For aspiring students, there are multiple degree options at the undergraduate, graduate, and certificate level, all of which serve different purposes. If you’re not sure which degree is right for you, you should start by determining your personal and professional goals. The type of degree program you should enroll in will also depend greatly on your existing level of education.
Undergraduate programs award associate and bachelor’s degrees. Associate degrees typically take two years to complete and include general education courses, such as English, math, and humanities, and/or vocational training. Bachelor’s degrees typically take around four years to complete, with courses tailored to a specific major. Students can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, which is generally offered in liberal arts and sciences programs, or a Bachelor of Science degree, which is awarded in technical fields like engineering, natural sciences, computer science, and mathematics.
Graduate degrees are for those who have earned a bachelor’s degree and wish to continue their studies at an advanced level. They include master’s degrees, most commonly either a Master of Arts or Master of Science, and Ph.D. degrees, which are the highest academic degrees that can be earned. Other advanced degrees include professional awards such as a Doctor of Medicine or Juris Doctor.
Additionally, there are certification and continuing education programs for those who want to develop occupational skills, specialize in a particular subfield, or gain additional credentials. These types of programs are available at all education levels and include post-baccalaureate, post-master’s, vocational, and professional certificates.