How Many College Courses Are Needed for Most Undergraduate Degrees?

The two most common undergraduate programs result in associate's and bachelor's degrees. The programs typically take two and four years to complete, respectively. Read on to learn more about these degree programs.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Institutions offering undergraduate education offer programs that lead to certificates and diplomas as well as associate's and bachelor's degrees. Associate's degree programs are typically offered at community colleges and technical schools, though some universities also offer them. Associate's degree programs generally take about two years to complete, and are divided into transfer and career degrees. Transfer degrees are designed to help students move into a bachelor's degree program after graduation, while career degrees prepare students to go directly into a career.

Bachelor's degrees typically take four years to complete and are generally offered at colleges and universities. Certificate and diploma programs typically focus on a specific subject area and are sometimes used to augment degree programs. These degree programs may also be offered online, depending on the area of study.

Important Facts About Undergraduate Degree Programs

Undergraduate Class Sizes Average 25 - 35 for community colleges, 150 - 300 for universities
Prerequisites High school diploma or GED
Graduation Requirements Acceptable scores on general education coursework, major-specific courses, and exams; some programs may require fieldwork
Common Courses General education courses, such as math, science, English and history, as well as degree-specific courses

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs usually are divided up into four semesters, or two years of study time. These programs generally require students to complete somewhere between 60 and 70 credit hours worth of work, though the exact number varies based on school and program. For a student attending full-time, this generally breaks down to five or six classes a semester.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree programs generally take four years to complete. However, some schools offer degree completion programs to students who already have an associate's degree in a particular subject and wish to further their education. Four-year programs typically require students to complete 120 credit hours worth of coursework. Some programs may have additional requirements, such as internships or capstone projects. Students may also choose to pursue a minor in addition to their major. Minors typically require 18 to 24 credit hours.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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