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College Degrees in Order: A Complete List

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University degrees in order of education level begin with an associate degree, followed by a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a doctoral degree. This guide introduces each degree and details durations, prerequisites, common areas of study, and reasons for pursuing the degree.

Whether you’re just starting to think about college or considering graduate school, this page might help.

Associate’s Degree

Completion time: One to two years
Number of credits required: ~60

High school graduates or GED completers pursuing an associate’s degree may want to get into the job market quickly, save money, complete bachelor’s degree prerequisites, or explore a field of study before graduating. embark on a four-year program.

Community colleges and technical schools award associate degrees in business administration and associate degrees in computer science, as well as degrees in other popular fields such as health care, liberal arts and sciences, and criminal justice . Learners looking for flexibility while they work or take care of family responsibilities or those who want to accelerate their education can explore online associate degree options.

Associated degree programs may include internships, internships, or capstone projects. In addition to a high school or GED transcript, you may need a minimum GPA or ACT/SAT score.

Types of Associate Degrees

Types of associate degrees include the three listed below.

An Associate in Applied Science appeals to students wanting to start working in positions as a paralegal and registered nurse. The Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees serve students interested in bachelor’s degree programs or entry-level jobs.

  • Associate in Applied Science (AAS)
  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate in Science (AS)


Completion time: Four years
Number of credits required: ~120

Bachelor’s degrees prepare students for entry into many professions, including accounting, engineering, and information technology. They also offer a gateway to higher education.

Four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees. Online bachelor’s degree programs offer the opportunity to earn accelerated bachelor’s degrees in one to three years.

Admission typically requires a high school diploma or GED certificate, ACT/SAT scores, minimum GPAs, and course prerequisites.

Bachelor’s programs often offer internships and require graduates to complete capstone projects, internships, or research papers. The four-year program consists of approximately two years of general studies and two years of major courses.

Students can often transfer after earning their associate degrees for the final two years of a bachelor’s degree program.

SEE: Getting an Internship at a Tech Company: Your Practical Guide

Types of bachelor’s degree

Below are the types of bachelor’s degrees. They prepare you for careers in architecture and business administration or for higher education in the arts, fine arts, sciences and humanities.

  • AAS holders often return to school to advance their careers with a bachelor’s degree in applied science.
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS)
  • Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BS)

Master’s degree

Completion time: One to three years
Number of credits required: ~30

Holders of a bachelor’s degree pursue master’s studies to advance their careers, increase their salaries, gain access to administrative or management positions, or prepare for doctoral studies.

You should expect an intensive program with internships, a capstone project or thesis, and comprehensive exams. Enrollees specialize their studies in specific areas of their fields of study, such as nursing anesthesia or software engineering.

Master’s degree programs, especially those in executive-level business topics, can be very expensive. But master’s degrees can increase graduate salaries by about 20%.

You can opt for online masters programs, which can also offer the cheapest masters degrees.

Some of the most in-demand master’s degrees include advanced practice nursing, business administration, computer and information science, engineering, and healthcare administration.

Types of masters

A master of science covers areas such as nursing, engineering, computer science, and biological sciences. Specific professional degrees include MBAs, health and public health leadership, education, and social work. Many published writers hold MFA degrees.

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.)
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
  • Master of Laws (LL.M.)
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA)
  • Masters in Public Health (MPH)
  • Master in Publishing (M.Pub.)
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Master of Social Work (MSW)

SEE: Best Online MBA Degrees


Completion time: four to eight years
Number of credits required: Highly variable

Major research universities award doctorates. Some, like the online doctorate. programs, are offered remotely.

Doctoral programs may require a bachelor’s or master’s degree, letters of recommendation, and research proposals.

Doctorates in fields like law, business administration, and medicine can be expensive. Many learners take out loans and apply for scholarships.

Ph.D. programs, on the other hand, may offer teaching or research assistantships and stipends. This aid can reduce or eliminate tuition fees.

Doctoral programs require several years to complete and prepare graduates for academic roles, leadership positions, and high-level professional careers, including lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, and educational administrators.

You should expect in-depth research projects or dissertations, clinics and residencies, and/or comprehensive exams.

Types of doctorate

The degrees listed below illustrate the range of doctorates available. For students who want to become faculty members of major research institutes or professionals like dentists, doctors, and lawyers, a doctorate is often the only route.

  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)
  • Juris Doctor (JD)

READ IT: Best Online PhD in Business Administration 2022

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