What is an Undergraduate degree?

Undergraduate study is a post-secondary degree which is normally studied at a higher education institution, such as a university, or a community college. For more detail about undergraduate degree

Updated by Theres Ann on 24th January 2019

What is an Undergraduate Degree?

An undergraduate degree is a three-five year degree depending on the course and institution. The degrees are offered in diverse subjects and would help you make a career out the subjects you choose. The degree offers various general education, major and elective courses. Some of the courses that are offered are B.A. in English, B.S. in Biotechnology, and many other subjects as such.

Importance of an Undergraduate Degree

An undergraduate degree would help gain the basic knowledge about different subjects and would help you make a career in the same. Since the degrees provide technical, vocational, practical and theoretical, students get good job opportunities after completion of the degree.

Completing the degree also helps in getting a better wage as the undergraduate students have the necessary skills. It’s better than the high school degree and provides diverse career options.

 Admission requirements and eligibility for enrolling in an undergraduate degree

Enrollment into an undergraduate program demands certain eligibility criteria to be met. A few of them are as given below.

  • You should be a high school graduate or hold an equivalent degree.

  • There must be a minimum GPA required to enroll in a particular course.

  • Official transcripts of the school/college must be provided for enrollment.

  • Students should have passed in all the exams.

  • Have letters of recommendation (if required).

  • Should complete 120 semester hours of credits or 180 quarter hours of credits.

  • The student must complete all the major, general and elective courses. 

Source: me.me

Types of Undergraduate Degrees

There are two types of undergraduate degree-the Associate degree and the Bachelors degree. 

Associate’s Degree- Associate’s Degree is an undergraduate degree which can be completed in two years. It is an academic program and is the first step towards gaining technical skills and knowledge about the course and the program.

The degree has a shorter duration as compared to the Bachelor’s Degree and you will attain 60 credits after completing the degree. These credits can be transferred to the Bachelor’s Degree if you wish to enroll in it. However, it depends on the course and the institution and the eligibility of the student.

The degrees are offered both on-campus and online. The Associate’s Degree online platform offers accelerated courses with an up-to-date curriculum.

Some features of an Associate’s Degree are:

  • It provides foundational and technical skills in the particular field you’ve opted for.

  • The degree is fast paced and can be completed in less than two years.

  • The tuition cost of the degree is lesser than the bachelor’s degree the duration of the degree is just for two years.

  • The degree would prepare you to enter the workforce in the respective field you wish to enter in accordance to the subject you opted for in the degree program.

  • You would be provided with adequate skills and training in order to become a professional.

  • The time would be saved as the degree can be completed at a faster rate as compared to others.

  • Upon completion of the course, you may transfer your credits earned to a Bachelor’s Degree and directly enroll in the third year of the bachelor’s degree program.

  • The entry requirements for the program are less than that of a bachelor’s degree program.

Requirements and Eligibility for completing the Associate’s Degree 

The eligibility criteria to apply for an associate degree is as given below.

  • You should be a high school graduate or have an equivalent degree.

  • A complete application form must be submitted.

  • The student must have the minimum passing grades in all the subjects taken up in high school.

  • Minimum GPA requirements must be met.

  • The course must be completed with 60 credits.

  • An official GED certificate must be presented (if required).

  • Financial Aid must be opted for if required.

 Types of an Associate’s Degree

The different categories of an associate degree are as given below.

Degree  Criteria
Associate of Arts
  • Literature, sociology, history and many more

  • Duration - 2 years

  • Future - Enroll in a bachelors degree

  • Jobs - Manager, teacher, Sales and many more

Associate of Science

  • Subjects of liberal arts

  • Duration - 2 years

  • Future - Bachelors degree

  • Jobs - Adm Assistants, Registered Nurses and many more

Associate of Applied Science
  • Focus mainly on core subjects

  • Cannot transfer to a Bachelors or third year

  • Duration - 2 years

  • Jobs - Registered Nurses, Certified Occupational Therapists, Radiologic Technologists and many others

Associate of Fine Arts
  • Fine arts Subjects

  • Duration – 2 years or less

  • Future - Credit transfer possible to Bachelors degree

  • Jobs – Arts Administrator, Arts therapist, Business Development Associate, Art Teacher and many more

Associate of General Science

  • Combined subjects of AS and AA

  • Duration – 2 years

  • May/may not be able to transfer to a Bachelor’s degree

  • Subjects – Anthropology, Applied Engineering, Computer Networking, English, Geography and many others

 Some examples of Associate’s Degree Programs

A few Associate degree programs in various arena is as given below.

  • Associate’s Degree in Business: The degree focuses on streams like economics, finance, marketing, sales and many other concepts. It provides the foundation for the concepts of Business Administration and other inter-related subjects.

  • Associate’s Degree in Nursing: The course provides training to the students to become efficient nurses. It is a minimum degree required to become a registered nurse. The degree can provide the job opportunities in Oncology, Physician’s Office, Telemetry, Labor and Delivery, Medical Surgery and many others.

  • Associate’s Degree in Computer Science- The program would teach you computer applications, programming languages, multimedia tools and many other concepts as such. It would prepare you to enter the profession as a web developer or a computer technician.

  • Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice- It would give you a foundation in law, legal institutions and criminal procedures to name a few. The coursework would be diverse and prepare you to engage in legal institutions.

  • Associate’s Degree in Psychology- The coursework includes topics such as substance abuse, sociology, abnormal psychology and research methods in psychology. It is the minimum degree required to enter the profession based on psychology.

Source: Quick meme

 Universities which offer Associate’s Degree 

Examples of a few universities that offer Associate's degree is as given below.

Name of the University

Name of the University

Grantham University

Capella University

Southern New Hampshire University

Walden University

Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne 

Ashford University

Liberty University

University of Arizona

The Colorado Christian University

University of Delaware

 Careers after completing an Associate’s Degree

A few of the career choices that you can make after choosing an Associate's degree is as given below.

  • Air Traffic Controller

  • Allergy Technician

  • Architectural Technician

  • Biomedical Technician

  • CAD Technician

  • Chemical Technician

  • Desktop Publisher

  • Electrical Engineering Technician

Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s Degree is a three-five year course. It is an undergraduate degree which comprises of 120 credits in a semester pattern or 180 quarter credits in a quarter system. It is a post-secondary degree and provides a foundation in the respective subjects. It is also called as a Baccalaureate Degree. It is a standard degree for pursuing a career in a respective field.

The degree can be pursued both online and on-campus. Hence the bachelor’s degree has been made more accessible. Some of the major courses available in the degree are Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, Bachelor’s Degree in Botany, Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Science, Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies and many others.

Some features of this course are:

  • Provides important knowledge on the subjects you opt for.

  • The degree can be completed in mostly four years. It is available in an accelerated form online.

  • The degrees are affordable and are the minimum degree required to build a profession in many sectors. 

  • The specializations and electives offered in the degree courses are diverse and gives technical and vocational training required to succeed. 

Source: Quick meme

Why is a Bachelor’s Degree important?

A few reasons why you should earn a Bachelor's degree is as given below.

  • Provides employment opportunities: Bachelor’s Degree is a minimum requirement in many sectors. The degree would provide you with the potential and knowledge to develop a career.

  • Improves wages: A Bachelor’s Degree improves the employment opportunities and hence improves the wage rate. Bachelor’s Degree holders can earn better as compared to high school graduates.

  • Necessary for Graduate Studies: In order to enroll in a graduate program, you need to complete a bachelor’s degree. It is the necessary requirement.

Eligibility and Requirements for Enrollment in a Bachelor’s Degree

The enrollment criteria for a Bachelor's degree remains the same in most of the universities. A few of them are as given below.

  • You must be a high school graduate or have a GED certificate.

  • The application form must be complete.

  • The ACT or SAT scores are required.

  • Minimum GPA requirements should be met.

  • Have an Associate’s Degree (if you want to get enrolled in the third year directly or transfer the credits)

  • Official high school scripts must be presented.

  • General, major and elective courses must be completed.

 Types of Bachelor's Degree

Degree Type Criteria
Bachelor of Arts
  • Liberal Arts Majors along with specialization

  • Duration – 4 years

  • Credits - 120

Bachelor of Science
  • Specialized courses in subjects including Botany Mathematics, Physics and many more

  • Duration – 4 years

  • Credits-120 (Semester), 180 (Quarter)

Bachelor of Fine Arts

  • Fine arts and Creative Subjects

  • Duration – 4 years

  • Credits – 120 (Semester), 180 (Quarter)

Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Focuses on any student with an Associate Degree

  • Duration – 4 years

  • Credits – 120 (Semester), 180 (Quarter)

 Examples of Bachelor Degree programs:

A few examples of Bachelor's degree offered in different subjects are as follows.

  • Bachelor’s in Computer Science- The degree provides knowledge in concepts such as computer applications, web development, database analysis and many others.

  • Bachelors in Business Management- The subjects explored in this degree are that of marketing, finance, human relationship management, business analytics, and many others.

  • Bachelor’s in Biology- The subjects explored in this subject are human and animal anatomy, physiology, earth sciences, microbiology to name a few.

  • Bachelors in Psychology- Few subjects explored in the degree are behavioral psychology, child psychology, human psychology, and many others.

  • Bachelors in Media Studies- The program includes subjects such as communication; editing and writing, game designing and many others.

Universities/Colleges that offer Bachelor’s Degree

Some of the universities of the United States that offer a Bachelor's degree are as follows.

Arizona State University

Indiana University Purdue University

Ohio University

Capella University

Kaplan University

Washington State University

Baker University

Saint Joseph’s University

Liberty University

Ashford University

Careers after a Bachelor’s Degree

Some of the careers choices that can be made after the completion of a Bachelor's degree are as follows.

  • Nurse practitioner

  • Investment Analyst

  • Information System Managers

  • Architectural and Engineering Managers

  • Petroleum Engineers

  • Human Relations Managers

  • Medical and Health Services Managers


People would prefer to find employment and enter a job once earning their undergraduate degree in order to spend a while sorting out whether or not they really need to pursue an advanced degree. Some graduate programs also cater to working professionals, providing the possibility to pursue an advanced degree whereas still working full-time. Hence most often an Associate's degree is consisdered as the minimum qualification to enter into a job.


  What is the duration for completing the undergraduate degree?

The duration of an Associate's undergraduate degree is 2 years whereas for a Bachelor's Degree is 4 years. 

  What are the different types of undergraduate degrees? 

Associate's Degree and Bachelor's Degree which can be further divided as AA, AS, and AAS for Associate's Degree and B.A, B.S, BSA, BFA for Bachelor's Degree. 


  What are the requirements for enrolling in an undergraduate degree?

The student must be a high school graduate or have a GED certificate.

Must have the minimum GPA.

Have minimum SAT or ACT scores if required. 

  Can an Associate Degree Student apply for financial aid?

Associate degree students are also eligible to apply for financial aid.

  Is the lateral entry program of Bachelors degree equivalent to a 4-year degree program?

In the lateral entry program, the applicant directly enters into the third year of the Bachelors program and hence is equivalent to the Bachelors degree.

  Can I do the Associate degree in one college and the Bachelors degree later in another college?

If the credit transfer policies of both the institutions match, then it is possible to do Associate and Bachelors in different colleges.