Bachelor’s Degree

What is a Bachelor’s Degree?

A bachelor’s, also referred to as a baccalaureate, degree is the term for the degree received after a student finishes his or her undergraduate education. It usually requires about 120 credits or 40 courses to obtain. Typically, this takes anywhere from three to five years to complete. While the amount of time needed to secure this degree is dependent on the amount of credits you can take during a semester, nearly all students finish their degree within the timeframe.
There are several different types of bachelor’s degrees, because the various majors or courses of study have different names for the degree. The most common degrees and their respective earning potential are highlighted below:

Bachelor of Arts (BA):

This degree is generally given to students who pursue a course of study that is related to liberal arts studies, such as English, history, or language. The BA curriculum is well-rounded, with a considerable part devoted to general education credits of the student’s choosing, which leaves the rest of the courses allocated to those pertinent to the major. Depending of the major/focus, the average earnings for these graduates can span a lot of territory; however, reports a median annual salary of $60,000.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA):

This degree is reserved for students who are pursuing a degree in performing or visual arts. Majors that receive this degree include music, drama, and design. The BFA curriculum is different from that of the BA in that much of the work students complete is done in a studio or theater-like setting. Payscale Research reports these degree-holders earning approximately $51,000 annually.

Bachelor of Sciences (BS): 

This degree is for students that major in scientific areas like biology, chemistry, or physics. The BS degree focuses more on coursework related to the major than the BA degree. Because the depth of their education is larger than the breadth of the degree, students often find themselves working in a laboratory setting. With this fine-tuned expertise comes an average reported income of $67,000 a year.

Other degrees are becoming more common. These include:


Bachelor of Engineering/Applied Science (BE/BAsc):

This degree is one specially reserved for engineering majors. It is quite like a bachelor of sciences, except students majoring in engineering must learn about many scientific disciplines to complete their degree. This course of study is broader than a bachelor of sciences.

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA):

This degree is for students who pursue a major related to business areas like accounting, finance, marketing, or management. Students in this discipline take more general classes than those in a BS degree, but less typically less than those securing a BA.


As mentioned, when undertaking a bachelor’s degree, there are many majors to consider. Pretty much any career that is available has a corresponding major, and topics can range from engineering or finance to zoology.

Where Can I Get a Bachelor’s Degree?

There are two different ways to receive a bachelor’s degree; deciding which one to choose depends on personal preferences.

Traditional: A bachelor’s degree can be obtained through enrollment in an undergraduate university. To be accepted into a university, one must apply to the school. While all schools have slightly different requirements, most of them require these things:

   > High school diploma and GPA or GED certification

   > SAT or ACT scores

   > Personal statement (short essay explaining why you should be accepted)

Online: With the emergence of the Internet, bachelor’s degree programs are now available online. These can be taken from the comfort of your own home, and in between a demanding work schedule. Their requirements are like those of traditional universities but allow more flexibility.


How Much Will a Bachelor’s Degree Cost?

This is a question that really depends on the university you choose. Private university tuition generally ranges from $30,000-$50,000 a year, depending on the school. Public university tuition is much cheaper for in-state students, usually ranging from $5,000-$15,000 a year. Online colleges generally charge per credit-hour but estimating a yearly tuition would put their rates at about the same level as a public university.

Financial Aid

Most schools offer some form of financial aid for students based on financial need or scholastic achievement. To learn more, contact your school to find out the requirements for qualifying for aid.

Setting Yourself up for Success

If you just graduated high school or perhaps, you’re strapped for resources now, the idea of pursuing a higher education can be daunting. More concerning than incurring the temporary debt many undertake to secure their bachelor’s degree, though, is the disparity in the weekly earnings when comparing those of high school and bachelor-educated individuals.
In spring of 2018 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average difference of nearly $500/week when comparing these two demographics. More specifically, the high school-level educated averaged about $700/week, while those with a bachelor’s earned a median weekly income of $1,173. Depending on whether you choose to secure a bachelor’s degree, over the course of a year, this can equate to $24,000 earned or lost, thus illustrating the importance of this life decision. 

Transitioning to a Bachelor’s Degree

Many people who pursue bachelor’s degrees have been out of school for a few years or have completed an associate degree program. Colleges and universities are understanding of this and appreciate work experience. Consequently, most schools allow you to transfer credits from a previous education to the degree you are pursuing. Some schools even grant credits for work experience if it is related to your course of study. Contact the Admissions Department to discover more information about how this works.