Bachelor's Degree


The term bachelor's degree is used to describe an award given to students that complete at least 120 credit hours of post-secondary study.  A bachelor's degree is the highest award given to students as part of an undergraduate program, and is typically achieved after four years of full-time study.


While an associate's degree is usually associated with two-year community colleges and junior colleges, a bachelor's degree can only be obtained from full colleges and universities and is generally awarded upon completion of four years of full-time study.  This includes approximately 40 courses or 120 credit hours.  Typical coursework under these programs would include General Education (required courses in areas such as mathematics, foreign language, and natural sciences), Major Requirements (required courses in an area of concentration), as well as Electives.

While the most common bachelor's degrees include the B.S. and B.A., the list below contains several of the more common degrees of this type:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.):  awarded to students that major in areas such as humanities, mathematics, information, business as well as natural sciences.
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.):  awarded to students that major in areas such as social sciences, foreign languages, as well as fine and performing arts, English, and music.
  • Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.):  awarded to students that major in the engineering sciences, including biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental and materials.
  • Bachelor of Laws (L.L.B.):  awarded to students that major in law sciences, including civil and common law.

When received, a bachelor's degree is typically combined with the student's major.  For example, a student can receive a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.  If the student completes requirements for an honors program, the degree would be designated as a Bachelor of Art with Honors in History.

Some institutions of higher education will also award Latin honors to students achieving grade point averages above certain thresholds.  This includes cum laude, magna cum laude as well as maxima cum laude.

Related Terms

associate's degree, master's degree, doctoral degree, Latin honors, dissertation, ACT, SAT