Bachelor's degree

A bachelor's degree (from Middle Latin baccalaureus) or baccalaureate (from Modern Latin baccalaureatus) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to seven years (depending on institution and academic discipline). In some institutions and educational systems, some bachelor's degrees can only be taken as graduate or postgraduate degrees after a first degree has been completed. In countries with qualifications frameworks, bachelor's degrees are normally one of the major levels in the framework (sometimes two levels where non-honours and honours bachelor's degrees are considered separately), although some qualifications titled bachelor's degrees may be at other levels (e.g., MBBS) and some qualifications with non-bachelor's titles may be classified as bachelor's degrees (e.g. the Scottish MA and Canadian MD).

The term bachelor in the 12th century referred to a knight bachelor, who was too young or poor to gather vassals under his own banner. By the end of the 13th century, it was also used by junior members of guilds or universities. By folk etymology or wordplay, the word baccalaureus came to be associated with bacca lauri ("laurel berry") in reference to laurels being awarded for academic success or honours.[1]

Under the British system, and those influenced by it, undergraduate academic degrees are differentiated between honours degrees (sometimes denoted by the addition of "(Hons)" after the degree abbreviation) and non-honours degrees (known variously as pass degrees, ordinary degrees or general degrees).[2]

An honours degree generally requires a higher academic standard than a pass degree, and in some systems an additional year of study beyond the non-honours bachelor's. Some countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, have a postgraduate "bachelor with honours" degree. This may be taken as a consecutive academic degree, continuing on from the completion of a bachelor's degree program in the same field, or as part of an integrated honours program. These programs typically require completion of a full-year long research thesis project.



In most African countries, the university systems follow the model of their former colonizing power. For example, the Nigerian university system is similar to the British system, while the Ivorian system is akin to the French.


Bachelor's degrees in Algerian universities are called "الليسانس" in Arabic or la licence in French; the degree normally takes three years to complete and is a part of the LMD ("license", "master", "doctorate") reform, students can enroll in a bachelor's degree program in different fields of study after having obtained their baccalauréat (the national secondary education test). The degree is typically identical to the program of France's universities, as specified in the LMD reform. Bachelor's degree programs cover most of the fields in Algerian universities, except some fields, such as Medicine and Pharmaceutical Science.


Bachelor's degrees at the University of Botswana normally take four years. The system draws on both British and American models. Degrees are classified as First Class, Second Class Division One (2:1), Second Class Division Two (2:2) and Third as in English degrees, but without being described as honours. The main degrees are named by British tradition (Arts, Science, Law, etc.), but in recent years there have been a number of degrees named after specific subjects, such as Bachelor of Library and Information.


In Morocco, a bachelor's degree is referred to as al-ʾijāzah (Arabic, French: licence). The course of study takes three years, which are further divided into two cycles. The first cycle comprises the first, or propaedeutic, year. After successfully completing their first two years, students can pursue either theoretical specialization (études fondamentales) or professional specialization (études professionnelles). The second cycle is one year after whose completion students receive the licence d'études fondamentales or the licence professionnelle.[3] This academic degree system was introduced in September 2003.[4]


University admission is extremely competitive, with attendant advantages and disadvantages. Nonetheless, it takes four to five years to complete a bachelor's degree. In cases of poor performance, the time limit is double the standard amount of time. For example, one may not study for more than 10 years for 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, such as B.Eng. Science undergraduate degrees may require six months or a semester dedicated to SIWES (Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme) but it is 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 classifications of degrees: first-class, second-class (upper and lower), third-class (with honours; i.e., B.Sc. (Hons)) and a pass (no honours). First- and second-class graduates are immediately eligible for advanced postgraduate degrees (i.e., M.Sc. and Ph.D.), but other classes may be required for an additional postgraduate diploma before such eligibility.[5]

Furthermore, all graduating students are obliged to do the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) requirement, which usually takes one year, after which they are eligible to pursue higher degrees. The NYSC is a paramilitary service that involves students' being posted to different parts of the country to serve in various capacities. Principal objectives of the NYSC are to forge national cohesion, encourage students to apply their obtained knowledge to solving problems of rural Nigeria, and others. The NYSC was established by law after the Nigerian Civil War.[6]

Polytechnical schools (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 compared in engineering circles, but there are significant differences in training philosophies.

Honours degrees in Nigeria 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 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 work is not precluded during the project work, but the courses are fewer and are at an advanced level. Project work is orally defended before the faculty and before peers. In the sciences and engineering a demonstration of the project is usually required. The exceptions are theoretical work, for which a media project is required.

South Africa

In South Africa, an honours degree is an additional postgraduate qualification in the same area as the undergraduate major, and requires at least one further year of study as well as a research report.


In Tunisia, a bachelor's degree is referred to as al-ʾijāzah in Arabic, or la license in French; the degree takes three years to complete and is a part of the LMD (license, master, doctorat) reform, students can enroll in a bachelor's degree program in different fields of study after having obtained their baccalauréat (the national secondary education test). The degree is typically identical to the program of France's universities, as specified in the LMD reform. Most universities in Tunisia offer the 3-year bachelor's degree, except some fields, which are Medicine, Pharmacy, Engineering, Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, solely offered by Tunis Business School and lasts 4 years.[7]


In Kenya, university education is supported by the government,.[8] A bachelor's degree is awarded to students who successfully complete a three to seven-year course depending on the area of study. For most degree programs, a research project and an internship period after which a report is written by the student is a must before the student is allowed to graduate. In 2012, a number of select colleges were upgraded to university status in a bid to increase the intake of students into degree programs.[9]



In Bangladesh, universities and colleges award three- and four-year degrees (three-year degrees courses are called pass courses and four-year degree courses are called honours courses) in science and business (B.Sc., B.B.S., B.B.A., four-year and three months[clarification needed], etc.) and three- and four-year degrees in arts (B.A., B.S.S., etc.). Engineering universities provide four-year degree programs for bachelor's degree courses of study (B.Sc. in Eng and B.Sc.). Medical colleges have five-year degree programmes (MBBS, BDS). In law education there is a two-year LL.B. degree after completing three years in a B.A. program for a total of five years of study. There is also a four-year LL.B. honours degree. The Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) and Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm.) are professional degrees awarded to students who complete a five-year course of study in the field at some universities. All of these programs begin after achieving the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC—in total 12 years of school education).


Since the undergraduate education system in China is modeled after its American counterpart, all the degrees are adapted from those of the United States excepting the release of the degree certificate. Once a student has fulfilled his/her course requirements, a graduate certificate will be given. In order to get the degree, a student must finish and pass the dissertation stage; only then will he or she be awarded a degree credentialed by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China. Four years of education is the standard length, although some private small colleges not credentialed by the Ministry of Education do offer three-year programs. Normally, about 90% of graduates are able to obtain a degree; however, no degree is awarded with excellence or honor. It is also referred to as a "Xueshi" (学士).


The colonial link and the establishment of the University of the South Pacific in 1968 allowed the education system to follow suit from the qualification system of the Commonwealth. University of the South Pacific is the only university in the Oceania region to be internationally recognized outside Australia and New Zealand with its bachelor's and other awards program. It is also the highest ranked in the university ranking in the island region and also ranked above some Australian universities like the University of Canberra, University of Sunshine Coast and New Zealand universities like Lincoln University and Waikato Institute of Technology.[10]


Bachelor's degrees in India normally take 3 years of study to complete, although courses like B.E./B.Tech. or MBBS take longer. A BE/BTech usually takes 4 years, while an MBBS usually takes 5 years to complete. Most of the Science, Commerce, and Arts degrees are honours degrees with electives chosen by the student.

Common bachelor's degrees and abbreviations:

  • Bachelor of Arts: BA
  • Bachelor of Business Administration: BBA
  • Bachelor of Science: BSc
  • Bachelor of Commerce: Bcom
  • Bachelor of Computer Applications: BCA
  • Bachelor of Laws: LLB
  • Bachelor of Engineering: BE
  • Bachelor of Technology: BTech
  • Bachelor of Education: BEd (BEd degrees are offered after completion of a 3-year undergraduate coursework.)
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery: MBBS

For academic grading system in India, refer to this page.

Students usually start their Bachelor's after completing their Secondary School coursework(also known as +2) from a state or private board.


In Iran, students can study different undergraduate or postgraduate courses leading to a BSc or an MSc that is recognised and equivalent to similar qualifications given in other countries. There are basically two major type of universities in Iran, public universities and non-public universities. Most of non-public universities in Iran are part of Islamic Azad University, which have branches in all cities through Iran. In Iran, the public universities have considerably higher standing than the non-public ones and getting an admittance to one of them is more difficult. Students can also provide four years of education leading to a B.Sc.


In Indonesia, most of the current bachelor's degrees are domain-specific degrees. Therefore, there are probably more than 20 bachelor's degrees. For instance, S.Psi for Sarjana Psikologi (literally translated as "Bachelor of Psychology/B.Psy., B.A."), S.T. for Sarjana Teknik (literally translated as "Bachelor of Engineering"), S.Si. for Sarjana Sains (literally translated as "Bachelor of Science"), S.Farm for Sarjana Farmasi (literally translated as "Bachelor of Pharmacy"), S.E for Sarjana Ekonomi (literally translated as "Bachelor of Economy"), S.Kom. for Sarjana Ilmu Komputer (literally translated as "Bachelor of Computer Science"), or S.Sos. for Sarjana Ilmu Sosial (literally translated as "Bachelor of Social Sciences"). In the past, the Indonesian academic system adopted the old European/western degrees, such as the Ir (insinyur from Dutch ingenieur) for an engineering degree and the common academic degree (doktorandus from Dutch and ultimately Latin doctorandus) for a degree in either social or natural sciences.


Since the undergraduate education system in Jordan is modeled after its American counterpart, all the degrees are adapted from those of the United States excepting the release of the degree certificate. Once a student has fulfilled his/her course requirements, a graduate certificate will be given. In order to get the degree, a student must finish and pass the dissertation stage; only then will he or she be awarded a degree credentialed by the Ministry of Higher Education of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Four years of education is the standard length.


In Nepal, the bachelor's degree was initially a three-year program for courses like Bachelor of Business Studies ( B.B.S.), Bachelor of Sciences (B.Sc.)., Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.), Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from Tribhuvan University, Pokhara University, Purbanchal University and Kathmandu University but now it is mostly a four-year program for new courses like Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), Bachelor of Business Information System (B.B.I.S.), Bachelor of Information Management (B.I.M.), Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.), Bachelor of Science in Computer Studies and Information Technology (B.Sc).C.S.I.T. Some bachelor's programs are still three years long, such as the Bachelor of Arts (B.A) and Bachelor of Education (B.Ed). It is completed after 10+2 level (High School) or Diploma or any other equivalent level of studies. Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A), Bachelor of Information Management (B.I.M.), Bachelor of Business Information Systems (B.B.I.S.), Bachelor of Engineering, and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Information Technology (B.Sc.C.S.I.T.) are a few popular bachelor's degree programs. B.Sc. and B.B.Sc. have recently turned into four-year programs from three-year programs. In Nepal, Tribhuvan University as an oldest and biggest University based on number of student and academic department, Kathmandu University, Purbanchal University, Pokhara University, Nepal Sanskrit University and other new regional universities are operating currently. M.B.A. and B.B.A. from all universities are examined under the system of percentage and G.P.A, and traditional university courses are accessed on division base like pass division, second division, first division and distinction. In Nepal, there is no top up, honors and exchange or related tie up degree courses authorized and practiced by Nepalese Government and other educational institutions, but today, affiliation with foreign universities, online and distance learning are popular with the young modern working population. M.B.A., B.B.A., B. Pharmacy, B. Sc. Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing (B.N.), B. E. are in high professional demand in Nepalese market. For admission in a University, a compulsory admission test given by the respective University is to be passed by a student in order to get placement in an affiliated college of that University for the specific subject category. In the test, a separate quota is also awarded for females and disadvantaged groups to create diversity and equality.


Institutes of higher learning in Malaysia provide three or four years of education leading to a B.Sc. Hons Degree. The standards of categorization is almost consistent among Malaysian Universities. Candidates who excel in their academic results will be awarded a First Class Bachelor Hons Degree (usually 3.67 CGPA and above), followed by Class Second Upper (usually between 3.00–3.66 CGPA), Class Second Lower (usually 2.50–2.99 CGPA), Class Three (usually 2.00–2.49 CGPA) and General Degree (Without Honours), for usually 1.99 and below CGPA candidates.


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 as elsewhere in the world and begin after completing higher secondary school education by receiving a Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) acknowledging one's twelve years of study by the respective board. After successful completion of these programs, a bachelor's degree is awarded by the respective university. Engineering and medical colleges provide four- and five-year degree programs, respectively, for bachelor's degrees (BE/BS/BSc Engg and MBBS) that also begin after higher secondary school year 12. The Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree program is of five 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 (B.Sc.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A. or A.B.). Specializations ("majors") in economics, business administration, social work, agriculture, nursing, accountancy, architecture and engineering are offered as B.S. degrees in most colleges and universities. The latter three specializations require five years of schooling, in contrast to the standard of four years. Other common degrees are Bachelor in Education (B.Ed.) and Bachelor of Laws (LL.B., a professional 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 institutions of higher learning provide the bachelor's degree, called 'haksa' (Korean: 학사). For example, a university student who majored in literature and graduates obtains a B.A., called 'munhaksa' (Korean: 문학사). Even if he or she does not go to an institution of higher learning, a person can get a bachelor's degree through the Bachelor's Degree Examination for Self-Education.

Sri Lanka

Recognised institutes of higher learning only are authorised to award degrees in Sri Lanka. Three years full-time bachelor's degree without an area of specialization is known as a general degree. A degree with a specialization (in accounting, chemistry, plant biotechnology, zoology, physics, engineering, IT, law, etc.) is known as an honours degree and requires four years (120 credits or more) of study and more entrance qualifications. A degree in medicine, an M.B.B.Sc., requires a minimum of six years.



In Australia, a "bachelor degree"[11] is normally a three to four-year program, leading to a qualification at level 7 of the Australian Qualifications Framework.[12] Entry to a number of professions, such as law practice and teaching, require a bachelor's degree (a 'professional' degree). Other degrees, such as Bachelor of Arts don't necessarily elicit entry into a profession, though many organisations require a bachelor's degree for employment.

A one-year postgraduate bachelor honours degree at can be achieved as a consecutive stand-alone course following a bachelor's degree in the same field, or as an additional year as part of a bachelor's degree program.[12] The honours course is normally only open to those who do well in their bachelor's degree program and involves study at a more advanced level than that bachelor's degree.[13] Both the bachelor and bachelor honours degrees are aligned with level 6 of the EQF, the same as British and Irish bachelor's degrees with and without honours, and other Bologna Process first cycle qualifications.[14]

Some bachelor's degrees (e.g. engineering and environmental science) include an integrated honours degree as part of a four-year program. Honours is generally for students who want to take up a research track for postgraduate studies, and increasingly for those who want an extra edge in the job market. Marking scales for Honours differ; generally, First Class Honours (85–100%) denotes an excellent standard of achievement; Second Class Division 1 (75–84%) a high standard; Second Class Division 2 (65–74%) a good standard; Third Class (50–64%) satisfactory standard; a final mark below 50% is a fail of the course.

Bachelor honours degrees include a major Independent research component, allowing students to develop skills that will enable them to proceed to further study or to work in research roles in industry.[15] First-class or second-class (upper division) honours are generally required for entry into doctoral programs (e.g. PhDs, etc.); an alternative route to doctoral study is via a "masters degree".[16][17]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, only recognised institutions—usually universities and polytechnics—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 degrees, require four years of study. A Bachelor with Honours is a program of four years duration (e.g., Bachelor of Arts with Honours). A Bachelor of Medicine degree 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 B.Com. degree requires three years of full-time study, but a double B.Com.–LL.B. degree will require five years of full-time study because the LL.B. degree is four years long. Exceptional students may choose to complete a degree in a shorter amount of time by taking on extra courses, usually with the help of summer school. Students who complete a double degree program 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' program. The Bachelor with Honours usually requires an extra year of study with an extra honours thesis/dissertation. This degree is considered to fall between the bachelor's and master's levels on the European Qualifications Framework.[18] An honours award is indicated by the addition of "Hons." to the degree name or abbreviation (for example, "Bachelor of Laws (Hons.)"). Some honours degree courses also offer a postgraduate diploma (PGDip) as an exit qualification, which often consists of the same workload but with added flexibility. A PGDip does not usually require a dissertation. However, the student may complete one if desired. A diploma award is indicated by "PGDip" and the degree field (for example, "PGDipArts" or "PGDipScience".

The Americas

Usually the region presents Associates, Bachelor's, Master's, doctoral, and postdoctoral degrees.


Education in Canada is governed independently by each province and territory, however a common framework for degrees was agreed by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada in 2007. This adopted descriptors for bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees that were deliberately similar to those defined by the Bologna Process.[19]

Under the framework, four general forms of bachelor's degree are defined: general programs providing a broad education and preparing graduates for graduate-entry professional programs or employment generally; in-depth academic programs in a specific subject that prepare graduates for postgraduate study in the field or employment generally; applied programs that concentrate on a mastery of practice rather than knowledge; and professional programs, often (but not exclusively) graduate-entry, that prepare graduates to practice as professionals in a specific field. This last category included graduate-entry degrees titled as if they were doctorates, such as MD, JD and DDS degrees – despite their names, these are considered bachelor's degrees.[19]

Bachelor's degrees may take either three or four years to complete and are awarded by colleges and universities. In many universities and colleges bachelor's degrees are differentiated either as bachelor's or as honours bachelor's degrees. The term "Honours" is an academic distinction, which indicates that students must achieve their bachelor's degree with a sufficiently high overall grade point average; in addition, some programs may require more education than non-honours programs. The honours degrees are sometimes designated with the abbreviation in brackets of '(Hon(s))'.

Going back in history, the Bachelor with Honours (Latin baccalaureatus cum honore, French baccalauréat spécialisé) was traditionally taken as the highest undergraduate degree. The program requires at least 4 years of studies, with strong emphasis on the research-based Honours Seminar Thesis which is considered approximately equivalent to a formal master's thesis. Universities show the academic degree as well as the possible honours distinction (Latin honors) on the Diploma (e.g., "BACCALAUREATUS ARTIUM CUM HONORE ... CUM LAUDE").

In Quebec, students have to go through a minimum of two years of college before entering, for example, a three-year Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) or a four-year Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.) program. As a consequence, there is no de jure "honors degree" (although some universities market some of their programs as being de facto honors degrees in their English-language materials[citation needed]), but there are some specializations called "concentrations" in French, which are mostly taken as optional courses.

In the province of Ontario, the vast majority of bachelor's degrees offered by Ontario universities are academic in nature. On the other hand, Ontario provincial legislation requires bachelor's degrees offered by Ontario colleges to be applied and vocationally-focused.[20]

United States

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)[21] usually take five, and some universities and colleges allow ambitious students (usually with the help of summer school, who are taking many classes each semester or who have existing credit from high school Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate course exams) to complete them in as little as three years. Some US 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. Those 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.[22] 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., 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.

Many universities and colleges in the United States 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"). Requirements for such notations of honors generally include minimum grade point averages (GPA), with the highest average required for the summa distinction (or maxima, when that distinction is present). In the case of some schools, such as Bates College, Carleton College, Colby College, Middlebury College, Guilford College, Franklin College Switzerland, and larger universities like the University of Virginia, Princeton University, North Carolina State University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, a senior thesis for degrees in the humanities or laboratory research for natural science (and sometimes social science) degrees is also required. Five notable exceptions are Reed College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Evergreen State College, Sarah Lawrence College, and Bennington College, which do not have deans' lists, Latin honors recognitions, or undergraduate honors programs or subjects.


Bachelor's degrees may take an average of five years (from four to five years) to complete depending on the course load and the program and they are awarded by colleges and universities. Medicine is from 6 to 7 years. Each college has its own curriculum and requirements with an emphasis of their choice, governed independently by each state of the republic. After finishing all the subjects the student require a final work, which means the completion of particular honors seminars, research and development or a written thesis in a particular field. Mexico's regulations established as an obligation in order to receive their license and title the fulfillment of a "Social Service" to the nation (usually for those who finished their studies in a public institution) as a remuneration to society in the form of social actions, the benefits, as students, were received during training. This requirement takes about six months to one year depending on the type of degree. Bachelor's degree should not be falsely related with its Spanish cognate "Bachiller", which designate a prerequisite for matriculate in a career or bachelor studies. The official name for a bachelor's degree in Mexico is "Licenciado" and such studies are referred as "Licenciatura".

Bachelor's degrees should not be confused with Engineering Degrees, where an Ingeniería is prefixed to the name and requieres additional courses for certification as an Engineer.


In Brazil, a bachelor's degree takes from three years to six years to complete depending on the course load and the program. A bachelor's degree is the title sought by Brazilians in order to be a professional in a certain area of human knowledge. Master's and doctoral degrees are additional degrees for those seeking an academic career or a specific understanding of a field.

Even without a formal adhesion to the Bologna system, a Brazilian "bachelor's" would correspond to a European "first cycle." A Brazilian "bachelor's" takes three to six years[23] for completion, as well as usually a written monograph or concluding project, in the same way that a European bachelor's can be finished in three to four years, after which time Europeans may embark on a one- to two-year 2nd cycle program usually called a "Master's", according to the Bologna Process.

Depending on programs and personal choices, Europeans can achieve a master's degree in as little as four years (a three-year bachelor's and a one-year Master's) and as long as six years (a four-year bachelor's, a two-year Master's) of higher education. In Brazil it would be possible to have a specialization "lato-sensu" degree—which differs from a Brazilian "stricto-sensu" master's degree—in as little as three years (two years for a "tecnólogo"[24] degree and an additional year for a specialization) or as long as eight years (six years for professional degrees, plus two years for a master's "stricto-sensu" degree—typical in medicine or engineering).


In Colombia, secondary school has two milestones, in 9th and 11th grades. After completing the first 4 years of secondary school (6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grades), a student is considered to have completed the basic secondary school while after completed the last two years (10th and 11th grades) is considered to have completed "bachillerato" or high school diploma.

This degree can be either academic (the most common) or:

  • military, given by military specialised schools. It provides the opportunity for male students not to go to otherwise compulsory military service.
  • commercial, which grants students focused skills on accountancy.
  • technical, which grants students focused skills on technical abilities such as electricity, mechanics and related matters.
  • Academic, which grants students focused skills on elementary education.

After graduating from high-school, hopeful students must take a nationwide exam that determines their eligibility to apply for their desired program, depending on the score the student achieves on the exam. In Colombia, the system of academic degrees is similar to the US model. After completing their "bachillerato" (high school), students can take one of three options. The first one is called a "Profesional" (professional career), which is similar to a bachelor's degree requiring from four to six years of study according to the chosen program, However, strictly-career-related subjects are taken from the very beginning unlike US where focused career-related subjects usually are part of the curriculum from the third year. The other option is called a "Técnico" (technician); this degree consists of only two and a half years of study and prepares the student for technical or mechanical labors. Finally, the third option is called a "Tecnólogo" (equivalent to an associate degree), and consist of 3 years of study. A technical school gives to the student, after a program of two years, an under graduate degree in areas like software development, networks and IT, accountancy, nursing and other areas of health services, mechanics, electricity and technic-like areas.

Universities offer graduate degrees in ICFES endorsed programs like medicine, engineering, laws, accountancy, business management and other professional areas. A typical undergraduate program usually takes 10 or 11 semesters and some (i.e. medicine) require an additional period of service or practice to apply for the degree. A student who has obtained an undergraduate degree can opt to continue studying a career after completing their undergraduate degree by continuing onto Master's and Doctorate degrees. They can also choose to a specialization in certain fields of study by doing an extra year.

ICFES is the national authority for education quality.


In Guyana, the universities offer Bachelor programs in different streams like Bachelor of Arts (B.A), Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Design and Arts, Liberal Arts, Psychology, Doctor of Medicine (MD) and other health science programs. These programs are delivered by University of Guyana, Texila American University, Green Heart Medical University, Lesley university and many more offers these bachelor programs.

Costa Rica, El Salvador and Venezuela

In these countries, there are two titles that should not be confused:

  1. High school students who pass their bachillerato or high school exams obtain a certificate of Bachiller en Educación Secundaria ("bachelor's degree in secondary education"), which is needed in order to enter a university and is usually requested by companies in their profiles.
  2. University students obtain a bachillerato degree in their respective fields after completing four years of education, and a licenciatura degree completing one more year of studies (and meeting other requisites unique to each institution), equivalent to a international bachelor's degree, enabling them to work as professionals in their chosen areas; for example, a Bachiller en Enseñanza Secundaria ("bachelor's degree in secondary teaching") enables a person to work as a high school teacher. Currently, the trend is for universities not to offer a bachelor's degree and to offer instead a licentiate's or "Ingeniero" degree after five years of education.


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. Undergraduate programs in Europe overall lead to the following most widely accepted degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science degree (B.Sc.), 35%–40% of undergraduate programs;
  • Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.), 30%–35% of undergraduate programs;
  • Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B.), 1% of total programs, however widely accepted in the law discipline.

The rest of the programmes typically lead to Bachelor of Engineering degree (B.Eng.), Bachelor of Business Administration degree (B.B.A.), or other variants. Also, associate degrees are rising in popularity on the undergraduate level in Europe.

On a per-country, per-discipline and sometimes even per-institute basis, the duration of an undergraduate degree program is typically three or four years, but can range anywhere from three to six years. This is an important factor in the student's decision-making process.


The historical situation in Austria was very similar to that in Germany, with the traditional first degrees being the Magister and the Diplom, which are master's-level qualifications. From 2004, bachelor's degrees have been reintroduced as part of the Bologna Process reforms. These can be studied at universities, leading to a bachelor's degree (BA or BSc) after three or four years, and at Fachhochschulen (universities of applied science), leading to a Bachelor (FH) after three years.[25]


Education in Belgium is run by the language communities, with separate higher education systems being administered by the Flemish Community and the French Community. Both systems have been reformed to align with the Bologna Process, the Flemish Community from 2003 and the French Community from 2004. In the Flemish Community, bachelor's degrees may be either academic or professional. These degrees last three years, and may be followed in both cases by a more advanced Bachelor-na-bachelor diploma, lasting one year (c.f. the Australian bachelor honours degree). All of these qualifications are at level 6 on the EQF, to which the Flemish Qualification Framework was referenced in June 2011. In the French Community, universities award grade de bachelier (3 years) as the equivalent of bachelor's degrees. Outside of universities, professional programs may be type long (long type) or type court (short type), both of which are offered at Hautes Ecoles and Ecoles Supérieures des Arts. The type long takes in a grade de bachelier (type long) (3 years), which is followed by a master degree (1 or 2 years), while the type court has a grade de bachelier professionnalisant (type court) (3 years), which may be followed by a bachelier de spécialisation (1 year). All bachelier degrees (including the bachelier de spécialisation) are equivalent to level 6 of the EQF, but have not been formally referenced.[26]


Most universities and colleges in Croatia today offer a three-year bachelor program, which can be followed up typically with a two-year master's (graduate) program.

  • Upon completion of undergraduate professional studies, students are awarded the professional title of Professional Bachelor, abbreviated bacc. (baccalaureus or stručni prvostupnik in Croatian) with a reference to a specialisation.
  • Undergraduate university studies normally last for three to four years and upon completion, students are awarded an academic title of Bachelor, abbreviated univ. bacc. (baccalaureus or sveučilišni prvostupnik in Croatian).[27]

Academies that specialize in the arts, e. g. the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, have four-year bachelor's programs followed by a one-year master's.

Czech Republic

Historically, the baccalareus was the undergraduate degree awarded to students who graduated from the course of trivium (grammar, dialectic and rhetoric) at a faculty of liberal arts (either at the Charles University or at the University of Olomouc). It was a necessary prerequisite to continue either with the faculty of liberal arts (quadrivium leading to a master's degree and further to a doctoral degree) or to study at one of the other three historical faculties—law, medicine or theology.

A bachelor's degree, abbreviated Bc.A., in the field of fine arts, and Bc. (Bakalář in Czech) in other fields is awarded for accredited undergraduate programs at universities and colleges.

The vast majority of undergraduate programmes offered in the Czech Republic have a standard duration of three years.

In the Czech tertiary education system, most universities and colleges today offer a three-year bachelor program, which can be followed up typically with a two-year master's (graduate) program. Some specializations, such as doctors of medicine and veterinary doctors, hold exceptions from the general system in that the only option is a six-year master's program with no bachelor stage (graduate with title doctor). This is due mainly to the difficulty of meaningfully splitting up the education for these specialisations.


The bachelor's degree was re-introduced at universities in Denmark in 1993, after the original degree (baccalaureus) was abandoned in 1775. The bachelor's degree is awarded after three or four years of study at a university and follows a scheme quite similar to the British one. Two bachelor's degrees are given at the university level today:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.), awarded to students with main focus on scientific, medical, or technical areas;
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), awarded to students whose main focus is on humanistic, theological, or jurisprudence areas.

However, both in the business and the academic world in Denmark, the bachelor's degree is still considered to be "the first half" of a master's (candidatus). It is often not considered a degree in its own right .[citation needed], despite the politicians' best attempts to make it more accepted.

The bachelor's degree has also been used since the late 1990s in a number of areas like nursing and teaching. Usually referred to as a "Professional Bachelor" (Danish: professionsbachelor), these degrees usually require 3 to 4​12 years of combined theoretical and practical study at a so-called "(professional) university college" (Danish: professionshøjskole). These professional bachelor's degrees do grant access to some university Master's program. These professional bachelor's degrees are considered to be a full education.

Faroe Islands

Bachelor's degrees in the Faroe Islands are much the same as in Denmark.


The traditional bachelor's degree is the equivalent of the French Licence three-year degree. Since the new European system of 2004 LMD Bologna process was founded, it has become standard to recognize a bachelor's degree over three years with a licence degree, a master's degree over five years, and a doctorate over eight years.

Some private institutions are however literally naming their degrees Bachelor's, Master's and Executive, such as the Bordeaux MBA/Collège International de Bordeaux. None of them are accredited by the French State, but offer similar course subjects, structures and methods to those found in Anglo-Saxon institutions.


Historically, the bachelor's degree, called "Bakkalaureus", existed in Germany since the late Middle Ages. But it was abolished by the educational reforms undertaken in 1820. The Abitur degree — the final degree received in school after a specialized 'college 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 (TH) received university status. With the introduction of the Universities of Applied Sciences, a shortened version of the latter, referred to as Diplom (FH) and designed to take three to four years, was phased in between 1969 and 1972.

However, in 1998, in order to comply with the European Bologna process, a new educational law reintroduced the bachelor's degree (first degree after three 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. According to the Bologna model, the Bachelor is followed by the post-graduate master's degree of another two years. The traditional degrees of Diplom and Magister were mostly abolished in 2010, although the Diplom still persists in a few subjects and universities and has been reintroduced as alternative degree in some places.

The traditional degrees have been re-mapped to the new European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (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: 180, 210, or 240 ECTS points required;
  • Diplom FH: 240 ECTS;
  • Diplom Uni or TH: 300 ECTS;
  • Master: 300 ECTS (including bachelor).


The Greek bachelor's degree is called πτυχίο (Latinised version: Ptychion). It is earned after four to six years of undergraduate studies, depending on the field, and is a first cycle qualification in the Bologna Process with 240 or more ECTS credits.[28] It is placed at level 6 of the national qualifications framework of Greece, the Hellenic Qualifications Framework (HQF),[29] which is referenced to level 6 of the European Qualifications Framework.[30] It is classified as a level 6 qualification in the International Standard Classification of Education. The former pass or ordinary bachelor's degree, signified by "(Pass)" or "(Ord)" required 210 ECTS credits and was also at level 6 of the HQF.[citation needed]

The bachelor's degree is provided by all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), including universities, specialist HEIs, technological educational institutes (TEIs).

Previously, TEI undergraduate degrees required ​3 12 years of study, and conferred a qualification legally equivalent to a bachelor's (ord) degree. This qualification was discontinued and TEIs now award a 4-year bachelor's degree. Technical universities and some universities offer a 5-year (300 ECTS credits) undergraduate course leading to a Δίπλωμα (Greek) Diploma at Level 7 of the HQF.[29]


The old four-, five-, or six-year laurea system was discontinued in the early 2000s as per the Bologna process, with some exceptions such as law school or medical school. The bachelor's degree, called "Laurea triennale" (three-year degree) or simply "Laurea", takes three years to complete (note that Italian students graduate from high school at age 19) and grants access to graduate degrees (known as "Laurea Magistrale"). In order to graduate, students must earn 180 credits (ECTS) and write a thesis for which students have to elaborate on an argument under the supervision of a professor (generally from three to eight ECTS). Graduation marks go from 66 to 110. According to each faculty internal ruling, a lode may be awarded to candidates with a 110/110 mark for recognition of the excellence of the final project.


In the Netherlands, the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees were introduced in 2002. Until that time, a single program that led to the doctorandus degree was in effect, which comprised the same course load as the bachelor's and Master's programs put together. (The doctorandus title was in use for almost all fields of study; other titles were used for legal studies (meester) and engineering (ingenieur).) Those who had already started the doctorandus program could, upon completing it, opt for the doctorandus degree (before their name, abbreviated to 'drs.'), or simply use the master's degree (behind their name) in accordance with the new standard. Since these graduates do not have a separate bachelor's degree (which is in fact—in retrospect—incorporated into the program), the master's degree is their first academic degree.

In 2003/2004, the Dutch degree system was changed because of the Bologna process. Former degrees included:

  • baccalaureus (bc. for bachelor, corresponding to a B.A.Sc. or B.A.A. degree, it may be formally rendered as "B", followed by the specialization field, instead of "bc.")
  • doctorandus (prefix abbreviated to drs.; it corresponds to M.A. or M.Sc., but it may be formally rendered as M instead of drs.),[31]


  • ing. for graduates of the four-year courses offered by Dutch higher vocational colleges (HBO, that is; hoger beroepsonderwijs) see: university of applied science. It is similar to a B.A.Sc., B.Eng., B.B.E., B.A.S. or B.I.C.T. (B.I.T.), and it may be formally rendered as B followed by the specialization field, instead of ing.
  • ir. for those having graduated from technical university after a minimum of five years, corresponding to a M.Sc., 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.)[32] are still granted along with their international equivalents.[33]

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 after one's name. It is still allowed to use the traditional titles.

Whether a bachelor's degree is granted by a hogeschool or university is highly relevant since these parallel systems of higher education have traditionally served somewhat different purposes, with the vocational colleges mainly concentrating on skills and practical training. A B.A. or B.Sc. from a university grants "immediate" entry into a master's program. Moreover, this is usually considered a formality to allow students to switch to foreign universities master's programs. Meanwhile, those having completed a HBO from a vocational college, which represented the highest possible level of vocational education available, can only continue to a "master's" on completion of a challenging year of additional study, which in itself can serve as a type of selection process, with the prospective M.Sc. students being required to cover a great deal of ground in a single year.

Recently, HBO (vocational) master's degrees have been introduced in the Netherlands. Graduates thereof may use neither the extension "of Arts" (M.A.) nor "of Science" (M.Sc.). They may use an M followed by the field of specialization (e.g., M.Des).

This year of study to "convert" from the vocational to academic (WO-wetenschappelijk onderwijs, literally "scientific education") is also known as a "bridge" or "premasters" year. Note that despite the use of the terminology "university of applied science" the higher vocational colleges are not considered to be "universities" within the Netherlands.

Important aspects of Dutch bachelor's degree courses (and others) relative to some of those offered abroad include:

  • Duration. While in many countries courses are completed in a given time under normal circumstances, degree courses offered at some (though by no means all) Dutch institutions, including the most prestigious, can only be completed in three years by the best performing students.
  • Academic year. The Dutch academic year has a formal duration of 42 weeks. In practice students are often expected and required to spend a great deal of the "free" time revising for examinations. This is not always true elsewhere, as in many countries a very long summer break is taken or examinations are before the winter break rather than after.
  • Learning curve. Some education systems, notably the British one, involve a gentle introduction during the first year. This is generally not the case in the Netherlands, with the difficulty level in the first year serving as a type of "self-selection" with less committed and less able students routinely finding it difficult to keep up.

In February, 2011, the Dutch State Secretary of Education decided to adhere to the recommendations written in a report by the Veerman Commission. In the near future, the distinction between academic and higher vocational degrees will disappear.

Northern Macedonia

In 2003, the German-style education system was changed to conform to the ECTS 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).


A bachelor's degree in Norway requires three years of fultime studies. There are some exceptions, for example physiotherapy.


In Poland, the licentiate degree corresponds to the bachelor's degree in Anglophone countries. In Polish, it is called licencjat. To obtain the licencjat degree, one must complete three years of study. There is also a similar degree called engineer (inżynier) which differs from the licencjat in that it is awarded by technical universities and the program usually lasts for 3.5 years. After that, the student can continue education for 2 or 1.5 years, respectively, to obtain a magister degree, which corresponds to a master's degree.


Presently, the Portuguese equivalent of a bachelor's degree is the licenciatura, awarded after three years of study (four in some few cases) at an accredited university or polytechnical institution. It is an undergraduate first study cycle program which is required to advance into further studies such as master's degree programs.

Before the Bologna process (2006/2007), the bacharelato (bachelor's degree) existed in the Portuguese higher education system. It required three years of study, being roughly equivalent to the present licenciatura. At that time, the licenciatura referred to a licentiate's degree (equivalent to the present master's degree), which required usually five years of study. A licenciatura could also be obtained by performing two years of study after obtaining a bacharelato.

Today, the former and current licenciatura degrees are referred in Portugal, respectively, as pre-Bologna and post-Bologna licenciaturas.

Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Armenia

The specialist's degree (Russian: специалист), (Ukrainian: спецiалiст) was the first academic distinction in the Soviet Union, awarded to students upon completion of five-year studies at the university level. The degree can be compared both to the bachelor's and master's degree. In the early 1990s, Bakalavr (Бакалавр, "bachelor") degrees were introduced in all the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States except Turkmenistan. After the bakalavr degree (usually four years), one can earn a master's degree (another one or two years) while preserving the old five-year specialist scheme.


In Spain, due to the ongoing transition to a model compliant with the Bologna agreement, exact equivalents to the typical Anglo-Saxon bachelor's degree and master's degree are being implemented progressively. Currently, there is an undergraduate bachelor's degree called "Título de Grado" or simply "Grado" (its duration generally being four years), a postgraduate master's degree called "Título de Máster" or "Máster" (between one and two years), and a doctor's degree called "Título de Doctor" or "Doctorado". The "Título de Grado" is now the prerequisite to access to a Master study. The "Título de Máster" is now the prerequisite to access to doctoral studies, and its duration and the kind of institutions that can teach these programs are regulated in the framework of the European Higher Education Area.

Up until 2009/2010, the system was split into three categories of degrees. There were the so-called first-cycle degrees: "Diplomado" or "Ingeniero Técnico", with nominal durations varying between three and four years; there were also second-cycle degrees: "Licenciado" or "Ingeniero" with nominal durations varying between four and six years; and finally the third-cycle degrees: "Doctor." The official first-cycle degrees are comparable in terms of duration, scope, and educational outcomes to an Anglo-Saxon bachelor's degree. Meanwhile, the second-cycle degrees are comparable in terms of duration, scope, and educational outcomes to an Anglo-Saxon bachelor's + Master's degrees combination if compared with the Anglo-Saxon system. In this traditional system the access to doctoral studies was granted only to the holders of "Licenciado", "Ingeniero" or "Arquitecto" (second-cycle) degrees, and the "Master" or "Magister" titles were unregulated (so, there coexisted so-called "Master" programs with different durations, from some months to two years, backed by universities or centers without any official recognition) and only the reputation of the program/institution could back them.


The Swedish equivalent of a bachelor's degree is called kandidatexamen. It is earned after three years of studies, of which at least a year and a half in the major subject. A thesis of at least 15 ECTS credits must be included in the degree. Previously, there was a Bachelor of Law degree (juris kandidat) which required 4.5 years of study, but this degree now has a new name, juristexamen (and is now a master's degree called "Master of Laws").


Like Austria and Germany, Switzerland did not have a tradition of bachelor's and master's degrees. In 2003, after the application of the Bologna process, bachelor's and graduate master's degrees replaced the old degrees. As of 1 December 2005 the Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities granted holders of a lizentiat or diploma the right to use the corresponding master title. As of 2006, certificates of equivalence are issued by the university that issued the original degree. Currently three to four years of study are required to be awarded a bachelor's degree. A master's degree will require another two to three years of coursework and a thesis.

United Kingdom

The bachelor's degree is the standard undergraduate degree in the United Kingdom, with the most common degrees being the bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BSc). Most bachelor's degree courses (apart from the very rare postgraduate awards, and those in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science) lead to honours degrees, with ordinary degrees generally only being awarded to those who do not meet the required pass mark for an honours degree. With the exception of the postgraduate bachelor's degrees and bachelor's degrees in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, UK bachelor's degrees (whether honours or non-honours) are first cycle (end of cycle) qualifications under the Bologna Process. Postgraduate bachelor's degrees and bachelor's degrees in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science are second cycle (end of cycle) qualifications. Some bachelor's degrees in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science offer intercalated degrees en route to the final qualification.[34][35][36]

Bachelor's degrees should not be confused with baccalaureate qualifications, which derive their name from the same root. In the UK, baccalaureate qualifications, e.g. International Baccalaureate, Welsh Baccalaureate, English Baccalaureate, are gained at secondary schools rather than being degree-level qualifications.

Until the 19th century, a bachelor's degree represented the first degree in a particular faculty, with Arts representing undergraduate study, thus the Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) at Oxford and the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at Cambridge, for example, were postgraduate degrees. Vestiges of this system still remain in the ancient universities, with Oxford and Cambridge awarding BAs for undergraduate degrees in both arts and sciences (although both award undergraduate BTh degrees through associated theological colleges, and Oxford awards BFA degrees in addition to the BA) and defining other bachelor's degrees (e.g., BPhil, BCL) as postgraduate awards equivalent to master's degrees,[37][38] although many postgraduate bachelor's degrees have now been replaced by equivalent master's degrees (e.g., LLM for the LLB at Cambridge and MSc for the BSc at Oxford).[39][40] The same historical usage of indicating an undergraduate degree by it being in the faculty of arts rather than being a bachelor's degree gives rise to the Oxbridge MA and the Scottish MA).

Common bachelor's degrees and abbreviations:

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, bachelor's degrees usually take three years of study to complete, although courses may take four years where they include a year abroad or a placement year. Degrees may have titles related to their broad subject area or faculty, such as BA or BSc, or may be more subject specific (e.g. BEng or LLB). The majority of bachelor's degrees are now honours degrees, although this has not always been the case historically.

Although first degree courses are usually three years (360 credits), direct second year entry is sometimes possible for students transferring from other courses or those who have completed foundation degrees, via accreditation of prior learning or more formal credit transfer arrangements. Some universities compress the three-year course into two years by teaching for a full calendar year (180 credits) rather than a standard academic year (120 credits), thus maintaining the full 360-credit extent of the course.[41][42]

In addition to bachelor's degrees, some institutions offer integrated master's degrees as first degrees in some subjects (particularly in STEM fields). These integrate teaching at bachelor's and master's level in a four-year (five-year if with industrial experience) course, which often shares the first two years with the equivalent bachelor's course.

The normal academic standard for bachelor's degrees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is the honours degree. These are normally classified into one of four classes of honours, depending upon the marks gained in examinations and other assessments:

  • First class honours (1st)
  • Second class honours, divided into:
    • Upper division, or upper second (2:1)
    • Lower division, or lower second (2:2)
  • Third class honours (3rd)

Some institutions have announced that they intend to replace this system of classifying honours degrees with an American-style Grade Point Average.[43] An ordinary (or unclassified) degree, which only requires passes worth 300 credits rather than the 360 of the honours degree, may be awarded if a student has completed the full honours degree course but has not obtained sufficient passes to earn a degree. Completion of just the first two years of the course can lead to a Diploma of Higher Education and completion of only the first year to a Certificate of Higher Education.

On the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, standard undergraduate bachelor's degrees with and without honours are at level 6, although the courses include learning across levels 4 to 6. Honours degrees normally require 360 credits with a minimum of 90 at level 6, while ordinary degrees need 300 credits with a minimum of 60 at level 6. Bachelor's degrees in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science are at level 7, with learning spanning levels 4 to 7, and are not normally credit rated. The Diploma of Higher Education is a level 5 (second year of bachelor's degree) qualification and requires 240 credits, a minimum of 90 at level 5; The Certificate of Higher Education is a level 4 (first year of bachelor's degree) qualification and requires 120 credits, a minimum of 90 at level 4.[44]

Other qualifications at level 6 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications or the Regulated Qualifications Framework, such as graduate diplomas and certificates, some BTEC Advanced Professional awards, diplomas and certificates, and the graduateship of the City & Guilds of London Institute are at the same level as bachelor's degrees, although not necessarily representing the same credit volume.[45]


At Scottish universities, bachelor's degrees (and the equivalent Scottish MA awarded by some institutions) are normally honours degrees, taking four years of study (or five with a year abroad or in industry), but may also be ordinary degrees (also known as pass, general or designated degrees) requiring three years of study. Honours degrees may be awarded as BA (Hons) or MA (Hons) in the arts and social sciences, or BSc (Hons) for sciences, or have more specific titles such as BEng. As in the rest of the UK, integrated master's degrees, taking five years in Scotland, are also offered as first degrees alongside bachelor's degrees.[46]

An honours degree may be directly linked to professional or vocational qualifications, particularly in fields such as engineering, surveying and architecture. These courses tend to have highly specified curricula, leaving students without many options for broader study. Others, following a more traditional route, start off with a broad range of studies across the faculty that has admitted the student or, via modular study, across the whole university. Students on these courses specialise later in their degree programmes.[46] Typically degree grades are based only on the final two years of study, after a specialisation has been chosen, so broader study courses taken in the first two years do not affect the final degree grade.[47]

Honours degrees are subdivided into classes in the same way as the rest of the UK, depending on the overall grade achieved. These are, from highest to lowest; first class, upper second class (2:1), lower second class (2:2), and third class.

Ordinary degrees are awarded to students who have completed three years at university studying a variety of related subjects.[48] These may be taken over a broad range of subjects or (as with honours degrees) with a specialisation in a particular subject (in the latter case, they are sometimes known s designated degrees). As ordinary degrees in Scotland constitute a distinct course of study, rather than a grade below honours degrees, they can be graded (from lowest to highest) as "pass", "merit" or "distinction".[49][50] As in the rest of the UK, Certificates and Diplomas of Higher Education may be earned by those completing one and two years of a bachelor's degree course respectively.[46]

The first two years, sometimes three, of both an ordinary degree and an honours degree are identical, but candidates for the ordinary degree study in less depth in their final year and often over a wider variety of subjects, and do not usually complete a dissertation. A Scottish ordinary degree is thus different from ordinary degrees in the rest of the UK in comprising a distinct course of study from the honours degree. In keeping with the Scottish "broad education" philosophy, ordinary degrees (and more rarely honours ones) may mix different disciplines such as sciences and humanities taught in different faculties and in some cases even different universities.[51]

Bachelor's degrees with honours are at level 10 of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) and require 480 credits with a minimum of 90 at level 10 and 90 at level 9. Ordinary degrees are at level 9 and require 360 credits with a minimum of 90 at level 9.[52] Both honours degrees and ordinary degrees qualify as first cycle (end of cycle) qualifications in the Bologna Process. Bachelor's degrees in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science are at level 11 of the SCQF and are second cycle (end of cycle) qualifications in the Bologna Process.[53]


There are institutions which award bachelor's degrees in almost every city in Turkey. Examples are Ankara University, Bilkent University, Boğaziçi University Hacettepe University, Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul University, Koç University, Middle East Technical University, Sabanci University, Yeditepe University, and Yildiz Technical University. They all grant bachelor of arts or science degrees upon completion of an eight-semester course. There are opportunities to undertake a double major. Some universities allow 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, known in Turkish as a "Önlisans Mezunu".[citation needed]

Some of the public and private universities offer courses taught partly in English, and many universities offer courses entirely in English, such as Boğaziçi University, Middle East Technical University, Sabanci University, and Yeditepe University.

Other Languages
العربية: بكالوريوس
azərbaycanca: Bakalavr
বাংলা: স্নাতক
беларуская: Бакалаўр
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Бакаляўр
čeština: Bakalář
Cymraeg: Gradd baglor
dansk: Bachelor
Deutsch: Bachelor
Ελληνικά: Πτυχίο
Esperanto: Bakalaŭro
فارسی: کارشناسی
贛語: 學士
한국어: 학사
Bahasa Indonesia: Sarjana
Jawa: Sarjana
Kiswahili: Shahada ya Awali
Кыргызча: Бакалавр
lietuvių: Bakalauras
magyar: Baccalaureus
Malti: Ġuvni
Nederlands: Bachelor
नेपाली: स्नातक तह
日本語: 学士
norsk: Bachelor
norsk nynorsk: Bachelor
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Bakalavr
Papiamentu: Lisensiatura
português: Bacharelato
русский: Бакалавр
shqip: Bachelor
Simple English: Bachelor's degree
slovenčina: Bakalár
کوردی: کارناسی
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Bakalaureat
Basa Sunda: Sarjana
тоҷикӣ: Бакалавр
Türkçe: Lisans derecesi
українська: Бакалавр
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: تولۇق كۇرس
Tiếng Việt: Cử nhân (học vị)
walon: Bachot
吴语: 學士
粵語: 學士
中文: 學士