If you are about to enter the world of college and university, you may be encountering a few terms that you have not heard before. You might be wondering what a bachelor’s degree is and what makes it different from a master’s degree. While the two have a lot in common, you can read on below to discover exactly what you need to know before you start pursuing one of your own.

What is a Bachelor’s Degree?

Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree will usually enroll in a four-year program. While accelerated, two-year programs are available, the four-year college experience is the most typical and the most common. Many employers consider a bachelor’s degree to be foundational to a career and expect applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree before pursuing a career. A student usually chooses a degree in a field relevant to the sort of career they hope to pursue. While most of the curriculum usually focuses on material relevant to the particular degree, bachelor’s degrees usually require students to take multiple common core education courses that extend beyond the student’s particular field. For example, an English student will still be required to take courses in mathematics, sciences, and history in addition to their English coursework. Most colleges and universities believe that this helps create well-rounded students. The three most common bachelor’s degrees are Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).

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How Does a Master’s Degree Compare?

A master’s is a more advanced degree and it follows a bachelor’s, meaning it usually builds on the material a student covered for their bachelor’s degree. In some cases, however, students choose to pursue something entirely new and simply take additional courses to make up any credits they are lacking. Master’s programs can range in length and duration. Some programs are accelerated, lasting between 1-3 years, while others are longer and can take between 4-5 years. Because students who pursue a master’s degree are usually very career-driven, their courses are more specialized and directly related to the career the student wants to pursue after college than a bachelor’s. In other words, master’s students usually do not have to take core classes. A master’s degree can also be handy if you want to change your path. For example, a student who completed a bachelor’s degree in English may wish to pursue a career more specifically in marketing or communications. Through the pursuit of a master’s degree, the student could take courses building on the previous writing curriculum to expand and focus their skills more explicitly on marketing and communications. The three most common types of master’s degrees are Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Business Administration (MBA).

New students will want to pursue a four-year bachelor’s program, while more career-driven students with more experience will want to look into master’s programs. Both programs have their merits and both are beneficial to negotiating a salary.  


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