bachelor's degree is the most commonly awarded undergraduate degree and
is required of students who seek to enter graduate-level research
programs and study for higher degrees. Most bachelor's degree programs
are designed to require 4 academic years of full-time study. However,
there are exceptions to this rule. For example, bachelor's degrees in
architecture (B.Arch.) and some engineering specialties require at least
5 years of full-time study. As with the
associate degree, some students at the bachelor's degree level are
also enrolled part-time. The time taken to complete a bachelor's degree
program is thus often longer than 4 years, with 5.5 years being the
current average. The range may be due to additional credits
mandated by some engineering programs, or also due in part to the large number of part-time adult learners.
The Career Cornerstone Center provides extensive career path and planning
information for fields in science,
medicine. Select a section to
find out more about bachelor's programs in each area.
the nature of the major concentration generally determines the specific
title of the bachelor's degree to be earned, degree titles can be
confusing. Selection of the degree name is done by the institution
through its academic policies. Majors in the humanities, social
sciences, philosophy, religious studies, and interdisciplinary or
cultural area studies frequently receive a Bachelor of Arts (B.A. or A.B.).
Programs in mathematics, the physical sciences, engineering, and some
professional fields may receive a B.A., although most receive a Bachelor
of Science (B.S. or S.B.), or a degree with the specific name of the
subject studied (such as business administration--B.B.A., education--B.Ed.,
or nursing--B.S.N., etc.).
According to the U.S. Census
Bureau there is a true economic value to education. Over the course of
their working lives, adults are likely to have higher earnings the more
educated they are. U.S. Census Bureau tables showed that more education
continues to pay off in a big way: Adults with advanced degrees earn
four times more than those with less than a high school diploma. Workers
18 and older with a master's, professional or doctoral degree earned an
average of $82,320 in 2006, while those with less than a high school
diploma earned $20,873. Financial gains are
predicted at each successive level of schooling completed in between.
Workers 18 and older with a bachelor's degree earned an average of
$56,788 in 2006, while those with a high school diploma earned $31,071.
33 percent of young women 25 to 29 had a bachelor's degree or more
education in 2007, compared with 26 percent of their male counterparts,
according to tabulations recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The report showed that among adults 25 and older, men remain slightly
more likely than women to hold at least a bachelor's degree (30 percent
compared with 28 percent). However, as the percentage for women rose
between 2006 and 2007 (from 27 percent), it remained statistically
unchanged for men. However, these statistics do not hold for all math
and science based fields, such as engineering where there is a great
need to increase the number of women and minority graduates.
In addition, the report showed that more than half of Asians 25 and
older had a bachelor's degree or more (52 percent), compared with 32
percent of non-Hispanic whites, 19 percent of blacks and 13 percent of
government-approved organizations evaluate and
accredit schools. The
approval of these organizations signals that a school meets basic
academic and financial standards. There are seven accrediting
organizations approved by the U.S. Department of Education, one for each
of seven regions.
Beyond broad school
accreditation, specific programs are also accredited.
Professional and industry associations or organizations -- such as ABET
for the engineering and computer science fields -- also accredit
programs that train professionals for specific occupations.
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