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Top College Degrees

A Variety of Degree Options

In the world of higher education, there are many different options for a degree. The availability of a degree may depend on the area of study you are pursuing. In some career tracks, a higher degree is important but for others it is not a necessity. Finding the right program with the level of education for your needs is what is important.


Associate of Arts: This degree is granted after two years of study. Community colleges, junior colleges, and technical colleges most commonly award this type of degree. This degree is transferable to another college or university as it is the same as taking the first two years in a four-year college program. Completing an AA degree gives more options for employment than simply completing a few years at a university. It indicates that you've followed a specific program of study during your two years.

Bachelor of Arts: This academic degree is awarded for four years of study at a college or university. While most students are able to complete this degree in four years, it can take five years, depending the requirements and the class load. With this degree the student takes courses in a concentrated area of the liberal arts.

Bachelor of Science: While this degree is similar to the Bachelor of Arts, this degree focuses more on the sciences and mathematics as part of the course of study. Persons who are pursing a higher degree in the medical field for instance, would pursue this track.

Master of Arts or Master of Science: There is variety in this degree area that reflects the emphasis of courses studied as noted above. A Masters degree is designed to be a two-year program of study that culminates in either a thesis or comprehensive exams. A thesis is a written dissertation to show the learning or research findings done as part of the course of study.

Other types of Masters Degrees: Within certain areas of study, they may have their own designation for a Masters degree. Some examples of these degrees would be Master of Fine Arts, Master of Business Administration, or Master of Social Work. These masters level degrees are representative of the studies that are done by the student.

Doctorate Degrees: The most common degree in this category is Doctorate of Philosophy, or PhD. This degree can take an additional four to six years to complete and requires completion of comprehensive exams as well as a dissertation. The final degree is conferred after completion of all the requirements and passing the exams and successful presentation of the dissertation.

Each level of study adds another layer of specialty to a previous degree. The higher degrees distill the focus of the undergraduate bachelors-level work into a more specific course work in any given field. In some occupations it is important or even essential to have at minimum a masters degree.

An important factor is your desire to complete a degree. Higher educational degrees require hard work and commitment for a successful finish. Finding a program that is right for you also is a major factor. Take the time to check out the different levels of education to find a good fit for you.

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