Bachelor of Arts

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A bachelor of arts (BA or AB; from the Latin baccalaureus artium or artium baccalaureus) is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus (from the Latin bacca, a berry, and laureus, "of the bay laurel") should not be confused with baccalaureatus (translatable as "gold-plated scepter" by using the Latin bacum and aureatus), which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate bachelor of arts with honors degree (Baccalaureatus in Artibus Cum Honore) in some countries.

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Diplomas generally give the name of the institution, signatures of officials of the institution (generally the president or rector of the university, and the secretary or dean of the component college), type of degree conferred, conferring authority, and location at which the degree is conferred. Diplomas generally are printed on high-quality paper or parchment; individual institutions set the preferred abbreviation for their degrees. [1]

Australia, Canada, India, Nepal, New Zealand, and South Africa

In colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and South Africa, the BA degree can be taken over three years of full-time study. [3] Students must pursue at least one major area of study, and units from that subject are usually studied in each year, though sometimes students may choose to complete upper-level classes in the same year and as a result, can leave space for elective subjects from a different field. At some universities, students may choose to pursue a second major; alternatively, the remainder of the degree is taken up with a minor area of study (in the first two years) and other individual or stream-based subjects make up the degree.

Unlike in other countries, students do not receive an overall grade for their bachelor of arts degree with varying levels of honours ("honours" is a distinction but not part of the degree itself). Qualified students may be admitted, after they have achieved their (general) bachelor's program with a high overall grade point average, to a further one-year bachelor (with) Honours degree program ((with) Honours is part of the degree itself). Thus, to achieve a Bachelor (with) honours degree (e.g. BA (Hons.) or BA hons.), an extra "postgraduate" year and a high research honour's thesis must be completed; see honours degrees. A student who holds a (with) honours degree is eligible for direct entry to either a doctorate (PhD) or a very high research master's degree program.

Education in Canada is controlled by the provinces and can be very different depending on the province. Canadian universities typically offer four-year bachelor of arts (BA) degrees. In many universities and colleges, bachelor of arts degrees are differentiated either as BA or as honours BA degrees. The term "honours" is an academic distinction, which indicates that students must achieve their BA degrees with a sufficiently high overall grade point average; in addition, some programs may require more education than non-honours programs.

The honours degrees are sometimes designated with the abbreviation in brackets of '(Hon(s))'. It should not be confused with the consecutive BA degree "with Honours", Latin baccalaureatus in artibus cum honore", 'BA hon.' de jure without brackets and with a dot. It is a "postgraduate" degree. Going back in history, a three-year BA degree (also known e.g. in Québec as grade de bachelier ès arts) was also called a pass degree or general degree.

A student who first achieves a general BA degree with a sufficiently high overall average may be admitted to a "postgraduate" baccalaureatus cum honore degree in the same field; it requires a minimum of one year, but may also take longer; it typically does not exceed two years. Students may be required to undertake a long high-quality research empirical thesis (honours seminar thesis) combined with a selection of courses from the relevant field of studies. The consecutive B. cum Honore degree is essential if students' ultimate goals are to study towards a two- or three-year very high research master's degree qualification. A student holding a B. cum Honore degree also may choose to complete a doctor of philosophy (PhD) program without the requirement to first complete a master's degree. Over the years in some universities, certain B. cum Honore programs have been changed to corresponding master's degrees.

In general, in all four countries, the BA degree is the standard required for entry into a master's programme. In science, a BA hons degree is generally a prerequisite for entrance to a PhD program or a very high research activity master's programme. As such, for example, the UK awarded honours are designed and should not be confused with Canadian-, Australian-, New Zealand-, and South African-awarded BA hons/BA (Hons) degrees.

For further clarification, in other countries, the so-called "honours" bachelor may not be an actual degree, but the name of a (vocational) programme that can be completed through specified course work, a high grade average, and the completion of possibly a short paper or project; students who completed such an honours BA programme sometimes style themselves by '(Hon)' after the degree abbreviation without a space, in parentheses, and after the 'Hon(s)' without a dot, for example 'BA (Hon)'. The three- and four-year BA.degree is also accepted for entry into graduate professional programmes such as law or a master of bbusiness administration program.

Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the BA and master of arts (MA) degrees were introduced in 2002. Until then, a single program led to the doctorandus degree. This comprised the same course load as the bachelor's and master's programs combined. The title doctorandus was used in almost all fields of study; other titles were used for legal studies (meester, Dutch for master, abbreviated Mr.) and engineering ( ingenieur ). Those who had already started the doctorandus program could, on completing it, opt for the doctorandus degree (entitling them to use "Drs." in front of their name), or could use the master's degree (postnominal letters) in accordance with the new standard.

Germany

In Germany, university-level education usually happens in either a Universität (plural: Universitäten) or a Fachhochschule (plural: Fachhochschulen); both can be referred to as a Hochschule, which is the generic term in Germany for all institutions awarding academic degrees. Fachhochschule is often translated as "University of Applied Sciences". Universitäten place greater emphasis on fundamental science and theoretical background, while Fachhochschulen are generally designed with a focus on teaching professional skills. Degrees earned at Universitäten and Fachhochschulen are legally equivalent.

In Germany, the B.A. normally lasts between three and three and a half years – six or seven semesters – and is awarded after the student earns between one-hundred eighty and two-hundred ten ECTS.

United Kingdom and Ireland

In the United Kingdom (excluding Scotland) and Ireland, the first degree course normally lasts three years, but nomenclature varies: 19th-century and later universities usually distinguish between arts and sciences subjects by awarding either a B.A. or B.Sc. degree. However, some older or ancient universities, such as Oxford, Cambridge [ citation needed ] and Dublin traditionally award B.A.s to undergraduates having completed the final examinations, e.g. Part II Tripos (Cambridge), Final Honour Schools (Oxford), Moderatorship (Dublin), in most subjects including the sciences. Some new plate glass universities established in the 1960s, such as York and Lancaster originally followed the practice of Oxford and Cambridge by awarding B.A.s in all subjects, but have since changed to awarding B.Sc. degrees in science subjects. At Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin the degree of M.A. can be claimed, usually twenty-one terms after matriculation. For many centuries, the bachelor's degree was an intermediate step and was awarded for much of the work carried out in later times at secondary schools. The names of the final secondary school exams in France and Spain (and increasingly in the UK—the International Baccalaureate) come from this: le Baccalauréat and el Bachillerato, respectively.

The Ancient Universities of Scotland award a Master of Arts degree to humanities or arts graduates, but a B.Sc. to science graduates. This course takes four years for an honours degree and three for an ordinar. In Scotland, it is possible to opt to take an ordinary degree rather than this simply ranking below a third class honours (for example, B.A. with distinction, merit or pass).

A Bachelor of Arts is entitled to the designation B.A. for an ordinary/pass degree and B.A. (Hons) for an honours degree. Students who completed an honours B.A. sometimes style themselves by '(Hon)' or '(Hons)' after the degree abbreviation in parentheses. An honours degree is always awarded in one of four classes depending upon the marks gained in the final assessments and examinations. The top students are awarded a first-class degree, followed by an upper second-class degree (usually referred to as a 2:1), a lower second-class degree (usually referred to as a 2:2), and those with the lowest marks gain a third-class degree. An ordinary or unclassified degree (which does not give the graduate the right to add '(Hons)') may be awarded if a student has completed the full honours degree course but has not obtained the total required passes sufficient to merit a third-class honours degree. Typically these degrees lack the final year requirement of a dissertation.

See also

Related Research Articles

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An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university. These institutions commonly offer degrees at various levels, usually including bachelor's, master's and doctorates, often alongside other academic certificates and professional degrees. The most common undergraduate degree is the bachelor's degree, although in some countries there are lower level higher education qualifications that are also titled degrees.

A master's degree is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice. A master's degree normally requires previous study at the bachelor's level, either as a separate degree or as part of an integrated course. Within the area studied, master's graduates are expected to possess advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and applied topics; high order skills in analysis, critical evaluation, or professional application; and the ability to solve complex problems and think rigorously and independently.

A bachelor's degree or baccalaureate is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to seven years. In some institutions and educational systems, some bachelor's degrees can only be taken as graduate or postgraduate degrees after a first degree has been completed. In countries with qualifications frameworks, bachelor's degrees are normally one of the major levels in the framework, although some qualifications titled bachelor's degrees may be at other levels and some qualifications with non-bachelor's titles may be classified as bachelor's degrees.

Undergraduate education is education conducted after secondary education and prior to post-graduate education. It typically includes all the academic programs up to the level of a bachelor's degree. For example, in the United States, an entry level university student is known as an undergraduate, while students of higher degrees are known as graduates. In some other educational systems, undergraduate education is post-secondary education up to the level of a master's degree; this is the case for some science courses in Britain and some medicine courses in Europe.

A Bachelor of Commerce is an undergraduate degree in commerce and business related subjects, usually awarded in Pakistan, Canada, Australia, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Myanmar and other Commonwealth countries; however, the degree is no longer offered in the United Kingdom. Pakistan has introduced BS(Commerce) Recently and it's a professional degree unlike (B.Com).

Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate law degree in England and most common law jurisdictions—except the United States and Canada—which allows a person to become a lawyer. It historically served this purpose in North America as well but was phased out in favour of the Juris Doctor degree. Bachelor of Laws is also the name of the law degree awarded by universities in Scotland and South Africa.

Degree abbreviations are used as an alternative way to specify an academic degree instead of spelling out the title in full, such as in reference books such as Who's Who and on business cards. Many degree titles have more than one possible abbreviation, with the abbreviation used varying between different universities. In the UK it is normal not to punctuate abbreviations for degrees with full stops, although this is done at some universities.

A Fachhochschule, abbreviated FH, or University of Applied Sciences (UAS) is a German tertiary education institution. Each institution specializes in a particular of applied science or applied arts, such as engineering, technology or business.

Latin honors are Latin phrases used in some colleges and universities to indicate the level of distinction with which an academic degree has been earned. This system is primarily used in the United States and Canada. It is also used in some Southeastern Asian countries with European colonial history, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, although sometimes translations of these phrases are used instead of the Latin originals. The honors distinction should not be confused with the honors degrees offered in some countries, or with honorary degrees.

A Master of Engineering is either an academic or professional master's degree in the field of engineering.

An honor student is a student recognized for achieving high grades or high marks in their coursework at school.

Bachelor of Philosophy is the title of an academic degree. The degree usually involves considerable research, either through a thesis or supervised research projects. Despite its name it is, in most universities, a postgraduate degree.

Australian Qualifications Framework organization

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) specifies the standards for educational qualifications in Australia. It is administered nationally by the Australian Government's Department of Industry, with oversight from the States and Territories, through the Standing Council of Tertiary Education Skills and Employment. While the AQF specifies the standards, education and training organisations are authorised by accrediting authorities to issue a qualification.

Honours degree has various meanings in the context of different degrees and education systems. Most commonly it refers to a variant of the undergraduate bachelor's degree containing a larger volume of material or a higher standard of study, or both, rather than an "ordinary", "general" or "pass" bachelor's degree. Honours degrees are sometimes indicated by "Hons" after the degree abbreviation, with various punctuation according to local custom, e.g. "BA (Hons)", "B.A., Hons", etc.

A double degree program, sometimes called a dual degree, combined degree, conjoint degree, joint degree or double graduation program, involves a student's working for two university degrees in parallel—either at the same institution or at different institutions —and completing them in less time than it would have taken to earn them separately. The two degrees might be in the same subject area, or in two different subjects.

The degree of Master of Arts (MA) in Scotland typically refers to an undergraduate degree in humanities or social sciences awarded by one of the ancient universities of Scotland plus the University of Dundee and Heriot-Watt University. The first two years of the Scottish Master of Arts consist of ordinary Bachelor level courses; however, after these, students who are accepted to pursue the Honours route will complete more advanced subjects and write a dissertation in their fourth year. Students who choose to do a "general" degree will complete their third year at a lower level of specialisation, and receive a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or MA without Honours. For the postgraduate degree referred to in other places as "Master of Arts", Scottish universities usually award the degree of Master of Letters (MLitt) or Master of Science (MSc). Generally, non-ancient universities in Scotland, award arts degrees as Bachelor of Arts.

A Master of Arts is a person who was admitted to a type of master's degree awarded by universities in many countries, and the degree is also named Master of Arts in colloquial speech. The degree is usually contrasted with the Master of Science. Those admitted to the degree typically study linguistics, history, communication studies, diplomacy, public administration, political science, or other subjects within the scope of the humanities and social sciences; however, different universities have different conventions and may also offer the degree for fields typically considered within the natural sciences and mathematics. The degree can be conferred in respect of completing courses and passing examinations, research, or a combination of the two.

The Bologna process for standardisation of European higher education specified an undergraduate degree of at least three years called the "licence" or bachelor's degree, followed by a two-year diploma called the master's degree, then a doctorate, meant to be obtained in at least three years. Because of these indicated schedules, the reform is sometimes (erroneously) referred to as "3-5-8". The system applies to the European Higher Education Area.

A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years, or a person holding such a degree.

References

  1. "Degree Abbreviations". Harvard University.
  2. "FAST-US-5 United States Education Reference File".
  3. "Bachelor of Arts degrees". Australian National University. Archived from the original on 2010-04-01.