Bachelor's degree

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

Honours degrees and academic distinctions

Under the new English system, and those influenced by it, such as the American, Canadian, Irish, Jordanian, Indian, Malaysian, Maltese, Sri Lankan, Singaporean, Zimbabwean, and Hong Kong, undergraduate degrees are differentiated either as pass degrees or as honours degrees, the latter sometimes denoted by the appearance of "(Hons)" after the degree abbreviation.[citation needed] An honours degree generally requires a higher academic standard than a pass degree, and in Malta, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Sri Lankan, South Africa, and some Canadian universities an extra year of study. Previously in the UK Polytechnics, an honours degree took one more year of study than an ordinary degree. This applies in Scotland with ordinary MA and MA(Hons) degrees (which are the equivalent of English first (BA) degrees). In England now, most first degrees are assumed to be honours as Third Class honours is actually a relatively low standard. In Scotland there also exist Designated Degrees. But other universities such as MIT does not make any such distinctions as it believes that graduating is an honorable achievement in itself.


Many major universities in Canada no longer offer a pass degree; instead they offer an honours degree. An example of this can be taken from the University of Toronto, Canada's largest university and North America's third largest public research university. To receive a bachelor's honours degree at the University of Toronto, an undergraduate student must accomplish the following:

  • complete 20 full year credits or the equivalent
  • complete either a specialist program, two majors, or one major and two minors
  • maintain a GPA above 1.85

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 all candidates would take an Ordinary degree, and then be selected to go on for a final year for the Honours degree. Now this may 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).[1]. 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 three years with the equivalent Bachelor's course).

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

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

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


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

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

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

United States

Many U.S. universities and colleges award bachelor's degrees with honors -- usually "cum laude" (with honor/praise), "magna cum laude" (with great honor/praise), the occasionally seen "maxima cum laude" (with maximal honor/praise), and "summa cum laude" (with highest honor/praise) -- degrees without honors are awarded "rite".[citation needed] Requirements for such notations of honors generally include minimum Grade Point Averages (GPA), with the highest average required for the "summa" distinction. In the case of a few schools, a senior thesis for degrees in the humanities, and laboratory research for "natural science" (and, sometimes, "social science") degrees is also required. A notable exception is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which does not have a dean's list, cum laude recognition, or undergraduate honors subjects. Some schools require students to pass comprehensive exams in order to receive a bachelor's degree.

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

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

As of 2003, about one in four U.S. adults (27 percent) above the age of 25 had attained at least a bachelor’s degree, the highest percentage ever.[2]

English-speaking world

BA, AB, BS, BSc, SB, ScB

Today, the most common undergraduate degrees given are the Bachelor of Arts (Artium Baccalaureus) (BA, AB) and the Bachelor of Science (Scientiæ Baccalaureus) (BS, BSc, SB, ScB). Originally, in the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Trinity College Dublin, all undergraduate degrees were in the Faculty of Arts, hence the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Since the late 19th century, most universities in the English-speaking world have followed the practice of the University of London[citation needed] in dividing undergraduate degree subjects into the two broad categories of arts and sciences, awarding the degree of Bachelor of Science to students of the latter category of subjects.

In the United States, many colleges (particularly what are known as "liberal arts colleges") and universities award the BA for all "academic" subjects (whether it be for English or for Chemistry, for example) — often these colleges and colleges within universities only offer academic (rather than pre-professional) courses. Schools that have professional training ("Police Science", "Finance", "Nursing", and so on) often reserve the BS degree for these subjects. Some schools award the BA for humanities academic courses and the BS for courses in the natural sciences and/or the 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 (for example, at the University of Chicago); in that case, the BS program is typically the more strenuous of the two. At least two American schools (Caltech, MIT) and the five service academies (United States Military Academy, United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, United States Merchant Marine Academy and United States Coast Guard Academy) award the BS for all subjects, including, e.g., Literature.

BS, BA Econ, BSc(Econ)

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

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

The Bachelor of Engineering (Baccalaureus in Arte Ingeniaria) degree or the Bachelor of Applied Science[1] degree is a professional degree awarded to students who have completed the three or four year course of study in engineering. There are more specific variants for many subfields, such as the BSEE degree (Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering). The BAI is awarded by the University of Dublin (Trinity College Dublin). Some South African Universities refer to their Engineering degrees as BIng (Baccalaureus Ingeniaria) .


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


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


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


The Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration is awarded to students who complete the three to four years course of study in business administration, usually majoring in a specific field of business administration such as economics, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, management, Public Administration, Management Information Systems etc.


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


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


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


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


Template:Advert The Bachelor of Innovation (BI) is a family of degrees focused on the multi-disciplinary aspects of the innovation process. There are BI majors in Business Administration, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Security as well as Game Design and Development. In addition to the major component, similar to the BS in the associated field, the BI has a common core in innovation, a cross-disciplinary core and a strong experiential component. The degree is offered only by University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.


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


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


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


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


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


The title BMedSc is granted to students who have qualified in the field of Biomedical Science and Medical Science. Such universities that offer this course are the University of Birmingham in UK and UNSW, the University of Sydney, Flinders University, Griffith University, Monash University and the University of Melbourne in Australia.

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.

BN, BNSc, BScN, BSN, BNurs

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


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


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


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

BSE, BS in Ed

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

BSc Ed

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


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


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


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


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


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

The University of Delaware offers a Bachelor's of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree for many majors within their school of Arts and Science. These degrees often indicate an interdisciplinary course of study. [2]

Asia Pacific

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


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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


The Bachelor degree was re-introduced at universities in Denmark in 1993, after the original degree baccalaureus was abandoned in 1775. The bachelor degree is awarded after 3 years of study at a university. Two bachelor degrees are used at university level today:

  • Bachelor of Science (BSc), awarded to students with main focus on scientific, medical or technical areas.
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA), awarded to students with main focus on humanistic, theological or jurisprudence areas.

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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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


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

Russia and Ukraine

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


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.

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery

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

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

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

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

New bachelor's degrees

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

Some of these new degrees and their abbreviations include:

A full list of British degree abbreviations is also available.

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. United States Census Bureau, Template:PDFlink, accessed September 1, 2006.

External links

Template:Academic degrees

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