In today’s economy, since there are often hundreds of applicants for every advertised position, having a college degree is more important than ever. Realizing this, many students are choosing either to enroll in college immediately after high school or else to return to college after a hiatus. However, before enrolling or returning to college, students need to be aware of the different types of degrees that are available and also decide which major would be most appropriate for their individual circumstances. Finally, they must also consider the cost of attending college and budget accordingly.
The Different Types of College Degrees
There are five different types of degrees that individuals might elect to earn in college:
Education Specialist degree
Requirements for Different College Degrees
The time it takes to complete college and the semester hours of coursework necessary for graduation vary depending upon the type of degree a student hopes to obtain:
Awarded mainly by community and technical colleges, an associate’s degree normally requires two years and 60 semester hours of coursework.
A bachelor’s degree usually requires four years and 120 semester hours of coursework.
A master’s degree normally requires an additional two years beyond a bachelor’s and 60 semester hours of coursework. However, at most universities if students elect to write a thesis, they usually need to take only 40 hours of coursework since the thesis is so involved.
An Education Specialist degree (Ed.S.) is designed for individuals in education who do not wish to pursue a doctoral degree but wish to develop additional skills or increase their knowledge beyond the level of a master’s degree, and such a degree typically requires up to two years of coursework and 30 to 45 semester hours of coursework (University of Toledo).
A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) requires two years of coursework concentrated in a student’s field of study, a period of residency at the degree-issuing university, a comprehensive test after all coursework is completed, and a dissertation, making the time from beginning until graduation anywhere from two to nine or more years since so many factors come into play. Sometimes it is difficult to write a scientific paper, so dissertation writing services can help you. They correct your mistakes and proofread your paper.
Note: How long it takes to earn a degree can vary dramatically since some students take more than the average number of courses per semester while others attend school only part-time, and while most students traditionally take a break from their studies during the summer, others continue taking classes year round.
Declaring a Major in College
At some point, either upon enrollment or soon after, students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree must declare a major, which will be their primary area of concentration. Of course, students might also declare a minor, which will be their secondary area of concentration. For example, a student might major in English and minor in Secondary Education in order to teach high school English after graduation.
On the other hand, if working toward an associate’s degree, which prepares a student to enter the workforce in his or her chosen field upon graduation, students usually major in areas like computer technology, law enforcement, business, or health services, etc.
Writing a Master’s Thesis in College
Some colleges and universities offer students the option of acquiring a master’s degree after 40 semester hours of coursework instead of 60 if they complete a thesis. A thesis is a scholarly treatise supported by research, comparable to a medium-sized book, wherein the student develops a hypothesis or presents an analysis related to his or her major. If, however, a student is working toward earning a Master of Fine Arts, his or her thesis will more than likely be a creative project, for instance, an original novel or collection of stories or poems.
Writing a Doctoral Dissertation in College
Doctoral candidates are required not only to complete two years of specialized coursework (semester hours vary depending upon the university), after which they must pass a comprehensive examination, but also to write a dissertation that involves extensive research.
This is why the completion time for a Ph.D. program can vary dramatically depending upon a candidate’s area of concentration. For example, it usually takes far longer for a student to write a dissertation in history than in education or business. In fact, the average completion time for a Ph.D. in Russian History, which requires research in actual Russian archives, is nine to eleven years, compared to that for a Ph.D. in Education or Business, which is typically two or three years (Collier’s Encyclopedia).
The Cost of Attending College
The cost of attending college varies dramatically. For example, the cost of attending an ivy-league college such as Harvard or Yale is far higher than the cost of attending a public state college, although at state college’s tuition is a bit more for nonresidents than residents. For example, whereas it costs an average of $45,000 per year, or more, to attend an ivy-league school, it costs an average of $12,000 per year, including tuition and fees, for a resident to attend a public state college. Of course, many students apply for and receive grants and/or scholarships, which helps lower the price tag for attending college significantly.