What Are Undergraduate Programs?


Quick Answer

Undergraduate degrees are awarded for study at the post-secondary level. In the United States, the most common examples are Associate degrees and bachelor's degrees, both of which are offered after the completion of high school but before the completion of post-graduate degrees such as master's or doctoral degrees.

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What Are Undergraduate Programs?
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Full Answer

Undergraduate degrees are earned by larger segments of the population than graduate degrees, and they tend to be more general in nature than graduate programs. Bachelor's degrees in particular include general education courses, ensuring that students are versed in a variety of subjects before pursuing a major specialization. Undergraduate programs at large universities tend to involve larger classes than graduate programs, and instruction is relatively impersonal. In many large American universities, significant portions of undergraduate education are taught by graduate students and other non-tenure-line professors and instructors.

Bachelor's degrees traditionally take four years to complete, though many students take longer due to do work and family obligations. A bachelor's degree is traditionally required for most professional employment in the United States, while graduate degrees are generally required for advanced professions such as law, medicine and counseling, as well as for university instructors. Some students attend a community college to prepare for entering a four-year university or to earn a two-year Associate degree.

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