2018 March 23 (Friday)
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Academic Degrees of the United States

Academic Degrees of the United States

I this article, Canadian Pharmacy will review academic degrees in the United States system of education. This knowledge will help you get a better idea of an Americal education.

Associate Degree

It is an intermediate degree between the graduation and the bachelor’s degree. This degree is awarded after studying for a two-year college program and leads to a bachelor’s degree after completing two additional years of study.

Bachelor’s Degree

In the United States, the first stage of higher education (immediately after high school) lasts, as a rule, four years (in some specialties, for example, architecture, it takes 5 years to study) and, if successful, ends up with a Bachelor’s Degree. Training at this level is called undergraduate. It can be divided into two two-year blocks with an intermediate Associate degree. In this case, after the first two years of study in a two-year college (where education costs less), you can change the institution.

When you receive Bachelor’s Degree, you become a graduate student, the so-called graduate student. Training at the level above undergraduate (after receiving Bachelor’s Degree) is called graduate (or postgraduate, which is more often used in the UK) and, according to Online Pharmacy, can end with:

  • a master’s degree (duration 1-2 years);
  • a master’s degree and further doctoral training (even 3 years);
  • a doctoral degree (no less than 4 years).

Master’s Degree

Master’s degrees are not awarded by all universities, but only by those who have appropriate training programs and have passed the necessary certification. In the field of art, humanities and other university areas, educational institutions give a Master of Arts degree (MA). In the technical branches – Master of Science (M.S.). In university business schools, students graduate from the University with a Master of Business Administration degree (M.B.A.). In addition, the title of the degree may include the subject of training, for example, Master of Science in Electronics. All these are academic degrees.

There are also degrees in the title which indicate narrow specializations. This is done to confirm high professional qualifications and, as a rule, they do not lead to higher scientific degrees. These are professional degrees.

Canadian Pharmacy reminds that it is important to know which academic degrees can be obtained at a particular university and whether it is then possible to enter a higher level of education.

Training for a Master’s degree lasts from one to two years, or from 30 to 60 credit hours. A credit hour is a unit of measurement of student workload. Nominally, each credit hour equals one academic hour of classes per week during the semester. But for some specialties, a student can get 1 credit hour for 2 or 3 weekly academic hours of practical classes. In addition, this implies several hours of independent work (with its obvious results in terms of course work, etc.). Lectures and practical classes for each subject take approximately two to four academic hours a week. A student in the initial period can study 3-4 disciplines. Universities do not set the boundaries of the number of courses that a student can enroll, but the tuition fee is calculated based on the number of credit hours of the subjects for which the student applied. Therefore, enrolling in the courses you need to calculate your strengths, then, after failing the exam, not to lose the money spent, as payment is collected at the beginning of the year for those items that the student is going to listen to, and not for the passed exams. However, there are such disciplines, which take into account several factors, including attendance.

To get a degree, you must have a minimum of 30 credit hours with an average score of “B” (good). The number of classes in the training program can be chosen among the proposed academic courses. In addition, most programs require independent scientific work to obtain a Master’s degree (this requirement depends on the specialization and the specific university). It is conducted under the guidance of a professor or a board of professors who help in choosing scientific programs. Here the student must have original thinking and creative approach.

Training for a Doctor’s degree leads to the title of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the field of arts, humanities, and engineering, or Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in the disciplines related to teaching. There are also a number of special doctoral degrees.

As mentioned by Canadian Pharmacy, the basis of doctoral programs is independent scientific research that leads to the defense of a doctoral dissertation.

The Doctor’s degree is the next degree after the Master’s degree. However, in the USA one can become a doctor without obtaining a master’s degree. In some universities, there are programs for training for a Doctor’s degree without intermediate assignment of a Master’s degree. Accordingly, the duration of such programs is longer than the duration of the programs for those who already have a Master’s degree. There are also combined programs, by which you can get a Master’s degree and then a Doctor. The duration of such programs is usually less than when learning two degrees separately.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, you can also study for a year or two to prepare for the doctoral program. In this case, the candidate does not need to have a Master’s degree. After such preparation, you can apply for admission to a doctoral program. If the university approves it, the training leading to the Doctor’s degree begins.

First-professional degrees

According to Online Pharmacy, professional degrees are degrees recognized by the US Department of Education as necessary for subsequent licensing. They are assigned in the following areas: veterinary medicine (DVM), theology (MDiv, BD), medicine (MD), optometry (OD), osteopathic medicine (DO), orthopedics (PodD, DP, DPM), right (LLB, JD), dentistry (DDS, DMD), rabbinical training (MHL, Rav), pharmacology (Bpharm, PharmD), chiropractic (DC, DCM).