Bachelor's Degree & Undergraduate Programs in USA
What is a bachelor's degree in the US
An undergraduate bachelor's degree usually, is a four year course. For successful completion of the course, one has to attain 120-128 credits (depending on the university requirements). You can transfer with 60 credits you achieve from an associate degree completed in the US to the 3rd year of a regular college or university and go on to graduate with a bachelor's degree. In case of transfer of credits from outside the US, the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) recognized credential evaluation services, evaluate the profiles.
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College titles in a 4 year bachelor's program
College students are called by different names according to how many "credit hours (units)" they have stacked up and not just by how many years they've been in college:
0 - 29 credits: You'll be known as a "freshman"
30 - 59 credits: You'll be known as a "sophomore"
60 - 89 credits: You'll be known as a "junior"
90 - 120 credits: You'll be known as a "senior"
The undergraduate courses in the US follow a “liberal arts” philosophy, under which, the students learn the basics of all subjects and depths of subjects of their choice. Studying subjects like English composition, social sciences, humanities, history, mathematics and natural or physical sciences promotes all round development of a student.
After meeting the basic curriculum requirements in the 1st two years, students are then required to select a specific course of study that they would like to "major" i.e. specialize in.
Choose your major in a field that greatly interests you, and which would lead to your desired career. The junior & senior years in college are spent taking more courses that are more directly related to your major.
Other four-year colleges and universities emphasize preparation for special professional areas—fine arts, pharmacy, engineering, business, agriculture, and other specialized fields.
Types of bachelor's degrees in the US
The two types of bachelor’s degrees typically offered are B.A. degrees (Bachelor of Arts degrees) and B.S. degrees (Bachelor of Science degrees). If you choose to earn a B.A., the majority of your coursework will typically be in the arts, such as social sciences, humanities or fine arts. Students who earn a B.S. degree take the majority of their courses in life, physical or mathematical sciences.
Students who major in certain fields such as business, engineering or science find that the curriculum is often more tightly structured than it is in the humanities or socials sciences. Business, science and engineering majors may have to take more courses related to their major field of study and have fewer electives, or optional courses.
The "four years" expected to complete a B.A. degree is an estimate of time it should take to complete the required number of credit hours. Thus, a B.A. could be achieved in less time if the student "overloads," that is, takes more classes than expected. It could also be achieved as "on time" in most institutions if completed within a six-year period.
B.A. degrees are most commonly awarded for successful completion of a "liberal arts" program (in majors such as English literature, humanities, history, philosophy, communication arts, and political science). In rare instances, some schools like Augustana College (Illinois), Saint Anselm College, and Morehouse College award B.As in non-liberal arts subjects like business administration, and biological sciences because they require a strong liberal arts emphasis throughout the delivery of their course content.
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