A.B. Degree

A.B. Degree

Officially known as an Artium Baccalaureus (or Baccalaureatum), the A.B. degree is simply another type of Bachelor’s degree. The two main types of Bachelor’s degrees are the BA and the BS, designating a Bachelor of the Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree. Therefore, an A.B. degree is simply another version of a Bachelor of the Arts degree. In years past, the distinction was very clear and denoted a focus on the study of classical art. However, this distinction has fallen away over the years, and an A.B. degree is now considered the same thing as a BA degree.

Schools which will award an A.B. degree are rarer than those which use the more common BA distinction. Typically older, more formal and more prestigious schools use the A.B. degree. A few of these schools include Cornell, Harvard and Princeton.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the A.B. degree. We’ll review what exactly the degree entails, as well as the length of time typically required to obtain an A.B. degree. We’ll also look at whether or not an A.B. degree is the right choice for you

What Exactly is an A.B. Degree?

Like any other degree at the baccalaureate level, an A.B. degree is a step below a Master’s Degree and a step above an Associate’s degree. Bachelor’s degrees have long been considered the standard for higher education. For most individuals, a Bachelor’s degree is what they have in mind when they consider going to college.

How Long Will My A.B. Degree Take?

Depending on your school and field of study, an A.B. degree typically takes four years to obtain. If a student needs to take time off, or takes less than a full class credit load, it can take longer. On the other hand, many students find it professionally beneficial to take more than the standard twelve credits per semester. This can allow a student to obtain his or her Bachelor’s degree in less than four years. Certain subjects offer specialized Bachelor’s degrees which are designed to be completed in less than four years, fast-tracking the student into the workforce.

What is Involved in Obtaining an A.B. Degree?

A.B. Degree

Any four-year degree usually consists of at least one year of general education. These courses are typically familiar to the student, since many are more advanced versions of high school classes. Common examples are English and some type of science and possibly math.

Once these general requirements are completed, the student spends the next three years studying their chosen field, or major. In many cases, a student also chooses a minor, or another subject of interest in which they will study with slightly less intensity than their major. An example of this would be a psychology major who minors in urban studies with the goal of practicing psychology in an inner-city setting. Majors and minors do not have to be so specific and career-oriented, however. A student might major in their chosen career field and minor in something they find interesting, such as art or dance.

After all classes are completed, a capstone project is typically required. This will be the student’s last course before graduation. Requirements vary by school. A capstone project can be a written paper, a research project, or an internship. The capstone project is intended to encompass and display the student’s learned knowledge.

A.B. Degree, BA Degree or BS Degree – What’s the Difference?

As mentioned earlier, an A.B. degree is essentially the same as a BA degree. However, these degrees are distinctly different from a BS degree. The difference lies in the approach to the subject matter.

It’s possible to obtain an A.B. degree in some of the same subjects in which you can obtain a BS degree. There are some subjects, such as information technology, which are strictly scientific degrees. However, for many subjects, it’s the approach which matters, not the subject itself.

In today’s world of highly individualized education, it’s possible for a student to nearly fully personalize their academic experience. There are even schools which award individualized majors, literally self-designed degrees which have been approved by faculty. If you approach your chosen field from a humanities-based background, you will likely be awarded an A.B. (or BA) degree. If you approach it from a scientific background, a BS degree is more likely.

It’s important to remember that the letters in front of your degree don’t indicate anything beyond these criteria. An A.B. degree takes just as much work as a BS degree, and generally carries the same amount of respect from employers.

Is an A.B. Degree Right for You?

In today’s highly competitive professional world, education translates into more employment opportunities and higher pay. There are a few professions which require only an Associate’s degree or a certificate of completion for employment, but even these professions are more lucrative if an individual has completed more than the bare minimum when it comes to education.

An A.B. degree is considered the base standard in higher education, and this makes it something which employers look for when hiring new employees. Obtaining your A.B. degree will show potential employers that you are dedicated to your future career, and have taken the time to become fully knowledgeable in the field.

For some, an A.B. degree is simply too expensive. In these cases, a certificate, Associate’s degree or other type of higher education is a great way to begin. However, experts agree that to optimize your advancement and earning potential, it’s best to further your education as soon as possible.

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