A bachelor’s degree

A bachelor’s degree is usually an academic degree earned for an undergraduate course of study or major that generally lasts four years, but can range widely in length of time, depending on ability and diligence of the student, whether or not the student balances work and other life commitments while attending school, one’s existing level of education, availability of classes, and school policies. In some exceptional cases, it may also be the name of a postgraduate degree, such as a bachelor of civil law, the bachelor of music, the bachelor of philosophy, or the bachelor of sacred theology degree.


During the Renaissance, those who received a doctorate, upon passing their final examinations, were decorated with berried branches of bay, an ancient symbol of highest honor. From this ancient custom derives the French word baccalauréat (from the Latin bacca, a berry, and laureus, of the bay laurel), and, by modification, the term “bachelor” in referring to one who holds a university degree.


In the Philippines, where the term “course” is commonly used to refer to a bachelor’s degree major, course of study or program, several undergraduate categories exist — the two most common degrees awarded being bachelor of science (BS) and bachelor of arts (AB or BA). Specializations (“majors”) in economics, business administration, accountancy/accounting, radiologic technology, nursing, architecture and engineering are offered as BS degrees in most colleges and universities. The latter two specializations require five years of schooling, in contrast to the standard of four years. Other common degrees are bachelor in education (BEd), and bachelor of laws (LLB, a professional degree). Being patterned after the United States, all universities and colleges offer graduation with honors — cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude.


Since the undergraduate education system in China is modeled after its American counterpart, all the degrees are adapted from those of the United States excepting the release of the degree certificate. Once a student has fulfilled his/her course requirements, a graduate certificate will be given. In order to get the degree, a student must finish and pass the dissertation stage; only then will he or she be awarded a degree credentialed by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. Four years of education is the standard length, although some private small colleges not credentialed by the Ministry of Education do offer three-year programs. Normally, about 90% of graduates are able to obtain a degree; however, no degree is awarded with excellency or honor. It is also referred to as a “Xueshi” (学士).



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