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Types of US College Degrees

Earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and/or doctoral degree in the US.

US college degrees fall under four major categories:

  1. associate’s degrees
  2. bachelor’s degrees
  3. master’s degrees
  4. doctoral degrees

Associate’s Degree

You can earn an associate’s degree after two years at a US community college.

Many students who earn an associate’s degree continue their schooling at another US college or university in order to earn a bachelor’s degree. Speak with your college adviser if you want to transfer to another college or university.

Types of associate’s degrees:

  • associate of arts
  • associate of science
  • associate of applied science
  • associate of occupational studies

If you eventually want to earn a bachelor’s degree, take an AA or AS program. AAS and AOS programs are meant to help you find a job immediately after earning your degree.

Bachelor’s Degree

Students at four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the USA earn bachelor’s degrees.

Most students earn one of two types of bachelor’s degrees:

  • bachelor of arts
  • bachelor of science

You also may earn a more specialized bachelor’s degree, such as a bachelor of arts in journalism.

Colleges and universities in America have their own list of majors in which you can earn a bachelor’s degree. Some even will let you create your own college major!

Master’s Degree

You can earn a master’s degree at a US graduate school in nearly any field.

The subject you study will determine the type of master’s degree you will earn, such as a:

Some master’s degree programs are terminal, but others can eventually lead to a doctoral degree.

Before you are accepted into a master’s degree program, you probably will need to take the GRE or GMAT.

Doctoral Degree

A doctoral degree is the highest type of US college degree.

A doctor of philosophy (PhD) is the most common type of doctoral degree. Some fields, however, require a doctoral degree before you can obtain a job, including:

  • doctors
  • lawyers
  • dentists
  • veterinarians

Fields such as these may also require professional US licensure.

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You have a nearly unlimited number of options when you earn a US college degree. You choose not only the type of degree but also the field that you want to study. Knowing the degree you want will help you compare schools and decide which US university is right for you.