What Are the Requirements of Bachelor's Programs?

Most bachelor's degree programs require students to take major courses, general education classes and electives. The undergraduate curriculum is designed to take about four years to complete. Specific requirements of bachelor's degree programs vary between colleges and universities.

Major Courses

Students must complete approximately 120 semester credit hours to earn a bachelor's degree. Most colleges and universities require bachelor's degree program students to complete approximately 40 credit hours of upper-division courses and approximately 35 credit hours within their major. Students must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 to graduate.

Important Facts About Bachelor Degree Programs

Degree Fields of Study* Accounting
Computer Science
English
Finance
History
Marketing
Political Science
Psychology
Social Science
Possible Careers* Teacher
Public Administrator
Talent Agent
Social Worker
Journalism
Concentrations* Actuarial Science
Behavioral Economics
Legal Studies and Business Ethics
Marketing
Real Estate
Retailing
Statistics
Prerequisites (for admission)* High school diploma, minimum GPA, SAT, and/or ACT score
  • Options will vary by institution and program

General Education Classes

Most colleges and universities want to provide students with a solid educational foundation in a variety of subjects, not just the student's major. Therefore, the majority of undergraduate students in the United States must complete general education classes. These classes can include:

  • Mathematics
  • Humanities/Fine Arts
  • History
  • Social/Behavioral Science
  • Communication
  • Natural Science

Electives

Undergraduate students must also complete elective classes, which enable students to learn more about their interests or expand their background, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Students can take classes in any department on campus to fulfill the elective requirements of bachelor's degree programs. Usually, students must complete approximately 24-34 credit hours of elective classes, according to the University of Maryland-University College. At some schools, these electives could qualify for a minor if enough are taken within a specific field.

Transferring Credits

Most colleges and universities allow bachelor's degree students to transfer credits earned at another accredited educational institution. However, many schools allow students to transfer at most 65 credits. Although students can transfer credit hours, they may need to complete at least 32 credit hours at the university where they are finishing their degree program.

Application for Graduation

In addition to earning a specific amount of credit hours, many colleges and universities require undergraduate students to apply for graduation. According to Indiana University, students must apply for graduation approximately nine months before the graduation date to ensure they have completed all necessary requirements to earn their bachelor's degrees.

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