Degree



Degree


A degree is a college or university diploma, which is usually awarded in recognition of the recipient having either satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study or having conducted a scholarly endeavor deemed worthy of their admission to the degree. The most common degrees awarded today are

  • associate,
  • bachelors,
  • masters, and
  • doctoral degrees.

Over the course of their working lives, graduates are likely to earn 20-25 per cent more than those who leave education after second level. Despite the increase in the graduate population there does not appear at this point to have been any significant erosion of the longer term financial benefits of degree study. This benefit is often referred to as the 'graduate premium'.

However, there is a wide variation in additional lifetime earnings depending on the degree subject studied. A lifetime earnings premium for those with dentistry and medicine qualifications is $637,383 compared with $166,309 for humanities and $144,956 for the arts.

In the United States and Canada, most standard academic programs are based on the four-year bachelor's degree, most often Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), or Bachelor of Science (B.S./B.Sc.), a one- or two-year master's degree (most often Master of Arts (M.A.), or Master of Science (M.S./M.Sc.); either of these programs might be as long as three years in length), and a further two to five years of coursework and research, culminating in "comprehensive" examinations in one or more fields, plus perhaps some teaching experience, and then the writing of a dissertation for the doctorate, most often Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), or other types such as Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), Doctor of Theology, (Th.D.), for a total of ten or more years from starting the bachelor's degree (which is usually begun around age 18) to the awarding of the doctorate. This timetable is only approximate, however, as students in accelerated programs can sometimes earn a bachelor's degree in three years or, on the other hand, a particular dissertation project might take four or more years to complete. In addition, a graduate may wait an indeterminate time between degrees before candidacy in the next level, or even an additional degree at a level already completed. Therefore, there is no time-limit on the accumulation of academic degrees.



U.K. Degree

The title 'degree' is protected under UK law. All valid UK degrees are awarded by universities or other degree-awarding bodies whose powers to do so are recognised by the UK government; hence they are known as 'recognised bodies'.

The standard first degree in England, Northern Ireland and Wales is the Bachelor's degree conferred with honours. Usually this is a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree. Other variants exist, for example Bachelor of Education. It usually takes three years to read for a Bachelor's degree.

The honours are usually categorised into four classes:

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

Candidates who have not achieved the standard for the award of honours may be admitted without honours to the 'ordinary' Bachelor's degree if they have met the required standard for this lesser qualification (also referred to as a 'pass degree').

Choosing the right college degree can be a very difficult decision to make. There are many things to consider but it is important to decide on the right college degree for the type of occupation that you want to pursue. You may find that you do not actually need a college degree but that a certificate or diploma will be sufficient, or your chosen profession may require further study after a college degree such as medicine or law.

Certificates or diplomas require a shorter period of study than a traditional college degree and are usually taken by students wanting to pursue a career in an occupational field. Quite often a certificate or diploma can be taken before embarking on a college degree course.

An associate degree is awarded after completing a two-year college degree course. Some community colleges and other universities offer an associate degree program which allows you to transfer to a four-year college degree course after you have been awarded the appropriate associate degree. There are a number of occupations where a two-year college degree is recommended or required including:

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Automotive Mechanic
  • Cardiovascular Technician
  • Commercial Artist
  • Computer Technician
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Drafter
  • Engineering Technician
  • Funeral Director
  • Graphic Designer
  • Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Technician
  • Hotel or Restaurant Manager
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Medical Record Technician
  • Insurance Agent
  • Registered Nurse
  • Surgical Technologist
  • Surveyor
  • Visual Artist
  • Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

A traditional four-year college degree is the most frequently required qualification for a number of occupations. Some examples of professions requiring a four-year college degree in an appropriate discipline are:

  • Accountant
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Dietitian
  • Editor
  • Engineer
  • FBI Agent
  • Investment Banker
  • Journalist
  • Medical Illustrator
  • Pharmacist
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Research Assistant
  • Social Worker
  • Teacher
  • Writer

There are also a number of occupations that require a student to obtain a college degree that is longer than the conventional four-year college degree programs. These extended professional college degree programs include:

  • Architect
  • Biologist
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • Diplomat
  • Doctor
  • Economist
  • Geologist
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Management Consultant
  • Palaeontologist
  • Priest
  • Psychologist
  • Public Policy Analyst

It is important to choose a college degree course that is suitable for the career path you want to follow. If you are unsure of which field of occupation you want to enter then it is advisable to take a certificate or diploma course first. This will enable you to change disciplines without having spent four years on a degree course that ends up not being something that you want to pursue.



A university education also has important non-monetary benefits. Some of these are personal to the individual, while others benefit society more generally. In both cases these benefits are difficult to define and measure, and can only be talked about in very general terms. For example, research suggests that graduates:

  • enjoy higher quality jobs than non-graduates
  • enjoy better health, by being less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, and less prone to depression
  • are more influential in the community, by being active citizens who are more likely to vote and participate in voluntary activities
  • show positive attitudes towards diversity and equal opportunities, such as on race and gender equality issues
  • are a source of wider innovation and economic growth, with their higher skill levels

It has been said that having more education usually leads to higher pay. A study suggests the advantage continues even into retirement years. That is in part because those with more education tend to stay in the work force longer.

According to a survey of 3800 employers, business majors received the best job prospects coming out of the U.S. recession. Business degree holders can choose from a variety of possible career paths, starting with business training programs in major companies. Other jobs common to business majors include analysts, managers and consultants. Some business graduates go into human resources or sales. Others go into marketing and public relations. What many have in common, though, is a wide range of employment opportunities.

Most higher education institutions generally offer certificates and several programs leading to the obtainment of a Master of Advanced Studies.



This is a list of the fields of doctoral studies, as used by the National Opinion Research Center.

Agricultural sciences / Natural resources

  • 000 Agricultural Economics
  • 005 Agricultural Animal Breeding
  • 010 Animal Nutrition
  • 014 Poultry Science
  • 019 Animal Science, Other
  • 020 Agronomy & Crop Science
  • 025 Agricultural & Horticultural Plant Breeding
  • 030 Plant Pathology / Phytopathology
  • 039 Plant Sciences, Other
  • 043 Food Science
  • 044 Food Science and Food Technology, Other
  • 046 Soil Chemistry / Microbiology
  • 049 Soil Sciences, Other
  • 050 Horticulture Science
  • 055 Fishing and Fisheries Sciences / Fisheries management
  • 066 Forest Sciences and Biology
  • 070 Forest/Resources Management
  • 072 Wood Science & Pulp / Paper Technology
  • 074 Natural resources/Conservation
  • 079 Forestry & Related Science, Other
  • 080 Wildlife / Range Management
  • 081 Environmental Science
  • 098 Agriculture, General
  • 099 Agricultural Science, Other

Biological sciences / Biomedical sciences

  • 100 Biochemistry (see 539)
  • 103 Biomedical sciences
  • 105 Biophysics (see 565)
  • 107 Biotechnology
  • 110 Bacteriology
  • 115 Plant genetics
  • 120 Plant Pathology / Phytopathology
  • 125 Plant Physiology
  • 129 Botany / Plant Biology
  • 130 Anatomy
  • 133 Biometrics & Biostatistics
  • 136 Cell / Cellular Biology and Histology
  • 139 Ecology
  • 142 Developmental biology / Embryology
  • 145 Endocrinology
  • 148 Entomology
  • 151 Immunology
  • 154 Molecular Biology
  • 157 Microbiology
  • 160 Neuroscience
  • 163 Nutrition science
  • 166 Parasitology
  • 169 Toxicology
  • 170 Genetics, Human & Animal
  • 175 Pathology, Human & Animal
  • 180 Pharmacology, Human & Animal
  • 185 Physiology, Human & Animal
  • 189 Zoology, Other
  • 198 Biology / Biological sciences, General
  • 199 Biology / Biomedical sciences, Other

Health sciences

  • 200 Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology
  • 210 Environmental Health
  • 211 Environmental toxicology
  • 212 Health Systems / Service Administration
  • 215 Public Health
  • 220 Epidemiology
  • 222 Kinesiology / Exercise science
  • 230 Nursing sciences
  • 240 Pharmacy
  • 245 Rehabilitation / Therapeutic Services
  • 246 Physician Assistant
  • 250 Veterinary Medicine
  • 298 Health Sciences, General
  • 299 Health Sciences, Other

Engineering

  • 300 Aerospace, Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering
  • 303 Agricultural engineering
  • 306 Bioengineering & Biomedical engineering
  • 309 Ceramic sciences
  • 312 Chemical engineering
  • 315 Civil engineering
  • 318 Communications engineering
  • 321 Computer engineering
  • 324 Electrical, Electronics and Communications
  • 327 Engineering Mechanics
  • 330 Engineering Physics
  • 333 Engineering Science
  • 336 Environmental Health Engineering
  • 339 Industrial & manufacturing engineering
  • 342 Materials science
  • 345 Mechanical engineering
  • 348 Metallurgical engineering
  • 351 Mining & Mineral
  • 357 Nuclear engineering
  • 360 Ocean engineering
  • 363 Operations Research (See also 465, 930)
  • 366 Petroleum engineering
  • 369 Polymer & Plastics engineering
  • 372 Systems engineering
  • 398 Engineering, General
  • 399 Engineering, Other

Computer and Information sciences

  • 400 Computer Science
  • 410 Information Science and Information Systems
  • 415 Robotics
  • 419 Computer and Information sciences, Other

Mathematics

  • 420 Applied Mathematics
  • 425 Algebra
  • 430 Analysis & Functional Analysis
  • 435 Geometry / Geometric Analysis
  • 440 Mathematical Logic
  • 445 Number Theory
  • 450 Statistics (See also 690)
  • 455 Topology, Foundations
  • 460 Computing Theory & Practice
  • 465 Operations Research (See also 363, 930)
  • 498 Mathematics / Statistics, General
  • 499 Mathematics /Statistics, Other

Physical sciences

Astronomy

  • 500 Astronomy
  • 505 Astrophysics

Atmospheric Science & Meteorology

  • 510 Atmospheric chemistry and Climatology
  • 512 Atmospheric physics and Atmospheric dynamics
  • 514 Meteorology
  • 518 Atmospheric science / Meteorology, General
  • 519 Atmospheric science / Meteorology, Other

Chemistry

  • 520 Analytical chemistry
  • 522 Inorganic chemistry
  • 526 Organic chemistry
  • 528 Medicinal / Pharmaceutical chemistry
  • 530 Physical chemistry
  • 532 Polymer
  • 534 Theoretical chemistry
  • 538 Chemistry, General
  • 539 Chemistry, Other (See also 100)

Geological & Earth Sciences

  • 540 Geology
  • 542 Geochemistry
  • 544 Geophysics & Seismology
  • 546 Paleontology
  • 548 Mineralogy & Petrology
  • 550 Stratigraphy & Sedimentation
  • 552 Geomorphology & Glacial Geology
  • 558 Geological and Earth Sciences, General
  • 559 Geological and Earth Sciences, Other

Physics

  • 560 Acoustics
  • 561 Atomic / Molecular/Chemical physics
  • 564 Particle (Elementary) physics
  • 565 Biophysics (see 105)
  • 568 Nuclear Physics
  • 569 Optics / Photonics
  • 570 Plasma, Fusion
  • 572 Polymer
  • 574 Condensed Matter / Low temperature physics
  • 576 Applied Physics
  • 578 Physics, General
  • 579 Physics, Other

Ocean / Marine Sciences

  • 585 Hydrology & Water Resources
  • 590 Oceanography, Chemical and Physical
  • 595 Marine Sciences
  • 599 Ocean / Marine Sciences

Psychology

  • 600 Clinical psychology
  • 603 Cognitive psychology & Psycholinguistics
  • 606 Comparative psychology
  • 609 Counseling psychology
  • 612 Developmental psychology & Child psychology
  • 613 Human Development & Family Studies
  • 615 Experimental psychology
  • 618 Educational psychology (See also 822)
  • 620 Family Psychology
  • 621 Industrial & Organizational psychology(See also 935)
  • 624 Personality
  • 627 Physiological psychology / Psychobiology
  • 633 Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology
  • 636 School psychology (See also 825)
  • 639 Social psychology
  • 648 Psychology, General
  • 649 Psychology, Other

Social Sciences

  • 650 Anthropology
  • 652 Area studies
  • 658 Criminology
  • 662 Demography / Population studies
  • 666 Economics
  • 668 Econometrics
  • 670 Geography
  • 674 International Relations / Affairs
  • 678 Political Science & Government
  • 682 Public Policy Analysis
  • 686 Sociology
  • 690 Statistics (See also 450)
  • 694 Urban Affairs/Studies
  • 698 Social Sciences, General
  • 699 Social Sciences, Other

Humanities

History

  • 700 History, American
  • 703 History, Asian
  • 705 History, European
  • 706 History, African
  • 707 History, Latin American
  • 708 Middle / Near East Studies
  • 710 History of science, Philosophy of science. History of technology and Philosophy of technology
  • 718 History, General
  • 719 History, Other

Letters

  • 720 Classics
  • 723 Comparative Literature
  • 724 Folklore
  • 729 Linguistics
  • 732 American literature
  • 733 English literature
  • 734 English Language
  • 736 Speech & Rhetorical Studies
  • 738 Letters, General
  • 739 Letters, Other

Foreign Languages & Literature

  • 740 French
  • 743 German
  • 746 Italian
  • 749 Spanish
  • 752 Russian
  • 755 Slavic (other than Russian)
  • 758 Chinese
  • 762 Japanese
  • 768 Arabic
  • 769 Other Languages & Literature

Other Humanities

  • 770 American / U.S. Studies
  • 773 Archaeology
  • 776 Art History / Art criticism/Conservation
  • 780 Music
  • 785 Philosophy
  • 790 Religion / Religious studies (See also 984)
  • 795 Drama / Theatre arts
  • 798 Humanities, General
  • 799 Humanities, Other

Education

Research and Administration

  • 800 Curriculum & Instruction
  • 805 Educational Administration & Supervision
  • 807 Educational Leadership
  • 810 Educational/Instructional Media Design
  • 815 Educational Statistics / Research Methods
  • 820 Educational Assessment / Testing/Measure
  • 822 Educational Psychology (See also 618)
  • 825 School Psychology (See also 636)
  • 830 Social/Philosophical Foundations of Educ.
  • 835 Special Education
  • 840 Counseling Education/Counseling & Guidance
  • 845 Higher Education / Evaluation & Research

Teacher Education

  • 850 Pre-elementary / Early Childhood
  • 852 Elementary
  • 856 Secondary
  • 858 Adult & Continuing

Teaching Fields

  • 860 Agricultural Education
  • 861 Art Education
  • 862 Business Education
  • 864 English Education
  • 866 Foreign Languages Education
  • 868 Health Education
  • 870 Family & Consumer Science/Home Economics
  • 874 Mathematics Education
  • 876 Music Education
  • 878 Nursing Education
  • 880 Physical Education & Coaching
  • 882 Reading Education
  • 884 Science Education
  • 885 Social Science Education
  • 887 Trade & Industrial Education
  • 889 Teach Education & Professional Development

Other Education

  • 898 Education, General
  • 899 Education, Other

Professional fields

Business Management / Administrative Services

  • 900 Accounting
  • 905 Banking / Financial Support Services
  • 910 Business Administration & Management
  • 915 Business / Managerial Economics
  • 916 International Business / Trade/Commerce
  • 917 Management Information Systems / Business Data
  • 920 Marketing Management & Research
  • 921 Human Resources Development
  • 930 Operations Research (See also 363, 465)
  • 935 Organizational Behavior (See also 621)
  • 938 Business Management / Administration, General
  • 939 Business Management / Administration, Other

Communications

  • 940 Communication research
  • 947 Mass Communication / Media Studies
  • 950 Film, Radio, Television, and Digital Communication
  • 957 Communications theory
  • 958 Communications, General
  • 959 Communications, Other

Other Professional Fields

  • 960 Architecture/ Environmental Design
  • 964 Family/Consumer Science / Human Science, General
  • 968 Law
  • 972 Library Science
  • 974 Parks / Sports/Recreation / Leisure / Fitness
  • 976 Public Administration
  • 980 Social Work
  • 984 Theology / Religious Education (See also 790)
  • 989 Professional Fields, Other.

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