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What is the difference between an undergraduate and a graduate degree?

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2012-01-27 19:30:15
2012-01-27 19:30:15

Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees

In general, Associates and Bachelors degrees are considered undergraduate course work, while the Masters and Doctoral degrees are considered graduate course work. Graduate course work - in most cases - is very specific and particular to one field of study. Thus, the graduate study is advanced course work which follows undergraduate course work.

An undergraduate degree is awarded for the completion of 2 years (associates) or 4 years (bachelors) of college level study.

A graduate degree is awarded after attending graduate school. A graduate degree is a masters degree, which generally takes 2-3 years of graduate school after college.

Undergraduate coursework is a basic educational foundation within a given program of study following high school. The course work includes a general cluster of knowledge that promotes a well rounded education. Thus, the student is exposed to a variety of areas, not just their chosen field of study. These areas would include general education courses to include, English, Math, History, Laboratory Science, courses in Humanities, and Social Sciences to mention a few. These would be tightly coupled with the students Major Requirements and Major Elective Requirements.

In the UK...In the UK, the descriptors as to what constitutes an Undergraduate / Bachelors Degree and a Graduate (Master's or Doctoral) degree is set by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) in their document "The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland".

In it they specify that a Bachelors Degree is a level 6 course in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) system.

Any course above this level is a graduate degree or equivalent (e.g. Master's Degree or Postgraduate Certificates at level 7 or Doctoral Degree at level 8).

They also outline the differences between the two levels of qualification and the expected requirements and outcomes of having studied at the differing levels.

Please see the related links section for further information.

In the USA...In the USA, information on the difference between varying levels of tertiary (post high school) education is given on the US Department of Education website.

In general the following applies:

In the US there are 6 main levels of post high school education:

  1. Associate Degrees
  2. Bachelors Degrees
  3. First-Professional Degrees
  4. Master's Degrees
  5. Intermediate Graduate Qualifications
  6. Research Doctorate Degrees

Level 1 and 2 count as undergraduate courses of study. Above this level the qualifications require an undergraduate degree or period of study as a prerequisite and so are termed graduate courses.

Both Level 3 and 6 qualifications commonly lead to the title of Doctor, however level 3 qualifications are professional doctorates such as those in medicine e.g. MD, whereas level 6 doctorates are research or academic doctorates e.g. PhD.

In general in the USA:
  • Undergraduate courses involve study in Freshman-Senior courses with the aim of gaining a Bachelor's or Associates Degree.
  • Graduate courses involve study for a higher level qualification which has an undergraduate degree as a pre requisite requirement.

See related links for further information.

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Related Questions


An undergraduate degree is, basically, a Bachelor's degree. A graduate degree is one that requires you already have an undergraduate degree (in other words, that you are a "graduate" of a college) in order to even enter the program, such as a Masters or Doctorate.

The associate and bachelor's degree are referred to as undergraduate degrees. The master's and doctorate degrees are referred to as graduate degrees.

An undergraduate is a person seeking a bachelor's degree but has not yet completed enough courses to be awarded the degree. A post graduate is some one has a bachelor's degree and is taking courses to obtain a master's degree or a Ph.D degree.

A pre professional degree is an undergraduate degree obtained by students planning to attend graduate school. A post professional degree is the graduate degree.

A bachelors degree is typically a four year program. During this time, your are considered an undergraduate. If you want to obtain your master or PhD then you must go to graduate school. Most universities offer undergraduate and graduate programs.

An undergraduate student has not yet graduated, while a graduate student has already graduated and received a degree and is continuing to pursue a higher level degree.

No, they are the same type of degree. An Undergraduate degree is a degree that you receive after about 4 yrs. of college education. After that, any degree you receive in relation to graduate school (i.e., Medical School, Dental School, etc.) is a Graduate degree, also known as Post Graduate degree.

It is a graduate degree __ An BA is an undergraduate degree. You normally have to get one before you can move on to the graduate level (Masters, PhD etc)

Typically in terms of higher education, the associate and bachelor's degrees are referred to as undergraduate degrees. The master's and doctorate degrees are referred to as graduate degrees.

An undergraduate is one who does not have any degree whatsoever...and a masters course is a course that you normally take after you do a bachelors degree!

Graduate Degree = Bachelors Post Graduate Degree = Masters

An undergraduate has not received a bachelors degree and a postgraduate has.

Undergraduate vs postgraduate: An undergraduate is a person seeking a bachelor's degree but has not yet completed enough courses to be awarded the degree. A post graduate is some one has a bachelor's degree and is taking courses to obtain a master's degree or a Ph.D degree.An MS is a Masters in Science degree which is a type of postgraduate program of study.

The associate and bachelor degrees are undergraduate degrees. The master's and doctorate degrees are graduate degrees and advanced study that follows the bachelor's degree.

B-tech is a technical graduate degree.

Post graduate diploma only can get after a undergraduate degree, while you can do diploma after your high school.

The two undergraduate degrees are the Associate's and the Bachelor's. So...the answer is "none."

A master's degree is advanced graduate study particular to a specific field that follows the undergraduate bachelor's degree.A master's degree is advanced graduate study particular to a specific field that follows the undergraduate bachelor's degree.A master's degree is advanced graduate study particular to a specific field that follows the undergraduate bachelor's degree.A master's degree is advanced graduate study particular to a specific field that follows the undergraduate bachelor's degree.A master's degree is advanced graduate study particular to a specific field that follows the undergraduate bachelor's degree.A master's degree is advanced graduate study particular to a specific field that follows the undergraduate bachelor's degree.

One can find undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Northern Colorado at the University of Northern Colorado. The UNC offers many undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The bachelor's degree is considered undergraduate coursework. The master's degree is advance study particular to a specific program of study that follows the bachelor's degree and is considered graduate coursework.

An individual enrolled in an engineering program can be at the undergraduate level, or graduate level. Undergraduate level - bachelors degree Graduate level - masters or doctorate (PhD)

It is not a degree at all. It is a certification.

A PgCert is a graduate degree worth 60 credits it is higher that an undergraduate degree or first degree.

Associates degree is an undergraduate degree. The associates and bachelor's degrees are undergraduate degrees, The master's and doctorate degrees are graduate degrees.

No, an undergraduate is a bachelors degree. Anything above that (masters and doctorate) is a graduate. (shb15.edublogs.org)


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