What is a Bachelor's Degree?
A bachelor's, or baccalaureate, degree is the term for the degree received after a student finishes his or her undergraduate education. It usually requires about 120 credits or 40 courses to obtain. Typically this takes anywhere from three to five years to complete. The amount of time needed is really based on the amount of credits you can take during a semester, but almost all people finish the degree within that timeframe.
There are several different types of bachelor degrees and the reason for this is that different majors or courses of study have different names for the degree. The most common degrees are:
- Bachelor of Arts (BA): This degree is generally given to students who pursue a course of study that is related to liberal arts such as English, history, or language studies. The BA curriculum is quite well-rounded, with a considerable part devoted to general classes the student chooses, and the rest of the courses pertinent to the major.
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA): This degree is reserved for students who are pursuing a degree in performing or visual arts. Majors that receive this degree include music, drama, and design. The BFA curriculum is different from that of the BA in that much of the work students complete is done in a studio or theater-like setting.
- Bachelor of Sciences (BS): This degree is for students that major in scientific areas like biology, chemistry, or physics. The BS degree focuses more on coursework related to the major than the BA degree. Students often find themselves working in a laboratory, and the depth of their education is larger than the breadth of the degree.
There are also several other degrees that are becoming more common. These include:
- Bachelor of Engineering/Applied Science (BE/BAsc): This degree is one specially reserved for engineering majors. It is quite similar to a bachelor of sciences, except students majoring in engineering must learn about many scientific disciplines to complete their degree. This course of study is broader than a bachelor of sciences.
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA): This degree is for students that pursue a major related to business such as accounting, finance, marketing, or management. Students in this discipline take more general classes than those in a BS degree, but less typically less than a BA.
Where Can I Get a Bachelor's Degree?
There are two different ways to receive a bachelor's degree; deciding which one to choose depends on personal preferences.
- Traditional: A bachelor's degree can be obtained through enrollment in an undergraduate university. To be accepted into a university, one must apply to the school. While all schools have slightly different requirements, most of them require these things:
- High school diploma and GPA or GED certification
- SAT or ACT scores
- Personal statement (short essay explaining why you should be accepted)
- Online: With the emergence of the Internet, bachelor's degree programs are now available online. These can be taken from the comfort of your own home, and in between a work schedule. Their requirements are similar to those of traditional universities.
How Much Will a Bachelor's Degree Cost?
This is a question that really depends on the university you choose. Private university tuition generally ranges from $30,000-$50,000 a year, depending on the school. Public university tuition is much cheaper for in-state students usually ranging from $5,000-$15,000 a year. Online colleges generally charge per credit-hour, but estimating a yearly tuition would put their rates at about the same level as a public university.
All school, offer some form of financial aid for students based on financial need or scholastic achievement. To find out more information, contact your school and find out the requirements.
Transitioning to a Bachelor's Degree
Many people who pursue bachelor's degrees have been out of school for a few years, or have completed an associate degree program. Colleges and universities are understanding of this and appreciate the work experience. Most schools allow you to transfer credits from previous education to the degree you are pursuing. Some schools even grant credits for work experience if it is related to your course of study. Call or e-mail the department of admissions to find out more in this subject.
There is a wide variety of majors to choose from when undertaking a bachelor's degree. Pretty much any career that is available has a corresponding major. Topics can range from engineering to finance to zoology.