What does AA BA MA and PhD mean?

Degree classifications



1. Associate's degree AA, AS, AAS (chiefly in the United States of America) or Foundation degree (in the UK)

Usually two years (20 courses or 60 semester credit-hours); often an intermediate degree before finishing Bachelor's. In the UK, a foundation degree is typically 240 credits (whereas a full Bachelor with honors is 360 credits).

2. Bachelor's degrees BA, BS (undergraduate degrees; first degrees).

Usually three or four years (40 courses or 120 semester credit-hours); in a few cases, a degree called "bachelor" is in fact a postgraduate degree - see, for example, Bachelor of Civil Law, Bachelor of Philosophy. An Honors Bachelor's degree may be conferred upon those completing a four-year program, to differentiate it from a three-year Bachelor's.

3. Master's degrees MA, MS

These are sometimes placed in a further hierarchy, starting with degrees such as the Master of Arts and Master of Science, then Master of Philosophy, and finally Master of Letters. In many fields such as clinical social work, or library science in North America, a Master's is the terminal degree. Typically, the master's degree can take between two and three years to complete depending on the program of study.

4. First Professional degrees

First professional degrees are required for professional licensure or entrance to a specific career. These degrees require a bachelor's degree for admission into the program, followed by three to four years of specialized study. Graduates in some cases are called doctor and the degree program sometimes includes the word doctor.

5. Doctorates PhD EdD, MD DDS, and many more.

These are often further divided into academic and professional doctorates.

An academic doctorate can be awarded as a Ph.D. (Philosophy Doctor), or as a DSc (Scientiae Doctor). The scientiae doctor degree can be also be awarded in specific fields, such as a Dr.sc.math (Doctor scientiarum mathematicarum, Doctor of Mathematics), Dr.sc.agr. (Doctor scientiarum agrariarum, Doctor of Agricultural science), etc. In Europe, doctorates are divided into the Ph.D. or 'junior doctorate', and the 'higher doctorates' such as the DSc, which is generally awarded to highly distinguished professors. A doctorate is the terminal degree in most fields. In the United States, there is little distinction between a Ph.D. and D.Sc.
Degree classifications



1. Associate's degree AA, AS, AAS (chiefly in the United States of America) or Foundation degree (in the UK)

Usually two years (20 courses or 60 semester credit-hours); often an intermediate degree before finishing Bachelor's. In the UK, a foundation degree is typically 240 credits (whereas a full Bachelor with honors is 360 credits).

2. Bachelor's degrees BA, BS (undergraduate degrees; first degrees).

Usually three or four years (40 courses or 120 semester credit-hours); in a few cases, a degree called "bachelor" is in fact a postgraduate degree - see, for example, Bachelor of Civil Law, Bachelor of Philosophy. An Honors Bachelor's degree may be conferred upon those completing a four-year program, to differentiate it from a three-year Bachelor's.

3. Master's degrees MA, MS

These are sometimes placed in a further hierarchy, starting with degrees such as the Master of Arts and Master of Science, then Master of Philosophy, and finally Master of Letters. In many fields such as clinical social work, or library science in North America, a Master's is the terminal degree. Typically, the master's degree can take between two and three years to complete depending on the program of study.

4. First Professional degrees

First professional degrees are required for professional licensure or entrance to a specific career. These degrees require a bachelor's degree for admission into the program, followed by three to four years of specialized study. Graduates in some cases are called doctor and the degree program sometimes includes the word doctor.

5. Doctorates PhD EdD, MD DDS, and many more.

These are often further divided into academic and professional doctorates.

An academic doctorate can be awarded as a Ph.D. (Philosophy Doctor), or as a DSc (Scientiae Doctor). The scientiae doctor degree can be also be awarded in specific fields, such as a Dr.sc.math (Doctor scientiarum mathematicarum, Doctor of Mathematics), Dr.sc.agr. (Doctor scientiarum agrariarum, Doctor of Agricultural science), etc. In Europe, doctorates are divided into the Ph.D. or 'junior doctorate', and the 'higher doctorates' such as the DSc, which is generally awarded to highly distinguished professors. A doctorate is the terminal degree in most fields. In the United States, there is little distinction between a Ph.D. and D.Sc.