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A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for four years, but can range from two to six years depending on the region of the world. It may also be the name of a "postgraduate" degree, such as a Bachelor of Civil Law, the Bachelor of Music, or the Bachelor of Philosophy.

Honours Degrees and academic distinctions

Under the new Britishmarker system, and those influenced by it, such as the Canadianmarker, Irishmarker, Jordanianmarker, Indianmarker, Malaysianmarker, Maltesemarker,Nigerianmarker, Sri Lankanmarker, Singaporeanmarker, Hong Kongmarker and Australian 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.

An honours degree generally requires a higher academic standard than a pass degree, and in Maltesemarker, Singaporeanmarker, Australian, New Zealandmarker, Scottishmarker, Sri Lankanmarker, Malaysianmarker, South African and some Canadian universities an extra year of study.

Previously in the UK Polytechnics, an honours degree took one more year of study than an ordinary degree. This still applies in Scotland, but in England most first degrees are now assumed to be honours degrees, although ordinary degrees are still offered by some institutions (for example The Open Universitymarker).


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

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

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

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The degrees awarded carry a designation related to the broad subject area such as BA, BSc, BEng etc. The majority of Bachelor's degrees are now honours degrees. Prior to the mid 20th century some candidates (but not, for example, at Oxford or Cambridge) would take an Ordinary degree, and then be selected to go on for a final year for the Honours degree. A first degree course is usually three years, but it might be reduced to two either by direct second year entry (for people who have done foundation degrees or changed subject or similar) or by doing compressed courses (which are being piloted by several newer universities). For funding reasons (funding for undergraduate programs is automatic, funding for postgraduate programs is not) it is becoming increasingly common to skip the Bachelor's stage entirely and go straight to Masters level on a four year (five year if with industrial experience) course (which often shares the first two years with the equivalent Bachelor's course).

Honours Degrees are of a superior academic standard. 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. An ordinary degree usually requires 300 UCAS points whereas an honours degree requires 360 Ucas points. It is possible to be awarded an ordinary degree with distinction if the average of the 300 Ucas points is 70%+.

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) awarded by the City & Guilds of London Institute are mapped to a British Honours degree.

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


Honours degrees in Nigeriamarker 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 obligatory 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 works are not precluded during the project work but are fewer courses but of advanced nature. Project works are orally defended before the faculty and peers. In the sciences and engineering a demonstration of the project is usually required. The exceptions are theoretical works where an oral defense alone suffices.


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

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

A designated degree (MA or BSc) is awarded to students who have completed three years at university studying a variety of related subjects. The first two years, 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 an "Ordinary Degree".

Southern Africa

In South Africa, an honours degree is usually a postgraduate degree in the same area as the undergraduate major, and requires an additional year of study. In the Namibianmarker and Zimbabweanmarker systems, an honours degree must include a project course that the students must complete individually, with different projects carried out by each student.

United States

Many United Statesmarker universities and colleges award bachelor's degrees with latin honors, usually (in ascending order) cum laude 'with honor/praise,' magna cum laude 'with great honor/praise,' 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. In the case of a few schools, a senior thesis for degrees in the humanities or laboratory research for natural science (and sometimes social science) degrees is also required. Three notable exceptions are the Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker, The Evergreen State Collegemarker, and Sarah Lawrence Collegemarker which do not have a dean's list, Latin honors recognition, or undergraduate honors program or subjects.

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) usually take five, and some universities and colleges allow ambitious students (usually with the help of summer school and/or high school Advanced Placement courses) to complete them in as little as three years. Some U.S. colleges and universities have a separate academic track known as an "honors" or "scholars" program, generally offered to the top percentile of students (based on GPA), that offers more challenging courses or more individually-directed seminars or research projects in lieu of the standard core curriculum. The students are awarded the same bachelor's degree as students completing the standard curriculum, but with the notation in cursu honorum on the transcript and the diploma. Usually, the above Latin honors are separate from the notation for this honors course, but a student in the honors course generally must maintain grades worthy of at least the cum laude notation anyway. 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.

English-speaking world

The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge are perhaps alone in the United Kingdom today in awarding the BA for all undergraduate degrees. Almost all American universities award both BA and BS degrees, though a number of small liberal arts colleges award only the BA. 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 Zealandmarker, Pakistanmarker, Indiamarker, 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.

A full list of British degree abbreviations is also available.


Today, the most common undergraduate degrees given are the Bachelor of Arts (Artium Baccalaureus) (BA, AB) and the Bachelor of Science (Scientiæ Baccalaureus) (BS, BSc, SB, ScB). Originally, in the universities of Oxfordmarker, Cambridgemarker and Dublinmarker, all undergraduate degrees were in the Faculty of Arts, hence the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) is an undergraduate degree that bridges academic and work-life experiences.

Since the late 19th century, most universities in the Commonwealth have followed the practice of the University of London in dividing undergraduate degree subjects other than Law, Medicine, and Engineering, into the two broad categories of arts and sciences; conferring the degree of Bachelor of Arts upon students of the former and admitting students of the latter to the degree of Bachelor of Science.

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

Three American universities—the California Institute of Technologymarker, the Georgia Institute of Technologymarker, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker— the six State Maritime Academys; as well as the five United States Service academies—the Militarymarker, Navalmarker, Air Force, Merchant Marinemarker, and Coast Guard Academies—award the Bachelor of Science for all subjects, including subjects that at other institutions would be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (such as literature). Harvard University, on the other hand, offers only the degrees "Bachelor of Arts" and "Bachelor of Liberal Arts" except to engineering students who may be awarded an SB in engineering as a supplement to the Bachelor of Arts, which still must be earned first.


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

BA Econ, BEc, BEconSc, BSc(Econ)

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

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

The Bachelor of Engineering (Baccalaureus in Arte Ingeniaria) degree or the Bachelor of Applied Science[27837] degree is a professional degree awarded to students who have completed the three or four year course of study in engineering. There are more specific variants for many subfields, such as the BSEE degree (Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering). The BAI (Baccalaureus in Arte Ingeniaria) is awarded by the University of Dublinmarker (Trinity College Dublinmarker); some South African Universities refer to their Engineering degrees as BIng (Baccalaureus Ingeniaria). The BSE (Bachelor of Software Engineering) is awarded by the University of Waterloomarker. In Indiamarker BE and AMIE (Association of Membership of Institution of Engineers) is awarded in specific discipline such as computers, electrical, electronics, mechanical, communication, civil, plastics, chemical etc. Specialization is referred into brackets e.g. "BE (computers)".


The Bachelor of Commerce (BCom, or BComm in Canada) or Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) is an undergraduate degree in general business management. Typical fields of study may include finance, accounting, marketing, and human resources.


The Bachelor of Communication (BComn) is an undergraduate degree in communication studies.


The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is an undergraduate degree given in many artistic fields, namely visual art, dance, and theatre.

BSc(IT), BComp, BCompSc, BInfTech, BAppSci(IT), BIT

The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSc IT), Bachelor of Computing (BComp), Bachelor of Computer Science (BCompSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (Information Technology) (BAppSc(IT)), are all undergraduate degrees in Information Technology often incorporating various aspects like programming, database design, software engineering, networks and information systems to prepare graduates for further postgraduate research degrees or employment in any variety of roles in the Information Technology industry.


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


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


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


The Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business or Bachelor in Management Studies is awarded to students who complete three to four years of full-time study in business administration. Such degrees often involve majors in a specific field such as accounting, finance, marketing, management, management information systems, HRM/personnel, strategic management, etc.


The Bachelor of Business Information Systems is a degree which combines IT with business study. In some institutions, this is a professionally orientated degree. As with most other bachelors degrees, the BBIS is usually awarded after 3–4 years of full time study.


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


The Bachelor of Dentistry is the degree awarded exclusively from the University of Sydney Faculty of Dentistry in Sydney, Australia. This four year degree requires a previous bachelor's degree (minimum three years) and is the only one of its kind in Australia. When dentistry at the University of Sydney was an undergraduate course (pre-2001) the degree awarded was a Bachelor of Dental Surgery and is still in use at other dental schools across Australia.


The Bachelor of Fine Arts is a specialized degree awarded for courses of study in the fine and/or performing arts, frequently by an arts school or conservatory, although it is equally available at a significant number of traditional colleges and universities. In contrast to the 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.


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


The Bachelor of Information Technology is a three year undergraduate degree covering many disciplines from within the IT industry including Software Engineering, Information Systems and Data Communications. Many of the disciplines taught as part of this degree are covered under other degrees as well, depending on the institution. For example, it may be possible to do a Software Engineering major as part of a Bachelor of Engineering, a Computer Science, or a Information Technology major as part of a Bachelor of Science. Where these are offered at the same university, there may be more focus on the technical or theoretical aspects of the subject matter, depending on which course is taken.


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


The Bachelor of Journalism degree is a professional degree awarded to students who have studied journalism at a four-year accredited university. Not all universities, however, grant this degree. In the United States, schools tend to offer the BA or BS with a major in journalism instead. The world's oldest school of journalism at the University of Missourimarker offers a BJ degree, not to be confused with the Bachelor degree in Jurisprudence at Oxford University.

BKin, BPE, BHK, BHPE, BSc(Kin)

The Bachelor of Kinesiology degree is 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 Landscape Architecture is awarded to students who complete the five year course of study in the field. For example at Texas Tech Universitymarker.


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


The Bachelor of Library Science or Bachelor of Library and Information Science is sometimes awarded to students who major in library science.

BMSc, BMedSc, BBiomedSc, BMedSci, BVMedSci

The title BMedSc or BVMedSci is granted to students who have qualified in the field of biomedical science and medical science or veterinary medical science respectively. Such universities that offer this course are the University of Western Ontariomarker in Canadamarker, University of Birminghammarker in the UKmarker and the University of New South Walesmarker, the University of Canberramarker, the University of Queenslandmarker, the University of Sydney, Flinders University, Griffith Universitymarker, Monash University, Australian National Universitymarker and the University of Melbournemarker in Australia. The degree of BMedSci 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 their undergraduate clinical training. In brief, this is normally awarded having completed successfully the first three years of an undergraduate medical degree at certain UK medical institutions.


The Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management is awarded to students who complete a four year course of study in the field. The core functions of this program are to learn organizational functions, communication, group behavior, decision making, human resource management, ethics, and to develop and deploy effective skills in management and leadership.

BM or BMus

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

BN, BNSc, BScN, BSN, BNurs

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


The Bachelor of Pharmacy was the principal academic degree for the practice of pharmacy in the United States. However, most colleges of pharmacy have phased out the degree in favor of the PharmD, or Doctor of Pharmacy, degree.

BPhil, PhB

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

BAPSY, BSc(Psych)

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

BSE, BS in Ed

The Bachelor of Science in Education is a four-year undergraduate degree offered by many US colleges and universities for those preparing to be licensed as teachers. Variants include the BEd, BA Ed, BAT (Bachelor of Arts for Teaching), and BST. Preparatory to the MS in Ed, this degree is most often taken by those interested in early childhood, elementary level, and special education, or by those planning to be school administrators. Secondary level teachers often major in their subject area instead (such as history, chemistry, or mathematics), with a minor in education.BSE is also used to designate a Bachelor of Science and Engineering, similar to a BEng (above).


The Bachelor of Science and/with Education is a degree awarded to students who complete the four- to five-year course of study in the field of science (major and minor in biology, chemistry, physics, math) and education. Although notionally BSc and BEd are two degrees, they must be taken together. The graduates will work as Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) teacher in high schools, lecturer in pre-university colleges and matriculation centres and can progress to post-graduate programs (M. Sc. and PhD) in various areas in Science or Education.


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


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


The Bachelor of Social Science is a three or four year undergraduate British degree that enables students to specialize in the area of social science. 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.


The Bachelor of Veterinary Science is a five-year course of study that is generally required for becoming a veterinarian. It is also known as the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at some universities.


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


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

BMath and BMathSc

The Bachelor of Mathematics or Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences degree is offered as a 4 year honors program or a 3 year general program. Several universities, mostly in Canada and Australia award such degrees.


There are many other specialised bachelor's degrees offered. Some are in very specialised areas, like the five-year BID or BSID degree in industrial design. Others are offered only at a limited number of universities, such as the Walsh School of Foreign Servicemarker at Georgetown Universitymarker's Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS). The University of Delaware offers a Bachelor's of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree for many majors within their school of Arts and Science, which often indicate an interdisciplinary course of study.[27838] Stanford Universitymarker's BAS (Bachelor of Arts and Sciences) degree is for students completing two Arts and Sciences majors, one of which would ordinarily lead to the BA while the other would ordinarily lead to the BS, but who are receiving only one degree.

At many institutions one can only complete a two-degree program if the 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 University System in most African countries follow the model of their patron countries. For example, the Nigerian University System is similar to the British system while the Ivorian system is akin to the French.


University Admission is extremely competitive with attendant advantages and disadvantages. Nonetheless, it takes four to five to complete a Bachelors degree. Its may take considerably longer to finish an undergraduate degree due to strikes (never more than an extra year). In cases of poor performance time limit is double the standard amount of time. For example one may not study for more than 10 years a five year course. Students are normally asked to leave if they must take longer. Nigerian Universities offer B.Sc., B. Tech (Usually from Universities of Technology), B. Arch (six years) and other specialized undergraduate degrees. Science undergraduate degree's may require 6 months or a semester dedicated to SIWES (Students Industrial Work Exchange Scheme) but its 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 classification of degrees are: First Class, Second Class (Upper and Lower), Third Class (with honours i.e. B.Sc.(Hons)) and a Pass (No Honours). First class and second class graduates are immediately eligible for advanced post graduate degrees i.e. M.Sc.'s and PhD's but other classes may be required to do an additional post graduate diploma before such eligibility.

Furthermore, all graduating students are obliged to do the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) which usually takes one year before degrees are granted. The NYSC is a paramilitary service entailing students being posted to different parts of the country to serve in various capacities. A few principal objectives of the NYSC is to forge national cohesion, encourage students to apply their obtained knowledge to solving problems of rural Nigeria and so on. The NYSC was enacted after the Nigerian Civil war.

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 B.Sc. and HND are sometimes compared in engineering circles but there are significant differences in training philosophies.

Asia Pacific

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


In Australia the award of Honours is given to students who have achieved a higher level of performance in a fourth additional year to a typical Bachelor degree. Some bachelor degrees have inclusive Honours as part of a four year degree (such as engineering). This Honours year generally consists of half coursework units and half thesis for professional courses such as engineering, but is more often entirely research towards a thesis in more general degrees. Honours is generally for those who want to take up a research track for postgraduate studies. Differing between universities is the marking scale for Honours. Generally 65 - 75(Third class), 75 - 85 (second class (broken down into A and B or First Division and Second Division), 85+ (First class). First class and Second class First division is generally the standard required for entry into a PhD or Masters by Research in Australia.


In Bangladeshmarker, universities and colleges award three and four year degrees(3 years degree are called pass course & four years degree are called honours course) in science & BUSINESS (BSc,BBS,BBA,etc.) and three and four year degrees in arts (BA, BSS, etc.). Engineering universities provide four year degree programs for bachelor’s degrees. Medical colleges have 5 year degree programme. In law education there is two year LLB degree after completing 3 years in BA program for a total of five years of study.& there is also 4 years LLB honours degree All of these programs begin after achieving Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC— in total 12 years of education).


Since the undergraduate education system in Chinamarker is modeled after its American counterpart, all the degrees are adapted from those of the United States but except the release of degree certificate. While students fulfilled his/her course requiremnts, a graduate certificate will be given to student. In order to get the degree, they must finish and pass the dissertation stage, then they will award a degree credentialed by education bureau. Four years education is almost a standard length, although some private small colleges do offer 3 year programs, which cannot award a degree credentialed by education bureau. Normally, about 90% graduates can obtain a degree, however, no degree is awarded with excellency or honor. It is also referred as a "xueshi" (学士).


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

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


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


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

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 require four years of study. A Bachelor of Medicine 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 conjoint 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, and usually with the help of summer school. Students who complete a conjoint 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 thesis. An Honours award is credited with 'Hons.', for example, 'Bachelor of Laws (Hons.)'.


In Pakistan, arts, commerce and science colleges provide four year bachelor's degrees (BA, BSc, BBA, BCom, etc.). Generally these programs are of four years duration and begin after secondary school year 12. After successful completion of these programs, a Bachelor's degree is awarded by the respective university to which the college is affiliated. Generally BCom & BA are for two years and could be enrolled as external candidate (external candidate are enrolled for examination & study program on self basis or through private tution providers). Main university offering these two programs is University of Karachi where more than 10,000 students appear in BA & BCom exam as external candidates.

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


In the Philippines, where the term "course" is commonly used to refer to a bachelor's degree 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, radiologic technology, nursing, architecture and engineering fall under Science in most colleges and universities. The latter two specializations require five years of schooling, in contrast to the standard of four years. Other common degrees are Bachelor in Education (BEd), and Bachelor of Laws (LLB, a graduate degree). Being patterned after the United States, all universities and colleges offer graduation with honors — cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude.

Republic of Korea

Universities, colleges and institution of higher learning provide a bachelor's degree, called 'haksa' ( ). For example, a university graduate student having majored in literature obtains BA, called 'munhaksa' ( ). Even if not going to educational institutes, people can get a bachelor's degree through Bachelor's Degree Examination for Self-Education.

Sri Lanka

Recognised institutes of higher learning only are authorised to award degrees in Sri Lankamarker. Three years full time bachelor's degree without an area of specialization is known as a general degree (BA, BSc, etc). A degree with a specialization (in Economics, Engineering, IT, Law, etc.) is known as a special degree (BA(Economics Special),BSc(Chemistry Special),BSc(Engineering),LLB, etc), and requires four years of study and more entrance qualifications. A Degree in Medicine, an MBBS requires a minimum of five years. In the British tradition, all degrees are classifed as First Class Honors, Second Class Upper Division, Second Class Lower Division, or ordinary, irrespective of whether it is a general degree or a special degree.

Latin America

Usually the region presents bachelors, masters, doctoral and post-doctoral degrees.


In Brazil a Bachelors degree takes from 4 to 6 years until completion. A Bachelors degree is the title sought by Brazilians in order to be a professional in a certain area of human knowledge. Masters and Doctors are additional degrees for those seeking an academic career.

Comparison Brazil-Europe
  • Brazil-Europe: there is no direct equivalence between a Brazilian "Bachelors" and a European "Bachelors". While a Brazilian "Bachelors" takes 4 to 6 years for completion, as well as usually a written thesis, European "Bachelors" can be finished in 2–3 years, after which time Europeans embark on a 1-2 year program called "Masters" according to the Bologna Process. Also only then are Europeans required to write a final dissertation work. This means that Europeans can achieve a "Masters" degree in as little as 3 years (2 year Bachelors, 1 year Masters), and as long as 5 years (3 years Bachelors, 2 years Masters). Therefore the Brazilian "Bachelors" should be compared to the European "Masters". Neither Europe nor Brazil recognize the equivalence of the titulation for the pursue of doctoral degrees

  • Brazil-USA: the Brazilian Bachelors could be compared to the Bachelors Hons in the USA. Masters and Doctors could be directly comparable
See also Universities and Higher Education in Brazil


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


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


In accordance with the agreements made in the Bologna process, the system of higher education in Belgiummarker was reformed. A 3-year Bachelor training was introduced to replace the former 2- or 3-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.


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

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


The traditional bachelor's degree is the equivalent of the French "Licence" 3 years degree. Since the new European system of 2004 "LMD" Bologna process was founded, it has become standard to recognize a Bachelor's over three years, a Master's over two years and a doctorate over three.


Bachelor's degrees, called Bakkalaureus, originally existed in Germany, but were abolished up until 1820 as part of educational reforms at this time. The Matura degree---the final degree received in school after a specialized 'colloge 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, 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 3 years of study) in Germany. Today these degrees can be called either Bakkalaureus or Bachelor (in accordance with federal law) but the English term is more common. The traditional degrees will be abolished by 2010.

The traditional degrees have been re-mapped to the new 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 or 210 ECTS points required
Diplom FH: Traditional, 240 ECTS
Diplom Uni or TH: Traditional, 300 ECTS
Master: New, also 300 ECTS (including Bachelor)

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


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

Republic of Macedonia

In 2003 the German style education system was changed to conform to the new European Credit Transfer System, 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 2003/2004, the Dutch degree system was changed to abide to international standards, because of the Bologna process. Former degrees such as the 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.), ingenieur (ing. for those having graduated from a university of applied science (HBO in Dutch) after 4 years, corresponding to a BEng or a BASc, and ir. for those having graduated from university after 5 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.) are still granted along with their international equivalents. 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 behind one's own name.

Bachelor's degrees are granted by both accredited colleges and universities. For colleges after four years of education a bachelor's degree is obtained (e.g. BCom, BEng but no BA or BSc); in the future, the degrees BAA and BASc will be introduced for college graduates. For universities (incl. the honours liberal arts colleges which are locally called university college) after three years of education a degree is granted (BA, BSc and LLB)

Whether a bachelor's degree is granted by a college or university makes a lot of difference. BAs from a university grant 'immediate' entry into a master's program (and are usually considered a formality to allow students entering foreign universities master's programs), bachelor degrees from a college require an extra 'bridge year' (often called a 'pre-master' year) to be allowed into a master's program, since university bachelors are already tutored in research fields, whereas college bachelors are not. Granted degrees may be used as suffixes (e.g. "Jan Jansen BSc").

Many Dutch universities have recently started offering Honours programs / tracks to extra talented students. These are in some cases e.g. Roosevelt Academy Middelburg,University College Utrecht, Utrecht Law College, University College Maastricht called colleges but are nevertheless types of university education.


In Poland, the licentiate degree corresponds to the Bachelor's degree in Anglophone countries. In Polish it's called licencjat. To get the Bachelor degree one needs to finish a 3-year study. There's also a similar degree called Engineer (inżynier) which differs from Bachelor that in the program there are more technical subjects and it lasts for 3,5 years. After that a student can continue education for 2 or 1,5 year to obtain the Master degree (magister).


Presently the Portuguese equivalent of a bachelor's degree is the licenciatura, awarded after three years of study at an accredited university or polytechnical institution. It is an undergraduate 1st study cycle program which is required to advance into further studies like 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 bachelors plus the masters) but this was changed due to the European uniformization of scholarship degrees.

Russia and Ukraine

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


In Spain the traditional system (up to 2009/2010) was split in two categories of undergraduates degrees. There were so-called first-cycle degrees: "Diplomado" or "Ingeniero Técnico", both 3-year. There were also second-cycle degrees: "Licenciado" or "Ingeniero" with nominal durations varying between 4 and 6 years. The master's degree was not part of the structure of the official Spanish educational system. Therefore, although universities and other institutions offered master's studies, they were not officially recognized. In fact, the official second-cycle degrees are comparable in terms of duration, scope and educational outcomes to a Bachelor's + Master's combination if compared with the anglo-Saxon system. In the traditional system the access to doctoral studies was granted only to the holders of "Licenciado" or "Ingeniero Superior" degrees. Due to the ongoing transition to a model compliant with the Bologna agreement, an exact equivalent to the typical anglo-Saxon bachelor's degree is being implemented progressively and is called "Título de Grado", its duration generally being four years. The "Título de Grado" is now the prerequisite for graduate studies (master's or doctoral).


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


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

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery

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

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

See also


  1. "Two-year Honours Degrees Offered: The 'fast-track' Degrees Will Be Piloted at Five Universities". BBC News, April 18, 2006, accessed October 8, 2007: "Students in England can do honours degrees in two years, under new 'fast track' plans to save time and money."
  2. University of Zimbabwe Academic Registry. (2005) General Academic Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees of the University of Zimbabwe.
  3. page xiii of The University of London and the World of Learning, 1836-1986 By Francis Michael Longstreth Thompson Published by Continuum International Publishing Group, 1990 ISBN 9781852850326
  4. Nigerian Universities Commission
  5. National Youth Service Corps
  6. Citizens' questions. Dutch Department of Education, Culture and Science.
  7. What for title may I bear after completing a promotion? Postbus 51.
  8. Note: the English prefix 'Mr.' corresponds to the Dutch prefix 'mr.', meaning a 'meester in de rechten', i.e. a Master of Law, or the English equivalent LL.M.

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