Most bachelor's degree programs are 120-128 credits, or semester hours, and take about four years to complete. Students who've already earned an associate degree from a regionally accredited community college can apply the credits they've earned toward a bachelor's degree at most four-year colleges and universities. Bachelor's degrees typically require students to complete "core" general education courses, electives, and major courses – which are usually upperlevel. At most colleges, only 30 to 36 credits—10 to 12 courses—are included in the major area of study.
A bachelor's degree, commonly referred to as a "college degree", is the entry-level requirement for most careers. It is also a prerequisite to admittance into more graduate schools or professional programs in law, medicine, teacher education or engineering. Before earning a bachelor's degree students should have a good idea of the career they want to pursue following graduation. Some careers and graduate schools require that you earn a bachelor's degree in specific field of study.
The Value of Earning a Bachelor's Degree
While earning a bachelor's degree doesn't guarantee career success, it lays a strong foundation for success. It helps students develop critical thinking, writing and other important skills they'll need to excel in their chosen occupation. A bachelor's degree is still the degree of choice among employers and the minimum entry-level degree for most positions.
Studies still show that in terms of earning potential, someone who earns a bachelor's degree has twice the earning potential as some without a college degree. Over a lifetime, this equates into $1.6 million more in earnings than those with a high school diploma. Professionals with a bachelor's degree also experience a significantly lower rates of unemployment than those with only a high school diploma or equivalent level of education.
Notwithstanding a tight job market and economic instability, according to economic forecasts, over 70% of future jobs will require candidate to have a bachelor's degree or higher. Earning a bachelor's degree is well worth the investment.
Types of Bachelor Degrees
The following are the most common types of bachelor's degrees:
- Bachelor of Arts (abbreviated B.A. or A.B.)
The Bachelor of Arts, commonly referred to as a B.A., is a four year college degree that focuses on the arts, specifically fine arts, liberal arts, humanities, social sciences, and history. Students enrolled in Bachelor's of Arts programs are often required to complete a foreign language or fine arts requirement.
- Bachelor of Science (abbreviated B.S. or B.Sc.)
The Bachelor of Science, commonly referred to as a B.S., is a four year college degree that focuses on the sciences, specifically physical and natural sciences, life sciences, and mathematical sciences.
Bachelor's of Legal Letters (LLB) and Bachelor's of Business Administration (BBA) are examples of other bachelor's programs that are available at some colleges and universities.
Bachelor Degrees by Subject
Below is a list of the most popular bachelor's degrees and college majors as found on The Princeton Review's "Top 10 College Majors" list and as identified by other reputable higher education publications. To explore bachelor degree programs simply click on a field of study below.
Online and Campus-based Bachelor Degree Programs
Below you'll find our editor's choice of top online and campus-based bachelor degree programs offered by accredited colleges and universities in various disciplines including design, business, paralegal studies, health care, and much more. To learn more about a specific school or program simply click on the "Request Info" button to right. You can also browse schools and programs by clicking on the page numbers at the top and bottom of the selection and scrolling to the next page of listings.
The Pros & Cons of an Accelerated Bachelor Degree
In our busy and fast paced world the need to earn a degree, and do so quickly, has become paramount for those seeking to complete a college education while pursuing career endeavors. To meet this need many colleges have developed accelerated bachelor degree programs that can be completed in much less time than it takes to complete a traditional four-year college degree.
In accelerated program you take just as many courses as you would in a traditional bachelor's degree program, but you do more learning, faster, in order to complete your degree in less time. Courses offered in traditional bachelor degree programs last 16 weeks, but in an accelerated program courses can often be completed in five, eight or ten weeks.
While accelerated bachelor degrees are growing in popularity, there are both pros and cons to these type of programs. Consider the following factors:
- Many accelerated bachelor programs are offered entirely online. Consequently, interaction with other student, and even professors, may be somewhat limited when compared with a traditional program. When assessing accelerated online programs you really need to find a program that offers maximum interaction with faculty, professors and other students.
- Even though accelerated programs offer students the ability to complete their bachelor's degree in a shorter time span, they still may require a significantly larger time commitment in the near term than a slower-paced traditional bachelor degree program.
- Accelerated bachelor degree programs have higher drop-out rates than traditional bachelor degree programs. Many students enter accelerated programs with an unrealistic expectation of what is required. They think that earning their degree in three years instead of four is going to be a breeze. However, they soon find out that the year gained equates into much more studying over a shorter amount of time.
- Some studies suggest that long-term recall of subject matter covered in the accelerated degree programs (where study time is compressed) may not be as good as recall of material studied in a degree program where more time is spent covering material. For students who plan on building upon subject matter being studied, this is something to consider.
- While online degrees and programs are known for their flexibility, an accelerated online bachelor degree program, or even a campus-based accelerated program, may be more than you can handle - especially if you have other commitments such as a family or career. Accelerated programs require time, attention and a lot of focus.
Notwithstanding the sacrifice earning an accelerate degree requires, it has many benefits, and many people prefer the faster paced courses accelerated programs offer. Earning a bachelor's degree in three years, or even 2 years, is also very beneficial if you wan't to complete a degree quickly and get on with your career, and your life.