The United States structures its education and degree levels in the order of early childhood education, elementary school, middle school or junior high, high school, and the various levels of postsecondary school. Other countries structure their degree levels in different ways. Some religious institutions provide their own degrees.
Postsecondary schools in the United States offer nondegree programs and degree programs. Nondegree programs sometimes result in a certificate. Degree programs on the postsecondary school level start on the associate degree level and progress upwards through bachelor's, first professional, master, advanced intermediate and research doctorate. Unlike some countries that offer degrees past the doctorate, the United States has postdoctorate research programs instead.
Some degree programs in other countries, such as England, have a similar structure and often the same degree names as their equivalents in the United States, but vary in such ways as the normal amount of time one must spend to complete the degree. For example, an undergraduate degree in England normally takes three years to complete, rather than four as is common in the United States.
Pontifical universities run by the Vatican, such as Holy Cross Pontifical University in Rome, often follow an ecclesiastical degree structure that goes in the order of baccalaureate, licentiate and doctorate.