Bachelors Degrees & Associates Programs

Associates & Bachelor’s Degree Programs are both portals to continued education as well as potential pathways to numerous careers. Preparing for and finding the right degree is an important task. In a way, your undergraduate is like building blocks. Look for a 2-year associates degree, a 4-year bachelor’s degree, or a college that has a 2 + 2 program where you can start your associate degree and transfer the credits to a bachelor’s program. It is your personal academic journey.

Whether you are passionate about fine arts, humanities, languages, STEM disciplines, computer science, health or business administration, there is an Associates or Bachelor’s degree that will leverage your existing talents, strengthen your skills, deepen your knowledge and align with your personality, your goals, and your learning needs.

 

Associates Degrees

Associates Degrees generally take 2-years to complete. Some are useful to transfer credits towards a Bachelor’s degree, while others may prepare graduates for entry-level work.

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Bachelors Degrees

Bachelors Degrees generally take 4-years to complete. A Bachelor Degree is both a pathway to a variety of potential professions and platform for continued education.

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Undergraduate Certificates

Undergraduate certificates can be used as a stepping-stone to a Bachelor’s degree or as a boost to your credentials and career-specific skill-sets.

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The Associate’s Degree: Basics

An Associate’s degree is usually a 2-year undergraduate degree that either prepares you with basic skills and knowledge to potentially enter the work-place after graduation – think entry-level in some fields, or sets the stage for your Bachelor degree.

Typically, prospective applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent, and in two years, can often complete the general education requirements for later transfer into a four-year degree. Hence the expression, ‘transfer degree’. Some traditional and online colleges, universities, community and technical colleges, and junior colleges offer ‘2+2’ programs, which means that students who have completed the first two years of their bachelor degree, have earned their associate’s degree. After that, they may seek continued education post-associate at a larger university or college through an articulation agreement. Sometimes this plan is more affordable than a 4-year degree.

Types of Associates Degrees: A.A., A.S., A.A.S.

The most common Associate’s degree programs are the Associate of Arts (A.A.), the Associate of Science (A.S.), and the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.)

What is an Associate of Arts?


The Associate of Arts generally requires completion of about 60 hours of coursework which includes general education, as well as credit hours in your major (usually in the social sciences or humanities). Many students use this as a transfer degree to the Bachelor of Arts.

What is an Associate of Science?


The Associate of Science also generally requires completion of about 60 hours of coursework which includes general education and core coursework in your major (usually in mathematics, natural sciences, or technology). Unlike the A.A. expect to focus more on your major than on liberal arts. Many students use this as a transfer degree to the Bachelor of Science.

What is an Associate of Applied Science?


The Associate of Applied Science is not designed as a transfer degree, but as a professionally-focused programs that is designed to prepare students to enter the workplace after graduation. Expect less liberal arts or general education and more job-related skills for those careers where the Associate is considered the entry-level credential.

The Bachelors Degree: Basics

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in the United States are usually formatted to be completed in four years of full time study. This may vary some between schools and academic disciplines, so you can always check within your specific field. The baccalaureate (Latin for a bachelor’s degree) is awarded after successfully completing the requirements of your program.

Credits required for a Bachelor Degree

In terms of credits, this can range from 120 semester credits or 180 quarter credits if your college uses the quarter system rather than the semester system. This is roughly 40 college courses! But that doesn’t mean you take all those credits in the same subject. Actually, in most cases, a Bachelor degree program consists of general education or liberal arts courses (e.g. English, psychology, history, mathematics, science etc.) and electives. And, typically, only 30 to 80 credits will be in your major field of study.

Types of Bachelor Degree Programs: B.A., B.S., B.F.A.

By the time college comes around, you may already know what you are looking for in terms of a bachelor’s degree program, but sometimes the choice is not so clear. The 3 most common types of bachelor degrees are the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

What is a B.A. Degree?


A Bachelor of Arts degree is typically designed so that you are required to take fewer concentration courses than the Bachelor of Science, and so may focus more on exploring the liberal arts, humanities and languages. If you are looking for a little more freedom and flexibility when it comes to customizing your education and future career, this may be a good fit. Sometimes the B.A. is used to prepare for a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree.

What is a B.S. Degree?


While the B.A. tends towards general, the Bachelor of Science tends to be more technical and structured around your major. It is pretty common to have more of an analytic, mathematical or scientific (as opposed to liberal arts) courses. To a certain extent, if you are interested in a career-focused undergraduate degree, this may be a good fit. Sometimes the B.S. is used to prepare for a Master of Science (M.S.) degree.

What is a B.F.A.?


If you are an aspiring creative arts professional (e.g. writer, singer, actor, painter, graphic artist), the Bachelor of fine Arts is, like the Bachelor of Science, a type of vocational bachelor’s degree. If you are trying to decide between a B.A. and a B.F.A., the main difference them is the tendency in the B.F.A. to focus more on the major concentration than on general studies. Sometimes the B.F.A. is used to prepare for a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree.

How to Choose a Bachelor’s Degree Program

While your best bet when it comes to choosing a Bachelor Degree is reviewing the information from your prospective college, there are a few standard things to familiarize yourself with. For instance, application procedures vary, but if you are reading this from the standpoint of your last year in high school – finish, and do well. Colleges want your high school transcripts, or equivalent.

They may also require a specific grade point average, ACT and SAT scores and letters of recommendation. No doubt, you may have to write an essay on why the specific college you are choosing is right for you. It may be wise to review any useful tips on how to write a successful admissions essay, so that is definitely something for your Bachelor ‘to-do’ list. From here, you want to consider, just what exactly do you want to study?

Declaring Your Major

If you are just getting started looking into the college experience, one of the things you may have consider up front is what you want to major in. This is actually called “declaring your major”. Your college ‘major’ describes your main focus of study, and it may have concentration or sub-categories. For instance, you might major in business with a concentration in finance, or major in computer science with a concentration in geographic information systems.

Will You Choose A Minor?

A ‘minor’ usually comprises about 20 hours or less of college credit during your 4 years. This can either be a side interest of an area that complements your major. If your goal is to shape a future career, your major does tend to show up on your resume. The minor might if it is applicable, so you want to spend some time thinking ahead to make an informed decision in the present moment. There are usually college-specific policies about minors but one thing is pretty common – you can’t major in Psychology and minor in psychology, but you may be able to major in marketing and minor in psychology.

DID YOU KNOW? 

The term “bachelor” in the 12th century referred to a knight bachelor who was either too young or too poor to have any troops. Through time the word evolved to be associated with bacca lauri in reference to the laurels that were being awarded for academic success or honors.

On-Campus or Online Bachelors or Associates Degrees?

One of the great features of Under.GradSchools.com is that it actually helps you narrow down your search for either an Associate or a Bachelor program by giving you some filters for your preferences. Search by category and subject as well as program learning format. Your college years can be unique and memorable if you are seeking the social learning setting of a campus – meet new people, participate in activities, get hands-on instruction in some fascinating subjects. Or, you can approach your degree with the get-it-done mindset and look for Online degrees, a choice growing in popularity with busy working professionals. If you don’t want to give up the interpersonal experience of campus study, but need the convenience of an online degree, some programs are offered as blended online or hybrid degree.

Which Degree is Right for You?

A Bachelor’s degree may be important for many reasons, but the top 2 have to be potential professional success and a platform for continued education (which may actually go hand in hand!). If you are looking at things purely from the bachelor degree salaries perspective, recent BLS data indicates the earnings are almost double for Bachelor’s degree graduates than for Associate’s degree graduates. And, for that matter, the further along you go graduate school wise (Master’s, Professional and Doctorate Degrees) the higher the median usual weekly earnings .

Continued Education

Just as an Associate’s degree can be used as a stepping-stone to a bachelor’s degree, a bachelor’s can be used as a spring-board to a master’s or doctorate degree, and not just for the potential boost to your bank account. For some occupations, around 33 at least, you’re likely to need a master’s degree to qualify for entry-level jobs, while in others, a master’s degree may not be required, but having one might lead to advancement or higher pay . In terms of your undergraduate degree this means you should research the academic path to any career you are considering so that you make supportive educational decisions during your 4 years at college. This applies to choosing your major, deciding between a B.A., B.S. and B.F.A., supplementing with a certificate or deciding on a minor that aligns with your passions and interests.

Find an Associates or Bachelor’s Degree Program:

Keep in mind that as far as colleges go, there are application and tuition deadlines. Also, if there is any preparatory work you can do, you want to find out beforehand. Some majors are selective and may have limited enrollment which means filling out an application, meeting that deadline, and getting accepted. Continued success may involve using a calendar to map these things out and reading your college’s general catalogue for things like major, minor and certificate requirements. Do not underestimate a good guidance counselor either. To search this site, you can use the navigation to find degrees by subject, by level (Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Certificates) format (Online, Campus or Hybrid). The icons are great to start exploring popular undergraduate majors. Use the live links to request more information from prospective schools, and you are on your way to earning your laurels!