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College Degrees in Order: A Guide For College Students


College Degrees in Order: Academic degree levels in order are associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctoral degree. Students may also earn certificates as academic credentials. Follow centralfallout to get updated.

What are the 4 types of college degrees?

College Degrees in Order

College Degrees in Order: For a few reasons, it is important to consider college degrees in sequence. First, the knowledge required to earn a bachelor’s degree is very different from that needed for a doctoral. You can use your academic knowledge to solve new problems by moving through the degrees in the right order. A strong foundation can be built for future learning from prior education.

You should also consider the time and financial requirements for each type of degree, as well as the impact that a degree has on your career prospects. For example, you might research the education requirements for a job in your chosen field. This will help you determine the education level you need to achieve your goals.

degree types

  • Associate’s Degree
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Master’s Degree
  • Doctoral Degree

Let’s look at the different types of college degrees to see how they differ from each other.

College Degrees in Order: Associate’s Degrees

associate's Degrees

These 2-year programs prepare students for entry-level positions in many fields. You can also transfer to a 4-year university or college. These courses are typically offered at community colleges and require 60 credits.

Different types of associate degrees

1. Associate of Science (AS), Associate of Arts (AA), and Associate of Arts (AA).

Both AA degrees and AS degrees offer strong entry points into a particular field of study. These degrees are often used to assist students in transferring their education to a bachelor’s level to continue their studies and get into the workforce.

Examples include:

  • Business Fundamentals
  • Criminal Justice
  • Cybersecurity

2. Associate of Applied Arts and Associate of Applied Science.

The AAS and AAA degrees are similar to other associate degrees, but they offer more practical experience in the classroom.

College Degrees in Order: Bachelor’s Degrees

Bachelors Degree

Bachelor’s degrees are awarded by 4-year universities and colleges. These programs are the culmination and culmination of undergraduate education. These programs provide a comprehensive education and a deeper understanding of a subject than an associate’s degree. The majority of Bachelor’s degrees require at least 120 credits and 4 years of hard work.

Different types of bachelor’s degrees

1.Bachelor of Arts (BA).

A BA is the completion of an undergraduate program in arts and humanities. A BA is different from other types of bachelor’s degrees in that it emphasizes each student’s exploration of a particular subject.

BA students have fewer required classes than BA students. However, they are more flexible in how they plan and complete their education. To provide a broad liberal arts education, BA requirements often include courses that are not required for a student’s major.

Examples include:

  • English
  • Histories
  • Mathematics
  • Creativity in writing

2. Bachelor of Science (BS).

A Bachelor of Science degree focuses more on science and mathematics than a BA, which is more philosophical. Although some subjects can be studied simultaneously in both a BA and BS program, the latter will tend to focus more on a single path of study and less on courses in other subjects.

If you have a specific academic goal and don’t want to study all the liberal arts subjects, a BS degree program may be more suitable. These programs focus on practical application, which can be a benefit when you get into the workforce.

Examples include:

  • Accounting
  • Administration for business
  • Management of health

3.Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).

 A BFA is a type of bachelor’s degree that can be pursued by students who are interested in visual, performing and/or musical arts.

What is the difference between BA and BFA programs? BFA programs tend to be more hands-on in a studio setting, with less emphasis on lectures and exams.

College Degrees in Order: Master’s Degrees

Masters Degree

Graduate degrees are awarded to students who have specialized in a particular area of study. These are often called Master’s Degrees. Without a Bachelor’s degree, you cannot get a Master’s. Graduate schools are harder to get into than those for undergraduates. Graduate schools often require students to take the GRE exam, earn 30 to 50 credits and complete a capstone or thesis paper during their program.

Different types of master’s degrees

There are three types of master’s degree options:

  • Master of Arts (MA).
  • Master of Science (MS).
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA).

We won’t go into detail about the differences in master’s degrees. However, the distinction is the same as that between bachelor’s degrees.

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 An MA tends not to be focused on arts subjects, while an MS is more concerned with scientific subjects and their practical applications.

These are just a few of the types of master’s degree options.

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA).
  • Master of Library Science (MLS).
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA).
  • Master of Public Health (MPH).
  • Master of Social Work (MSW).
  • Master of Laws (LLM).
  • Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MLS).
  • Master of Music (MM).
  • Master of Education (MEd).
  • Master of Engineering (MEng).
  • Master of Architecture (MArch).

Each degree represents a specialty within a particular field. This could be an MSW in social work or an MPH in public health. Although the requirements, curriculum and requirements for each master’s program are different, most require a bachelor’s degree or a similar field. Some programs also require professional experience.

Doctoral Degrees

Doctorate Degree

A doctoral degree is the highest academic degree, and represents the most advanced education in a particular discipline. Doctoral students are recognized as experts in their field after completing a rigorous program.

A doctoral degree is more than a certificate. In 2020, doctoral graduates had lower unemployment rates than those with less education and higher median weekly earnings.

Doctoral degree programs demand a lot of prospective students because the standard for attainment is so high. A majority of doctoral programs require a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Students must complete a challenging but rewarding curriculum before entering a doctoral program. The student will be required to submit a dissertation, or a project for a doctoral practitioner degree such as the University of Phoenix.

A dissertation is the core of every doctoral program. Doctoral students must complete a dissertation as their final project. It is a culmination of their research and requires them to present their findings to their faculty. It can take several months to finish this process. Many doctoral students don’t complete their degrees due to the difficulty of dissertations.

Although a doctorate may not be right for everyone, it is possible for anyone. Click here to learn about a University of Phoenix alumnus, who graduated with a 1.3 GPA and went on to complete a doctoral program.

Different types of doctoral degrees

1.Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Doctor of Philosophy (or PhD) is the most well-known and widely recognized doctoral degree. These degrees are not only for students of philosophy, despite their name. A PhD is a research degree that can also be done in many subjects.

Research in a PhD program focuses less on the application of learned skills in the market, and more on enriching a particular field. This type of program often requires original research to graduate. Doctoral students often seek out new insights by working at the edges of their field.

2.Practitioner doctoral degrees

Other doctoral degrees, in contrast to PhDs focus on practical applications within an industry. University of Phoenix does not offer a PhD. It instead offers doctoral degrees that are intended for academics and professionals.

Here are some examples:

  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA).
  • Doctor of Health Administration (DHA).
  • Doctor of Education (EdD).
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

We hope you now feel more prepared to plan your future.

Professional Degrees

Professional degrees and doctoral degrees can both be used interchangeably.

Although professional degrees may vary in their subject matter and length, they are usually for specific fields. After completing a Bachelor’s Degree, they are typically earned. They are applicable to a variety of industries, including education, veterinary medicine, engineering and chiropractic.

These are just a handful of examples.

  • Juris Doctor (J.D.). This professional degree is also known as the Doctor of Law degree. It is awarded to those who have passed the bar exam and are thus considered lawyers.
  • Doctor of Chiropractic. This field will teach you about chiropractic medicine, spine disorders, and the musculoskeletal systems. It can take anywhere from 3-4 years to complete.
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy. This degree is also known as Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). It can be considered a professional or doctoral degree. The average length of studies is 3-4 years.
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). To earn their DVM, veterinarians must complete extensive training. This degree is not easy to obtain and can take up to 4 years to complete.

Joint Degree

Some schools may allow you to simultaneously earn your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. These are sometimes called double majors. Students interested in earning two degrees or a dual major at a university and college will need to talk to their academic advisor to learn more about the program and how it will impact their workload.

These are the most common specialized degrees that you will hear of.

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There are many more available. Talk to your advisor if you are interested in a specialized degree in the field that interests you.

Are you interested in learning more about majors, degrees and careers in the field of your interest? You can use our College Major Search tool to view requirements for different programs you might be interested. You can also view information about the major, including available jobs after completion, top schools, and other details.

To find out more about the job market, including information on the median salary and top majors, you can search for careers.

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