A Complete List of Degree Types for College and University

List of Degree Types for College and University

Obtaining a degree is a great way to gain knowledge in a specific field. Not only will further education help with your own personal development, but it’ll also enhance your career opportunities. Before you branch out into higher education, you must decide what degree is right for you and what career path you want to follow. But where do you start with so many options available to you?

To make your decision easier, here’s everything you need to know about the different types of degrees:

HND / Foundation Degree

What is a foundation degree?

Higher level degrees (level-5 work-based courses) are taught in the UK and are equivalent to two years at a college or obtaining A-levels, to set you on track for a Bachelor’s degree. If continuing your education to a more thorough course is not for you, there’s no need to fret; a foundation degree can lead straight into full-time employment.

How long does it last?

Full-time HND /foundation degrees will take up to two years to complete, with part-time courses lasting longer.

What are the entry requirements?

To qualify for a HND/ foundation degree, you’ll need a minimum of 100 UCAS points. You can gain these through a number of qualifications that are studied at high-school from A-levels, IELTS, VCE, a BTEC or a diploma. Each course may have varied necessities, so do check well-before the application process to ensure you have what is needed.

Associate Degree

What is an associate degree?

An associate degree is an equivalent to a foundation degree for US students. It’s the academic program that’s completed at an undergraduate level after finishing secondary-level education. Associate degrees are becoming increasingly more desirable as they are quicker to complete and cost a lot less than the common Bachelor’s degree.  

How long does it last?

Full-time associate degrees, like HNDs, will take around two years to complete.

What are the entry requirements?

Entry requirements for an associate degree are typically much less than a bachelor’s degree. It involves a minimum high school grade point average, ACT or SAT scores and a letter of recommendation from an educational advisor.

Types of associate degrees

  • A. (Associate of Arts) – Focused on liberal art areas like music, history and English. This degree involves 60 hours of coursework to achieve a pass.
  • S. (Associate of Science) – Common A.S. programs include biology and chemistry.
  • A.S. (Associate of Applied Science) – This broad subject includes programs in business, mathematics and related topics.
  • E. (Associate of Engineering) – Focuses on engineering.
  • A.A. (Associate of Applied Arts) – Deals with applied arts only.
  • P.S. (Associate of Political Science) – Deals with political science only.

Bachelor's Degree

What is a bachelor's degree?

This is the most common type of degree undergraduates decide to take and can be studied right after college or high school, depending on where you obtained your diploma or A-levels. If you’re looking to gain specific industry skills and set yourself up for a Master’s or PhD, a bachelor’s is what you need.

How long does it last?

A bachelor's degree will take three to four years to complete if studied full-time.

What are the entry requirements?

Entry requirements may vary from course to course, but you’ll usually be required to gain a certain number of UCAS points to get started. These can be obtained through a diploma, A-levels, BTECs, IELTs or a HND/ foundation degree.

Types of bachelor’s degrees

  • A. (Bachelor of Arts) – It is considered as the widest bachelor’s degree including humanities, social sciences and liberal arts.
  • S. (Bachelor of Science) – It usually covers majors such as engineering, physics, accounting or business or any of the sciences.
  • F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts) – Fine arts include acting, dancing, singing, sculpting and painting. Previous experience is required when applying for these courses.
  • B.A. (Bachelor of Business Administration) – BBA degree often covers courses in management strategy, decision making and even organisational psychology. You should opt for this course if you aspire to be a manager or CEO one day!
  • Arch. (Bachelor of Architecture) – If you dream of designing buildings, this is the course that you must obtain. You’ll then be required to follow on to a graduate course after.
  • B. (Bachelor of Laws degree) – If you hope to be a big-time lawyer, a bachelor’s degree is where you should begin.
  • Eng. (Bachelor of Engineering degree) – This degree focuses solely on the field of engineering.

Joint Degrees

What is a joint degree?

A joint degree enables you to study a combination of subjects, creating opportunities for you to build a degree program to suit your personal interests and needs. Bear in mind that the university offers the combined courses; you can’t create your own combination; for example, if you want to study both media, communication studies and journalism, you could choose to do all three subjects in a joint degree.

How long does it last?

Joint degrees, like normal bachelors, tend to last between three and four years.

What are the entry requirements?

The entry requirements will also be UCAS points obtained from previous education and courses.

Master’s Degree

What is a master’s degree?

A Master’s degree is the most popular type of postgraduate degree that students choose to do after completing their bachelor’s degree. It’s a more in-depth level of study that is designed to focus on a specific area of your chosen subject. They allow a lot of time for independent study so you can expand on the knowledge that you would have already acquired from a Bachelor’s degree.

How long does it last?

A Master’s degree will take between one year or two to complete full-time, depending on the subject that’s chosen.

What are the entry requirements?

You’ll usually need a minimum of a 2:1 at undergraduate level to be accepted onto a Master’s course, although those with a 2:2 may be accepted with relevant industry experience.

Types of master’s degrees

There are master's degrees created for every subject including music, social work, PA, public health, but the most common are listed below:

  • A. (Master of Arts) or M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts) – Both of these degrees cover topics including education, communication, social sciences and music.
  • S. (Master of Science) – This degree could be earned in a wide range of science, health and even social science professions.
  • Res. (Master of Research) – It’s designed to offer training on how to become a researcher.
  • Phil. (Master of Philosophy) – It’s a research-only degree and is often studied before a PhD.
  • M. (Master of Laws) –While professional Law degrees just give a general coverage of all the skills required to become an attorney, LLM would give you an opportunity to specialise in a specific area of law.
  • B.A. (Master of Business Administration) – These degrees are often designed for management professionals with some experience.


What is a PGCE?

A PGCE is a level 7 postgraduate certificate in education, which combines teaching placements with theory. Types of PGCEs include nursery, primary, secondary, and further education. It’s a popular route for graduates who want to teach in their chosen field. If you know you want to become a primary or nursery teacher, you can opt to do a PCGE and skip your bachelor’s degree.

How long does it last?

If the course is an extension of your bachelor’s degree it will last just under a year. If you decide to complete a PCGE for primary school teaching it will take between three to four years when completed on a full-time basis.

What are the entry requirements?

Generally, you’ll need to be qualified to degree level, with a minimum of a 2:2 to start a PGCE in your chosen field. If you choose to study primary teaching, you will need a leaving school diploma or A-levels.

Doctoral / PhD

What is a doctoral / PhD?

A doctoral degree (also known as a PhD) is the highest level of education that you can obtain. They are mainly academic and research focused and are useful for students to advance their skills in a specific area of knowledge. To become a clinical psychologist for example, you would need to have completed your doctoral.

How long does it last?

A PhD typically takes between three to five years to complete, depending on the area of study.

What are the entry requirements?

This usually follows the completion of a bachelor’s and a Master’s degree, however, some PhD programs do admit students that don’t have a Master’s degree’ you will need to specifically check the requirements for your chosen subject.

Types of PhD degrees

Here is a list of the most popular PhD degrees:

  • PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) – These are research-based doctorate degrees often awarded to recognise peer-reviewed published academic research.
  • DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) – This degree is designed to grow your managerial skills and advance within the business world.
  • EngD (Doctor of Engineer) – To be the most-skilled in the field of engineering, a PhD would be the right way to go.
  • DSocSci (Doctor of Social Sciences) – This can cover a wide range of subjects including English literature, journalism, humanities and commucation.
  • DArch (Doctor of Architecture) – To learn the utmost about the world of architecture, a PhD would be the right choice.
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) – To qualify as a dentist, extensive study should be taken in the form of a doctoral.
  • D. (Doctor of Medicine) – This is the most advanced degree for medical students and must be completed to professionally practice medicine.
  • D. (Doctor of Education) – This is the highest level degree of education in the education field.
  • D. (Juris Doctor) – This degree is the most advanced for lawyers and needs to be obtained if you dream of becoming a university professor.  

A full list of degrees may seem intimidating to you but is designed to show you that the variety of educational possibilities are endless. The world is your oyster, and you are free to choose what it is you require to succeed in your dream job.

Have you completed one or a few of these degrees? If so, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section below…