What Are the Different Types of Academic Qualifications?

Vocational diplomas, undergraduate degrees, professional certifications, graduate and professional degrees are all examples of academic qualifications. College degrees with distinction or honors are awarded in some countries to those who graduate with a high grade point average. For certain types of professions and positions, degrees and diplomas may be required. They usually represent knowledge and experience in a specific subject or field.

The majority of people obtain academic credentials in order to prepare for a career in a specific field. Candidates with an associate’s degree or vocational diploma are required or preferred for some positions. These credentials are usually awarded after successful completion of post-secondary courses and can take anywhere from a year and a half to two years to obtain. Courses at the undergraduate or non-advanced academic level make up the educational programs that lead to these diplomas.

The bachelor’s degree is one of the most common types of academic credentials. The majority of these degree programs last at least four years and are typically organized discipline type. A bachelor’s degree in English or anthropology, for example, is known as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, whereas a bachelor’s degree in business administration or oceanography is known as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree (B.S.). Many universities have honors programs that provide advanced courses to undergraduate students, leading to a bachelor’s degree with honors.

Individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree may wish to pursue an advanced degree in order to change careers or advance in their current field. A master’s degree is a type of advanced academic qualification that takes approximately two years to complete. Graduate level or professional certification programs, in addition to full degree programs, are also available. Certifications usually concentrate on a single subject, such as tax law or project management.

Individuals with a master’s degree, such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA), are frequently qualified for executive management positions. These degrees differ from undergraduate degrees in that they place a greater emphasis on research, case studies, and projects in which students apply concepts and theories. The majority of students complete a master’s thesis or final project to demonstrate their knowledge of the degree’s discipline. A student pursuing a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in creative writing, for example, might write and present a full-length novel of publishable quality.

In some countries, a doctorate, also known as a Ph.D., is the highest academic degree. It is one of the most advanced types of academic qualifications, taking two to three years to complete after completing a master’s degree. The doctorate degree is sought after aspiring university professors, medical researchers, and education administrators because it focuses primarily on research. The Juris Doctorate (J.D.) or law degree, the D.D.S. or doctorate of dental surgery, and the M.D. or medical doctor designation are all examples of advanced professional degrees.