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Encyclopedia > Undergraduate education

In some educational systems, undergraduate education is post-secondary education up to the level of a Bachelor's degree. In the United States, students of higher degrees are known as graduates. ... A bachelors degree is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or major that generally lasts for three, four, or in some cases and countries, five or six years. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...



British system

In the United Kingdom undergraduate refers to those who studied toward a bachelor's degree which usually takes three or four years. The three-year system applies to most arts, humanities and social sciences degrees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, whereas engineering and natural sciences degrees usually require four years, with the older three-year degrees being phased out. The four-year system is the standard for all undergraduate degrees in Scotland. The old Scottish masters degree after four years of undergraduate studies is being phased out to avoid confusion with postgraduate masters degrees.

Irish system

In Ireland the system is similar to that of the United Kingdom, reflecting the shared origins of undergraduate education for both countries.

Other European systems

In many other, particularly continental European systems, something like an "undergraduate" degree in the American sense does not exist. Unlike in the US, where students engage in general studies during the first years of tertiary education and only specialize in a "major" during the last years of college, European students enroll in a specific course of studies they wish to pursue right from the beginning, as they are expected to have received a sound general education already in the secondary level, in a school such as a gymnasium or lycée. At university, which they can enter at an age as early as 18 or even 17 in many countries, they specialize in a subject field which they pursue in a curriculum of, in most cases, four or five years of studies. The fields available include those which are only taught as graduate degrees in the US, such as law or medicine. A gymnasium (pronounced with or, in Swedish, as opposed to ) is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English Grammar Schools and U.S. High Schools. ... In France, secondary education is divided into two schools: the collège (IPA: ) (somewhat comparable to U.S. junior high school) for the first four years directly following primary school; the lycée (IPA: ) (comparable to a U.S. high school) for the next three years. ... Representation of a university class, 1350s. ... For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... Medicine is the science and art of maintaining andor restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of patients. ...

If there is a separate undergraduate degree, higher degrees (Master, Licentiate, Doctor) can be gained after completing the undergraduate degree. In the traditional German system, there were no undergraduate degrees in some fields, such as engineering: students continued to Master's level education without any administrative breakpoint, and employers would not consider half-finished Master's degrees. In many countries, the English distinction between a bachelor's and master's degree is only now being introduced by the Bologna process. Under the new Bologna reform, central European Universities are introducing the Bachelor level (BA or BS) degree. These new Bachelor's degrees are similar in structure to British Bachelor's degrees. A bachelors degree is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or major that generally lasts for three, four, or in some cases and countries, five or six years. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The purpose of the Bologna process is to create the European higher education area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible throughout Europe. ...

In the traditional German system, there is a vocational degree (Fachhochschule degree) that is similar in length, but is not considered an academic degree, because it is designed as a specialist degree, in contrast to the academic or generalist Master's degree. Germany itself, however, is currently abolishing this legal distinction. A Fachhochschule (plural: Fachhochschulen) or University of Applied Sciences in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland is a university specialized in certain topical areas (e. ...

Indian system

In India it takes three or four years to complete an "undergraduate" degree. The three year undergraduate programs are mostly in the fields of arts, humanities, science etc, and the four year programs are mostly in the fields of technology, engineering, medicine, etc.

Brazilian system

In Brazil, undergraduate degrees may be either bachelor's degrees, which usually take 4 or, in the case of law, 5 years to complete, or professional diplomas, which normally require 5 or, in the case of medicine, 6 years to complete. Bachelor's degrees are awarded in most fields of study in the arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and natural sciences. Professional diplomas on the other hand are awarded in state-regulated professions such as architecture, engineering, psychology, pharmacy, dental medicine, veterinary medicine, and medicine properly. One of the main differences from the American system is that students must choose their majors before joining the university, when taking the competitive entrance exam known as Vestibular. A bachelor is a man above the age of majority who has never been married (see single). ... For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... Diplom is an academic degree in Germany. ... Medicine is the science and art of maintaining andor restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of patients. ... An academic major, major concentration, concentration, or simply major is a mainly U.S. and Canadian term for a college or university students main field of specialization during his or her undergraduate studies. ... The Vestibular is a competitive examination and is the primary and widespread system used by Brazilian universities to select their students. ...

South African system

The South African system usually has a 3-year undergraduate Bachelor’s degree, with one or two majors. (There are exceptions, such as the medical qualification (MBChB) which is six years.) A fourth year, known as an Honours year, is considered a post-graduate degree. It is usually course-driven, although may include a project or thesis.

See also

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