Degrees in US education system

Associate Degree

It is an intermediate level between the end of school and the bachelor’s degree. This degree is awarded after two years of study at a college program leading to a bachelor’s degree after completing two additional years of training.

Bachelor’s Degree

In the US, the first stage of higher education (after high school graduation) normally lasts four years (in some professions, such as architecture, the need to study 5 years) and  training ends Bachelor’s degree . Education at this level is called in English undergraduate. It can be divided into two two-year unit with an intermediate degree of Associate. In this case, after the first two years of junior colleges (where education is cheaper), you can change the institution.

When you receive a Bachelor’s Degree you become a so-called graduate student. Education at a level above undergraduate (after the Bachelor’s Degree), is called graduate (or postgraduate, which is increasingly used in the UK) and can end:

  • Master (duration 1-2 years);
  •  Master, and future doctoral studies (another 3 years);
  • assignment immediately doctoral degree (not less than 4 years)

Master’s Degree

Master’s degree is not assigned to all high schools, but only those who have the appropriate training and have passed the necessary certification. In the arts, humanities and other purely academic areas, schools offer degree of Master of Arts (MA). In the technical sector – Master of Science (MS). The university business school graduate university students to the level Master of Business Administration (MBA). Besides, part of the name of the degree can be the subject of learning, such as Master of Science in Electronics.

There are also the extent to which the title are narrow specialization. This is done to confirm the high professional qualifications and, as a rule, they do not lead to a higher degree. This is – professional degree.

It is important to know which degrees are available in a particular university and whether you can do after that to study at higher levels.

Education Master’s degree lasts from one to two years, or from 30 to 60 credit hours. Credit hour – a measure of how busy a student studies. Nominally, each credit hour equals one academic hour sessions per week during the semester. But in some specialties, the student may receive one credit hour for 2 or 3 hours of weekly academic workshops. In addition, it includes a few more hours of independent work (with its obvious results in the form of course work, etc.). Lectures and practical sessions for each subject take about two to four hours per week. Universities do not set limits the number of courses for which a student can enroll, but the tuition fee is charged depending on the number of credit hours of those items for which the student has applied. Therefore, enrolling in courses necessary to calculate forces to, then, “failed” the exam, do not lose the money spent, as well as payment is collected in the beginning of the year for those items that the student is going to listen, and not passed examinations.

To get a degree, you must have a minimum of 30 credit hours to get score of “B” (good). Number of classes in the training program, you can choose among the proposed academic courses. In addition, most programs require independent research (thesis) to obtain a Master’s degree (this requirement depends on the expertise and specific university). It is conducted under the guidance of a professor or professor’s advice and to help in the selection of research programs. Here the student should be different original thinking and creativity.

Doctoral Degree

Education for the degree of Doctor leads to the title of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the arts, humanities and technical sciences, or Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in disciplines related to teaching. Also, there are a number of special doctoral degrees.

The basis of doctoral programs – independent research, leading to doctoral dissertation.

Doctor degree is the next degree after master’s . However, in the United States you can become a doctor without a master’s degree. Some universities have courses for a doctorate without passing a Master. Accordingly, the duration of such programs is greater than the length of programs for those who already have a master’s degree. There are also combinations of the program, learning in which you can get a Master’s degree and then the Doctor. The duration of these programs is usually less than the training by two degrees separately.

You can also post-baccalaureate study in a year or two to prepare for the doctoral program. In this case, the candidate is not required to have a Master’s degree. After this training, you can apply for admission to the doctoral program. If the university approves it, begins training leading to a doctorate.

First-professional Degrees

Professional degrees – are the degree recognized by the U.S. Department of Education is necessary for the subsequent licensing. They are given in the following areas: veterinary (DVM), theology (Mdiv, BD), medicine (MD), optometry (OD), osteopathic medicine (DO), orthopedics (PodD, DP, DPM), right (LLB, JD), dentistry (DDS, DMD), rabbinical training (MHL, Rav), pharmacology (Bpharm, PharmD), chiropractic (DC, DCM).

US colleges and universities

While the terms “college” and “university” are not identical, they are often used interchangeably in the United States. Usually colleges offer a four-year program of study leading to undergraduate degrees. Colleges can exist independently, offering exclusive programs of higher primary education, or be part of a university education which allows you to receive a diploma of higher education or start a complete higher education. Universities pay much attention to research and often include vocational schools, colleges, primary education in the humanities and natural sciences and colleges for the complete college education.

In the US there are more than two thousand traditional four-year colleges and universities, each of which has its own specifics. Each college determines its goals, specialization and rules of admission of students. For example, liberal arts colleges focus on teaching basic subjects such as humanities, social sciences and languages.

In addition to these colleges, there are many other types of higher education institutions. Historically, some colleges to enroll only men, only women or only black students. But many of them are now open to all applicants and knowledgeable. Other colleges with a special focus on religious education. Colleges and universities that train for a career, may have special educational programs or short courses in which students work part-time as a condition for graduation.

How colleges and universities can be public or private

Schools with a high quality of training occur equally among public and among private universities. The main difference between them is the source of funding.

Public universities are divided into two main categories:

Research Universities

Most states have at least one public university to provide educational opportunities in the traditional fields of science and training. These universities, in addition to the initial programs of higher education, pay considerable attention to scientific – research and teaching. Typically, training programs, to a lesser extent related to applied research and more – with the theoretical or “pure” research.

University of “land – grant” and “B – Grant”

This so-called “land” and “sea” universities whose names reflect fully their orientation. Besides providing general training in many areas, these universities have a special focus on the application of knowledge in areas such as agriculture, technology and engineering (“land – grant”) and in marine research (“B – Grant”).

A special group of non-traditional educational institutions, make extensive use of computer technology, ( open universities, etc.).

The best universities of national importance (prestige, competition entry, scientific potential of the faculty, the level of funding) are Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Michigan, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, California, University of Illinois, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Williams College, Amherst College and Wellesley College (Massachusetts), Pomona College (California), Swarthmore College (Pennsylvania), Middlebury College (Vermont), Bowden’s College (Maine). Within this group  qualitative contribution of private universities are still significantly higher than the state.

The academic year at US universities typically lasts 9 months – from the end of August or September to May or June and is in the vast majority of universities from 15 to 16-week semesters, or (in some schools) of the three 10-11-week semesters.

The main form of training sessions is the lectures given for streams sometimes numbering up to thousands of students.

The concept of “academic group” does not exist, because each student has an individual program and attend lectures by choice. Students listen and take notes of the lecturer gave them in the text. This allows the lecturer wide use educational technology, audio-visual equipment, without burdening students redraw the charts, graphs, formulas, etc. Continues lecture from 50 minutes to 2 hours, a change – 10 minutes. Classes start at 8 am, weekends – Saturday and Sunday.

Courses in colleges are divided into two categories of training

  • undergraduate
  • and graduate.

Graduate courses of study – a 4-year cycle of disciplines, the results of the study of which is assigned an academic bachelor’s degree. Traditional subjects to be studied at the graduation level are scientific disciplines, “core”, or general professional, as well as the discipline of their choice.

Usually twice a year, students meet with the curator (adviser), which recommends which subjects to choose in a given specialty, reports, which will host classes. At the end of each semester, students take exams: the shape of their teacher chooses. If a student is doing well during the semester, you can get a  positive evaluation without an exam. Exams and tests can retake several times (students are not subject to dismissal).

To obtain a bachelor’s degree, students must earn a certain number of credits and pass the required examinations.

Unlike BA Master’s degree in the US is focused on specialized activities (music, business management, technology, education, etc.). Persons with a bachelor’s degree should be trained for another 1-2 years to write and defend the “theses” in some universities require knowledge of a foreign language. Abstracts can be viewed as an analytical report or the report of the applicant on his master’s degree research work on the chosen topic, which demonstrates the ability to collect, analyze and summarize, synthesize, and present the material.

The highest stage of excellence is to train doctoral program, focused on clearly specialized training and independent scientific research.

American universities usually have training camps, called campuses. They are educational and laboratory buildings, libraries, dormitories, housing for faculty, catering facilities, sports and cultural facilities.

Classrooms  are equipped with modern technical facilities, including electronic computers, tape recorders, projectors and Closed Circuit Television. Language laboratories are well represented, since the foreign language teaching focuses on conversational practice. Research laboratories constantly updated equipment, allowing to carry out research to date.