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Levels and Requirements For a College Degrees


College Degrees in Order The Ultimate Overview

Bachelor’s and master’s doctoral degrees differ in requirements, lengths, and prerequisites. Most college degrees are classified into four classes: bachelor’s, associate master’s, master’s, and doctoral. The college degree levels vary in length, requirements, and outcomes. Each degree program is designed to meet students’ desires and professional ambitions.

Understanding the college degree levels can help you choose the degree that best suits your requirements and could save time or money.

Levels and Requirements For a College Degrees

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College Degree Levels

The majority of bachelor’s degrees last four years or less. Graduate programs may last between 12 months and ten years. The requirements for college degrees are unique to each institution, and needs, curricula, and outcomes vary depending on the degree.

Associate Degree

Typical Length of Time to Complete
1-2 years

Typical Required Credits
60 credit hours

Typically offered by community and technical schools, an associate degree comprises about two years of instruction. The discipline of study will determine the length. Students can also fulfill the practical requirements. Practical and internships are common in health and technology-related programs.

Candidates must have, at minimum, the equivalent of a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition, certain schools might require applicants to provide test results to be admitted.

A variety of associate degree programs help students enter the workforce upon completion. A degree earned through associates also serves as a bachelor’s program basis.

A certificate of an applied associate degree in accounting or other education or technical fields could be a pathway to entry-level positions in teaching, finance, or information and computing technology. An associate of Arts degree provides introductory courses to earn a bachelor of arts, and an associate’s degree provides students with the necessary skills to earn a bachelor of science degree.

Associate degrees are classified into three different categories.

Featured Online Associate’sDegrees

Bachelor’s Degree

Typical Length of Time to Complete

Four years

Typical Required Credits

120 credit hours

Public and private institutions and universities provide bachelor’s degrees, which include approximately 120 credit hours of study. To be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, students must possess the equivalent of a high school diploma. In addition, applicants may need to provide ACT and SAT scores based on the institution. Candidates with an associate’s degree may also apply to a bachelor’s degree program, typically transferring up to 60 hours of credit toward the degree.

A bachelor’s degree’s initial two academic years comprise general educational requirements and introductory classes to a student’s chosen major. In the second and third years, students are required to take advanced courses in their chosen major. In addition, students can be required to complete a cumulative capstone, such as a paper or requirements.

With a bachelor’s level, students can work in information and computer technology, education, and healthcare. The field of study will determine whether an undergraduate degree is required to be able to fill mid-level or managerial jobs.

A variety of bachelor’s degree types are available:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS)
  • Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BS)

Featured Online Bachelor’s Degrees

Master’s Degree

Typical Length of Time to Complete


Typical Required Credits

30 credit hours

The wide variety of master’s degrees illustrates the demands, outcomes, and opportunities associated with earning the master’s diploma. Master’s degrees include courses, projects, and research requirements. They typically culminate with a capstone project or a cumulative exam. Master’s program applicants must have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. In addition, certain universities have requirements for GRE and GMAT scores to be considered for admission.

Professionals in the workforce and those looking to advance into management and administrative positions benefit from master’s degrees. In addition, a master’s program can lead to doctoral studies in a particular field. Finally, students may be eligible for a scholarship to help them pay the cost of their master’s.

Although master’s degrees typically take two years to complete, however, students may complete their accelerated master’s degrees in only twelve months.

Featured Online Master’s Degrees

Doctoral Degree

Typical Length of Time to Complete

2-10 years old

Typical Required Credits


Doctoral degrees are the highest degree of formal education that is available. Postgraduate programs offer classes, comprehensive exams, research requirements, and a dissertation. Doctoral degrees require that students have at least a master’s degree. However, specific doctoral programs incorporate a master’s degree in the course. Doctoral programs typically have an exact timeframe for completion. However, specific doctoral programs can last for several years because of the nature of the research as well as the submission of the dissertation.

A Ph.D. is required for teaching in higher education institutions in numerous fields. With a doctorate, those working in the business field can be promoted to the executive post. Lawyers require a JD, doctors require an MD or osteopath doctor (DO), and chiropractors need the DCM to practice.

Below are a few doctoral degrees that students may be awarded.


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