There are various different types of Bachelors degrees out there. But what do abbreviations such as B.Sc. or B.A. mean? This article gives an overview.
The Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) is one kind of Bachelor degree and usually the first academic degree that is achieved at a university or other higher education institutions. The study duration of a Bachelors programme is usually three to four years.
Usually, it is referred to as undergraduate studies. In the UK, a three-year Bachelor is also referred to as Basic or Minors Bachelor, whereas the four-year Bachelor is referred to as honours Bachelor (or Bachelor (Honours)). According to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), on average 30 credits have to be achieved during each semester for a Bachelors degree. The total amount of credits for a 3-year Bachelor is accordingly 180 ECTS and for a 4-year Bachelor 240 ECTS respectively.
The Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) is mainly awarded to students of universities in the areas of natural sciences, humanities, business sciences, engineering sciences, mathematics and informatics.
The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is the most common among Bachelor degrees and also the first academic degree that is achieved at a university or other higher education institutions. It is mainly awarded to, but not limited to students following a programme in the liberal arts. Especially traditional universities such as Cambridge or Oxford award the Bachelor of Arts to all of their subjects, including the scientific ones.
The study duration of a BA is usually three to four years and it is usually referred to as undergraduate studies.
The Bachelor of Arts (B. A.) is mainly awarded to students in the areas of Social Sciences, Linguistics, Cultural Sciences but informatics and business sciences can also be awarded a Bachelor of Arts instead of a Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.).
The Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) is one kind of Bachelor degree and usually the first academic degree that is achieved at a university in the area of law sciences. The abbreviation LL.B. stands for Legum Baccalaureus where LL. is the latin abbreviation for laws. A consecutive Masters programme in the law sciences is awarded a Master of Laws (LL. M.) accordingly.
In contrast to other Bachelor degrees such as the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) or the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is the Bachelor of Laws not that widespread, yet. Many countries such as Germany for example, still require an additional state examination in order to be eligible for practising law.
The Bachelor of Engineering (B. Eng. or BE) is one kind of Bachelor degree and usually the first academic degree that is achieved after studying one of the engineering sciences.
The Bachelor of Engineering is academically equal to the Bachelor of Science and allows consecutive Master studies. However, it is common practice to award the Bachelor of Engineering for rather practical oriented programmes at universities of applied sciences, whereas engineering programmes at universities are awarded the Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.). Due to the numerous possibilities for specialisations in the area of engineering, there are further degree types such as the Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.Sc. in Eng.), the Bachelor of Business Administration and Engineering (BBAE) or the Bachelor of Business Engineering (BBE).
A university-preparatory course (usually abbreviated as prep course) also known as a foundation degree aims at preparing students for college or university education. In most European countries, prep schools are a supplement to the general education system and usually run by independent private institutes.
Both pre-Bachelors and pre-Masters are preparation degree courses and are typically designed to increase the chances for a good university placement and to reduce deficiencies. There are also preparatory courses that are specifically designed for international students that would like to start their studies in Europe. International preparatory schools often also include language courses, social and cultural activities and guarantee the admission to the according university if they are successfully completed.
The Associate Degree (AD) is an academic degree that is especially common in North America. It can be typically achieved after a 2-year study. Many colleges offer a so-called 2+2 programme where students receive the Associate Degree after the first two years and a Bachelor Degree after another two years of studies. Similar to the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees, it is distinguished between different types of associate degrees: the Associate of Arts Degree for programmes in the area of social sciences, the Associate of Science Degree for programmes in the areas of mathematics, technology and natural sciences as well as the Associate of Applied Science for more practical oriented studies. In Europe, the Associate Degree is usually not considered as an adequate higher education degree.
Also known as dual/combined degree, the joint degree is a collaboration between two universities who don't even have to be located in the same country. The student may learn, throughout the degree course, in one or even in both institutions. The joint degree has the same duration as a regular programme and, usually, the two degrees are on the same subject. However, there are cases when you will study, in a joint programme two different fields.
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