cum laude 'with great honor/praise,' summa cum laude 'with highest honor/praise,' and the occasionally seen maxima cum laude 'with maximal honor/praise.' Degrees without honors are awarded rite. Requirements for such notations of honors generally include minimum grade point averages (GPA), with the highest average required for the summa distinction (or maxima, when that distinction is present). In the case of some schools, such as Bates College, Colby College, Middlebury College, Franklin College Switzerland, and larger universities like the University of Virginia and Princeton University, a senior thesis for degrees in the humanities or laboratory research for natural science (and sometimes social science) degrees is also required. Five notable exceptions are Reed College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Evergreen State College, Sarah Lawrence College, and Bennington College, which do not have deans' lists, Latin honors recognitions, or undergraduate honors programs or subjects.

Costa Rica and El Salvador

In these countries there are two titles that should not be confused:

  1. High school students who pass their bachillerato exams, obtain a certificate of Bachiller en Educación Secundaria (bachelor's degree in secondary education) which is a must to enter a university and is usually requested by companies in their profiles.
  2. University students obtain a Bachiller degree in their respective fields after completing four years of education (and meeting other requisites unique to each institution), enabling them to work as professionals in their chosen areas; for example, a Bachiller en Enseñanza Secundaria (bachelor's degree in secondary teaching) enables a person to work as a high school teacher. Currently the trend is for universities not to offer a bachelor's degree and to offer instead a licentiate's degree after five years of education.


Many other specialized bachelor's degrees are offered, as well. Some are in very specialized areas, like the five-year BID or BSID degree in industrial design.[17] Others are offered only at a limited number of universities, such as the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University's Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS). The University of Delaware offers a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree, a degree which often indicates an interdisciplinary course of study, for many majors within its School of Arts and Science.[18] Stanford University's Bachelor of Arts and Science degree is for students who are receiving one degree, but who have completed two arts and sciences majors, one of which would ordinarily lead to the BA and one of which would ordinarily lead to the BS.

At many institutions one can only complete a two-degree program if the bachelor's 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 Bachelor of Science in Agriculture [B.Sc.(Ag) or B.Sc. (Hons.) Agriculture] offers a broad training in the sciences. The focus of this four-year applied degree is on the development of analytical, quantitative, computing and communication skills. Students learn how to apply the knowledge and principles of science to the understanding and management of the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products, and to the management and conservation of our natural resources. All students undertake rural field trips and approved professional experience within agricultural or horticultural enterprises, natural resource management, agribusiness industries, or commercial or government organisations active in the field.

Architecture and Design

The Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree is a professional degree awarded to students who complete the five-year course of study in the field at some universities. Many universities offer a BSc or BA (majoring in Architecture) after the first three or four years, and then a post-graduate diploma, BArch or MArch for the following two to four years.

The Bachelor of Design (BDes, or SDes in Indonesia) is awarded to those who complete the four- or four-and-a-half-year course of study in design, usually majoring in a specific field of design, such as interior design or graphic design.


Main article: Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts degrees (BA, AB, BS, BSc, SB, ScB, BAAS; also known as Artium Baccalaureus) are the most common undergraduate degrees given. Originally, in the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin, all undergraduate degrees were in the faculty of arts, hence the name of the degree. The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) is an undergraduate degree that bridges academic and work-life experiences.


  • The Bachelor of Engineering (Baccalaureus in Arte Ingeniaria) degree or Bachelor of Applied Science[19] degree is a professional degree awarded to students who have completed the three- or four-year course of study in engineering. Common abbreviations include BEng, BE, BSE, BESc, BSEng, BASc, BTech, BSc(Eng), AMIE,GradIETE. The BAI (baccalaureus in arte ingeniaria) is awarded by the University of Dublin (Trinity College Dublin); some South African universities refer to their engineering degrees as BIng (Baccalaureus Ingeniaria).
  • There are more specific variants for many subfields, such as the BSEE degree (Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering). The BSE and BSEng (Bachelor of Software Engineering) are awarded by the University of Waterloo, McMaster University, and University of Victoria, respectively. In India the Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Technology and AMIE (Association of Membership of Institution of Engineers) are professional degrees awarded in specific engineering disciplines such as computers, electrical, electronics, mechanical, communication, civil, plastics, chemical, etc. Specialization is referred to in brackets (e.g., "BE (computers)").
  • The Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology degree (BSET) 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 within them. For instance mechanical engineering technology could include mechanical systems design, manufacturing systems, marine engineering technology, and others. Engineering technology degrees usually lead to licensing as engineering technologists requiring further studies for licensing as professional engineers.

Business and management

  • The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree is awarded to students who complete three to four years of full-time study in business administration. The degree often, though not always, requires a major in a specific field such as accounting, finance, HRM/personnel, marketing, management, management information systems, real estate, strategic management, and others. Similar programs include the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business, Bachelor of Management Studies and Bachelor of Administrative Studies degrees.
  • The Bachelor of International Business economics (BIBE) degree is awarded to students who complete four years of full-time study in business administration. In the last 2 years students must choose a specific field (such as the ones mentioned in the BBA). This degree is taught only in English and its aim is to enforce students to work abroad and be prepared to manage big, multinational firms. It is compulsory to study abroad for, at least, 6 months. This degree appeared with the Bologna Process in Europe and is taught in universities like the Pompeu Fabra University.
  • The Bachelor of Commerce (BCom, or BComm in Canada) is, likewise, an undergraduate degree in general business management, although it is more theory based, and usually incorporates an academic major. The distinction between the BComm and the BBA, then, is often that the latter allows students to apply theories to real-life business situations, while the former concentrates on ideas and concepts.[20]
  • The Bachelor of Business (BBus or BBus(Major)) degree is an undergraduate degree in general business management offered by universities in Australia and New Zealand. Similar in nature to the Bachelor of Commerce degree, Bachelor of Business degrees are often awarded at technology-focused universities in accordance with the Dawkins review (1986) of the Australian higher education sector. At many Australian universities a Bachelor of Business degree enables graduates to undertake greater specialty in their chosen academic major as compared to a general BBA degree.
  • The Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies degree (BMOS in Canada) is a four-year undergraduate degree in business management. However, this degree teaches knowledge-based business and is as much theoretical as it is case-based. The BMOS degree especially emphasizes social sciences such as psychology, sociology, economics, etc.
  • The Bachelor of Business Science (BBusSc) degree is similar to the BCom, however it is a four-year honours-level course with an increased focus on the major and covers management theory in further depth. Additionally, students taking this approach are able to major in various quantitative disciplines not (typically) available in the BComm or BBA; related to this — and similarly in distinction — all BBusSc students require a full first-year mathematics course, and additional to this, courses in statistics.
  • The Bachelor of Accountancy (B.Acy. or B.Acc. or B. Accty) degree is a specialized degree in accountancy; it is often the principal (or only) undergraduate degree recognized for later professional practice. It is distinct from a BBA or BComm with a major in accountancy in that the entire program is focused on accountancy, while other topics are supplementary. It is also known as: Bachelor of accounting or Bachelor of Accounting Science or Bachelor of Comptrolling (B.Acc.Sci. or B.Compt.).
  • The Bachelor of Economics (BEc, BEconSc; sometimes BA(Econ) or BSc(Econ)) degree is similarly a specialized degree in the field of economics. Courses may last anywhere from three years to six years and are typically more theoretical and mathematical than the BBA or BComm with a major in economics (often substantially so). Economics is not a business discipline, as such, but a social science, and economics degrees are therefore often offered through liberal arts colleges.
  • There are various other specialised business degrees, such as the Bachelor of Finance and Banking. A further example is the Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management (BAOM) degree which is awarded to students who complete a four-year course of study in the field. The core functions of this program are the teaching of organizational functions, communication, group behavior, decision-making, human resources management, ethics, and to develop and deploy in the students effective skills in management and leadership.

Computer science and information systems

There are various undergraduate degrees in information technology incorporating programming, database design, software engineering, networks and information systems. These programs prepare graduates for further postgraduate research degrees or for employment in a variety of roles in the information technology industry. The program focus may be on the technical or theoretical aspects of the subject matter, depending on which course is taken.

  • Theoretically oriented degrees focus on computer science and are correspondingly titled. These include: the Bachelor of Computing (BComp) and Bachelor of Computer Science (BCompSc or BCS) degrees. Computer science is also offered as a major within most Bachelor of Science programs.
  • The practically oriented degrees cover many disciplines from within the IT industry including software engineering, information systems, and data communications. Examples here include the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSc IT), the Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA), the Bachelor of Information Technology, and the Bachelor of Applied Science (Information Technology) (BAppSc(IT)) degrees. Many of the disciplines taught as part of these degrees are covered under other degrees, such as engineering, as well.
  • Degrees combining IT with business study are also offered at many universities. Specialised programs in information systems—such as the bachelor of business information systems (BBIS) program—are often positioned as professionally oriented degrees. More general degrees here would include business degrees, such as the BBA or BComm, with information systems as a major.

Health Care


In countries following British tradition, (the University of Malta is an exception) medical students pursue an undergraduate medical education and receive bachelor's degrees in medicine and surgery degrees (MB BChir, MBBS, BMBS, BM, MB ChB etc.). This was historically taken at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin after the initial BA degree, and in Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin the BA is still awarded for the initial three years of medical study, with the BM BCh, MB BChi, or MB BCh BAO, respectively, 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 an intercalated Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Medical Science (BMedSci) or Bachelor of Medical Biology (BMedBiol) degree with honours. Although notionally MB and BS 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 Arts of Obstetrics (BAO), is added. However, this third degree is an anachronism from the 19th century and is not registerable with the Irish Medical Council. The nonuniversity (licentiate) qualifications allowing registration as a medical practitioner in the UK, a registration that has not been granted by the United Examining Board since 1999, also conferred the courtesy title of "doctor."


Dentistry is offered both as an undergraduate and a postgraduate course. The doctorate of dental surgery (DDS) is the usual undergraduate program. Postgraduate courses such as the bachelor of dentistry (B.Dent.) — awarded exclusively by the University of Sydney in Australia — requires a previous bachelor's degree.


Physiotherapy is offered both as an undergraduate and a graduate course of study. Studies leading to the Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) degree usually constitute the undergraduate program. In the graduate program, courses leading to a degree such as the Master of Physiotherapy degree are offered.

In the province of Quebec, French universities offer both undergraduate and graduate courses leading to the obtention of a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in physiotherapy and a Master of Science degree specialized in physiotherapy. McGill University, the Université de Montréal, and the Université de Sherbrooke are among the post-secondary institutions that offer such programs.


Optometry is a four-year course. Although students graduate with a B.Sc. after three years of study, passing a further supervised preregistration year is required to become a fully qualified optometrist.


The Bachelor of Nursing degree is a three- to four-year undergraduate degree that prepares students for a career in nursing. Often the degree is required to gain "registered nurse", or equivalent, status—subject to completion of exams in the area of residence. Sometimes, though, the degree is offered only to nurses who are already registered. Alternate titles include Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Nursing Science, with abbreviations, BN, BNSc, BScN, BSN, BNurs, BSN, BHSc.

Veterinary Science

The Bachelor of Veterinary Science program is generally a five-year course of study that is required for becoming a veterinarian. It is also known as the Bachelor of Veterinary medicine and surgery at some universities; BVSc, BVMS, BVM&S, BVMedSci. In the United States a degree in veterinary medicine is completed after a bachelor's has been earned (usually in four years). The recipient is called "doctor," as is a medical doctor who treats human beings, and the training lasts as long as the training of a medical doctor, does, usually four years. Thus it takes eight years, usually, after high school, to become a veterinarian. Admission to veterinary training programs is considered at least as competitive as for medical school, in fact, it is generally found to be more competitive. No bachelor's degree of veterinary science is given in the United States, only the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree.


The Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) degree is a common undergraduate degree for the practice of pharmacy. In the United States, Canada, and France, however, all colleges of pharmacy have now phased out the degree in favor of the Pharm.D., or doctor of pharmacy, degree or the Ph.D., doctor of philosophy, degree in pharmacy. Some universities, such as the University of Mississippi, award a Bachelor of Science in pharmaceutical sciences (BSPS) degree as a part of the seven-year Pharm.D. program after the completion of the first four years. However, the BSPS degree does not qualify the recipient for the practice of pharmacy, for which it is required that students earn a Pharm.D. degree.

Public health

Public health is usually studied at the master's degree level. The Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) degree is a four-year undergraduate degree that prepares students for careers in the public, private, or nonprofit sector in areas such as public health, environmental health, health administration, epidemiology, or health policy and planning.

Medical and health sciences

  • The Bachelor of Health Science (BHS & BHSc) is a specialized degree awarded to students whose studies have focused on health care or the health sciences. Specific areas of study can include nursing, radiography, health care management, and other allied health fields. The degree is typically awarded following four to five years of collegiate study.
  • The title BMedSc, BBiomedSc, BMSc or BVMedSci is granted to students who have qualified in the field of biomedical science and medical science or veterinary medical science respectively. Universities that offer this course include the University of Western Ontario in Canada, University of Birmingham in the UK and the University of New South Wales, the University of Canberra, the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney, Flinders University, Griffith University, Monash University, Australian National University and the University of Melbourne in Australia.
  • The degree of BMedSci/BSc (Med) can be awarded for students completing an intercalated degree whilst studying medicine as an intermediate award. 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 the undergraduate clinical training. In brief, this is normally awarded after the candidate has completed successfully the first three years of an undergraduate medical degree at certain UK (and Commonwealth) medical institutions.
  • The BSc human biology degree is awarded by several universities around the world and focuses on biomedical research, health care, biotech business, pharmaceutical sciences, or a combination thereof.


The Bachelor of Kinesiology degree (BKin, BSc(Kin), BHK)is a specialized 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 Aviation (BAvn) is awarded to students who complete a four-year course of study in the field.

Divinity and theology

The Bachelor of Divinity, Bachelor of Theology, Bachelor of Religious Studies, Bachelor of Biblical Studies and Bachelor of Religious Education (BD, BTh, BRS, BBS, BRE) degrees are awarded on completion of a program of study of divinity or related disciplines, such as theology, religious studies, or religious education.

Traditionally the B.D. was in fact a graduate degree rather than a first degree, and typically emphasised academic theology, biblical languages etc. This has become a less common arrangement, but should be noted since, for example, a BD takes precedence over a PhD in Cambridge University's order of seniority.

While the theological bachelor's degree 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 degree. In the United States the "main line" Protestant clergy typically take a four-year bachelor's degree in whatever field they choose, then earn the M.Div. (Master of Divinity) or (doctor of divinity) degree in an additional three years as part of preparation for ordination.

Fine arts

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree 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 BA or BS, which are generally considered to be academic degrees, the BFA 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 non-Commonwealth Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science programs.

Film and television

The Bachelor of Film and Television (BF&TV) degree is an undergraduate degree for the study of film and/or television production including areas of cinematography, directing, scriptwriting, sound, animation and typography.

Integrated studies

The Bachelor of Integrated Studies (BIS) is an interdisciplinary bachelor's degree offered by several universities in the United States and Canada. It 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 the University of Manitoba, Pittsburg State University, University of South Carolina Upstate, Weber State University, Ferris State University, Arizona State University, University of Minnesota, Miami University (Ohio), the University of Virginia and the University of New Brunswick, among others.


The Bachelor of Journalism, BAJ, BSJ or BJourn) 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 world's oldest school of journalism at the University of Missouri offers a BJ degree, not to be confused with the bachelor's degree in jurisprudence at Oxford University. In South Africa, Rhodes University has the oldest school of journalism in Africa and allows students to take a fourth-year specialisation to raise their BAs to BJourn status, equivalent to a B.A. Hons.

Landscape architecture

The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLArch) degree is awarded to students who complete the five- (in some countries four-) year course of study in the field.

Liberal arts

The Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Bachelor of General Studies, Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Bachelor of Science in general studies or Bachelor of Applied Studies (BLA, ABL, BGS, BSGS, BAS, BPS) degree is sometimes awarded to students who major in the liberal arts, or in general, or interdisciplinary studies. The Bachelor of Professional Studies is awarded to students who major in professional career studies.

Library science

The Bachelor of Library Science or Bachelor of Library and Information Science BLS, BLib, BLIS degree is sometimes awarded to students who major in library science, although master's of library science degrees are more common.


The Bachelor of Music (BM or BMus) degree is a professional or academic undergraduate degree in music at most conservatories in the US and the UK. 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 therapy, 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)

Music education

The Bachelor of Music Education degree (BME) is an academic undergraduate degree in music. Oberlin Conservatory first offered the Bachelor of Music Education degree.

Mortuary Science

The Bachelor of Mortuary Science (BMS) is a professional undergraduate degree, only awarded by the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science of Cincinnati, Ohio. It was introduced in 1986 and it is awarded to students that complete 120 semester hours of course work and receive passing scores on the National Board Exam administered by The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards.[21]


The Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil, PhB) degree is either an undergraduate or graduate degree. Generally, it entails independent research or a thesis/capstone project.


The Bachelor of Arts or Science in Psychology (BAPSY, BSc(Psych)) degree is a degree awarded to students who have completed a course of study in the field of psychology. Courses typically last five years, but may last as long as six. In Nepal there are three- and four-year courses available for higher-level students.


The Bachelor of Science in Education degree (BSE, B.S. in Ed) is a four-year undergraduate degree offered by many American colleges and universities for those preparing to be licensed as teachers. Variants include the B.Ed., B.A. Ed, B.A.T. (Bachelor of Arts for Teaching), and B.S.T. degrees. Preparation for the M.S. in education, this degree is most often received by those interested in early childhood, elementary level, and special education, or by those planning to be school administrators. Secondary level teachers often major in their subject area instead (i.e., history, chemistry, or mathematics), with a minor in education. Some states require elementary teachers to choose a subject major as well, and minor in education.

Science with Education

The Bachelor of Science and/with Education degree (BScEd) 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 General Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics) and education. Although notionally B.Sc. and B.Ed. are two degrees, they must be taken together. The graduates will work as science (physics, chemistry, biology) teachers in high schools, as lecturers in pre university colleges and matriculation centers and can progress to postgraduate programs (M.Sc. and Ph.D.) in various areas in science or education.


The Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree (B.S.F. or B.Sc.F.) is a degree awarded to students who complete the four-year course of study in the field of forestry.

Science in Law

The Bachelor of Science in Law degree (BSL) is a special-purpose degree that allows someone who has had some prior studies but has not achieved a bachelor's degree to resume his or her education and take up the study of law with the goal of eventually receiving the juris doctor degree.

Social Sciences

The Bachelor of Social Science (BSocSc) is a three- or four-year undergraduate British degree that enables students to specialize in the area of social science. 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 specialized knowledge of the social sciences. Many universities place the Bachelor of Social Science between the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science undergraduate degrees.

Social work

The Bachelor of Science in Social Work (B.S.W.) degree is a four-year undergraduate degree. Usually the first two years consist of liberal arts courses and the last two years focus on social work classes in human development, policy/law, research, and practice. Programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education require B.S.W. students to complete a minimum of 400 field education or internship hours. Accredited B.S.W. programs often allow students who are interested in obtaining a Master of Social Work degree to complete the degree in a shorter amount of time or waive courses.


The Bachelor of Technology degree (B.Tech) is a three- or four-year undergraduate degree. Generally, the program is comparable to a Bachelor of Science degree program, which is additionally supplemented by either occupational placements (supervised practical or internships) or practice-based classroom courses.


The Bachelor of Laws (LLB, LL.B.) is the principal academic degree in law in most common law countries other than the United States and Canada, where it has been superseded by the juris doctor (J.D.) degree.

Talmudic law

The Bachelor of Talmudic Law degree (BTL) is the degree awarded in most Yeshivas around the United States.

Tourism studies

The Bachelor of Tourism Studies (BTS) degree is awarded to those who complete the four- or five-year course of study in tourism, laws regarding tourism, planning and development, marketing, economics, sociology, anthropology, arts and world history (dependent on the country in which one takes the course), ticketing, hospitality, computer applications, and much more. The course would have an interdisciplinary approach with a vast range of units so the tourismologist professional would be able to identify necessary actions toward a sustainable touristic environment focus on local community uniqueness, values and traditions. As tourism is a growing industry, in India there is a lot of opportunity for those who complete this course of study. It is available in select universities of India.


The Bachelor of Mathematics or Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences degree (B.Math and BMathSc) is given at the conclusion of a four-year honors program or a three-year general program. Several universities, mostly in Canada and Australia, award such degrees. The usual degree for mathematics in all other countries is the B.S. or the B.Sc.

Urban and regional planning

The Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (or just Bachelor of Planning) degree (BURP and BPlan) is a degree offered at some institutions as a four-year professional undergraduate degree in urban planning.

Public affairs and policy management

The Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management degree (BPAPM) is a specialized four-year honours degree dedicated to the study of public policy within an interdisciplinary framework. The degree was created as a direct response to the changing nature of civic society and the growing need for university graduates who can work effectively in the new policy environment.

See also

Education portal


External links

  • – U.S. Department of Education
  • "Education and Learning: Bachelor's Degrees: Qualifications Explained" UK Government site listing qualifications for Bachelor's degrees in the UK
  • "Meaning of the Baccalaureate" – National Forum on College Level Learning (US) Statistical Pilot Study of the Baccalaureate (2004)
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