How Many Years Is A Bachelors Degree?

Find out how many years is a Bachelor's degree to support your education plans, the time you invest, the major in that degree program for your future and more.

Updated by Nchumbeni Felic on 23rd October 2020

A Bachelor's degree is an undergraduate degree full-time program that takes 4-year long with 120 credits, 2 semesters a year, each semester lasting for 4 months and 15 hours a week. The degree program helps in gaining the basic foundational skills and knowledge required to land on a job. 

In this article, we'll learn more about a bachelor's degree, how long it is, cost, value, and more.

Table of contents

What is a Bachelor’s degree?

The term “college degree” means a bachelor’s degree or a traditional four-year degree in an education program. In other words, a bachelor’s degree is a four-year undergraduate degree program taking four years of full-time study to complete, consisting of 120 semesters credits and or 40 college courses.

Types of Bachelor's degree

There are three types of bachelor’s degrees:

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Focuses on liberal arts, less on the major. The common majors consist of English, Music and Art, Theatre, Languages, and Communications, Political sciences.

Bachelor of Science(BS)

Targets more on the student’s interest in the subject and is chosen by students who wish to work after graduation. Students choose to prefer majors like nursing, computer science, chemical engineering, business, economics.

You may also read - Difference between BA and BS degree

Bachelor of Fine Arts(BFA)

It is also a professional or vocational degree that aims more on the concentration and volume of general studies. Pursuing a BFA degree often shapes you as creative individuals such as singers, artists, dancers, sculptors, actors, painters, writers, etc from the rest.

There are also bachelor’s degree programs for different majors, including STEM subjects, arts, sciences, social sciences, and various types of specific subjects.

You may also read - Difference between BA and BFA degree

Why Take a Bachelor's Degree?

There is never harm in taking education. Instead, it enhances more of your abilities to a good future. In the year 2020, high education means higher earnings. Most job centers prefer applicants at least with a bachelor’s degree to enter the field.

Many schools provide degrees in person or online, part-time or full-time, and other programs for people with educational/work experience to accelerate their degree.

How much time does it take for a Bachelor's degree?

It is four years of full-time study or about 120-semester credits. The past students or part-time students may consume a shorter or longer time to complete their degrees.

In the past system, there are 2 semesters per year of the academic sessions, which means that a semester in the fall and the spring. Therefore, it includes 8 semesters in 4 years of college.

Also, some schools might offer summer/winter terms, and other schools may work off a quarter system. There are about 3 quarters in 2 semesters during that session.

How to accelerate your bachelor’s programs?

The duration of a bachelor’s program varies from program to program and is dependent on the institution you choose to get enrolled in. A student may wish to either pursue a full-time, conventional program ( of 4 years) or be a part of some accelerated online bachelor coursework which amounts to 2 years of education. Educational institutions have also availed part-time courses to students to cater to their needs.

A student with post-secondary course-work is eligible for credit transfers. This substantially reduces the tenure of the bachelor’s degree.

An associate’s degree is instrumental in earning admittance in an accelerated online program.  

Assessments like the College Level Examination Program ( CLEP) and DANTES Credit by Examination ( which are attended by high-school students) accelerate education and aid students to earn an early bachelor’s degree. 

Word of advice: Students with the objective to earn an early bachelor’s degree should resort to online bachelor’s programs. This grants the student to avail flexible course enrolment, students can subscribe to courses of their choice and on their own time instead of adhering to the confined curriculum of a conventional semester

Cost of a Bachelor's Degree

On average, the annual tuition and fees for a bachelor’s degree in the United States cost $8,893 for the in-state participants of public colleges, and $22,203 for the out-of-state participants of public colleges, lastly $30,094 for private non-profit colleges.

According to U.S. News in a survey listed among national universities in the 2019-20 session, the average cost of tuition and fees was $41,426 at private colleges, $11,260 for state residents at public colleges, $27,120 for out-of-state students at state schools.

It can range from about $60,000 per year, personal expenses can vary.

Is it Valuable?

The bachelor’s degree can make you hit lifetime earnings in close to a million dollars, though it may not apply with all the different career paths with a bachelor’s degree. Comparatively, an average college student with a bachelor’s degree would earn $78,000 while a high school diploma would earn $45,000. In other words, a typical college graduate would earn $30,000 or nearly 80% of the income.  

The majority of good jobs pay you at least 35,000 a year normally for aged 24-40 people.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed income for people with a bachelor’s degree. The median income for those people with a bachelors degree only include

  • Actuaries (Mathematics)- $102,880

  • Civil Engineers- $86,640

  • Computer Hardware Engineers- $114,600

  • Dental Hygiene-$65,800

  • Finance-$68,350.

  • Management-$104,240

  • Nursing-$73,730.

You can also see and try for the highest paying careers that require a bachelor’s degree only, using Payscale.com that lists these careers.

How to choose the right bachelor’s degree program?

Plan your goals, budget for it, the time, and schools you want to apply for. There are several programs to help your plans. Do the research and find the best schools suited for you.

Top bachelors degrees opt for full-time careers

No matter whatever major you take, it depends on the degree that is marketable in the job market. 

According to the U.S. News and World Report, listed below are some of the top ten bachelor’s degrees chosen for full-time careers.

  • Accounting

  • Business Administration/Management

  • Computer Science

  • Economics

  • Electrical engineering

  • Finance

  • Information Sciences and Systems

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Management Information Systems

  • Logistics/Supply Chain.

These four years of bachelor’s degree helps you to join the job immediately after your graduation. Most of the students are presently choosing a bachelor’s degree over a doctorate degree because of earnings possibilities.

What’s the catch?

No matter the time you spend on a bachelor’s degree, the value of it is unshakable. The least favored qualification for work placements currently is a bachelor's degree. 

The stipulated duration of a bachelor’s degree is 4 years. However, the time period to complete the education varies from student to student and a few other factors such as:

  • The number of classes you enroll into per semester

  • Enrollment in summer classes

  • Double major

  • Credits from AP/IB exams or community college classes

  • The requirements of your major in terms of credits and classes

  • Full-time or part-time enrollment 

It is possible to earn a bachelor’s degree in 3 years as well as stay enrolled in the program for 6-8 years. 

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