What Is the Definition of Academic Programs?

All institutions of higher learning offer academic programs. Read on to get a more detailed look at the definition of academic programs and to find out about available program options.

Academic Program Overview

Academic programs comprise the core, required and elective courses that lead to a degree or certificate. Whether you're attending a 2-year program at a local community college or pursuing a graduate degree at a large university, you will be involved in an academic program. Some large universities might offer well over 200 academic programs. The main types of academic programs offered at U.S. colleges and universities are certificate, undergraduate and graduate programs.

Important Facts About Academic Programs

Admission Requirements High school diploma or equivalent for undergraduate programs; graduate programs typically require a bachelor's degree
Online Availability Some programs may be offered either fully or partially online
Financial Aid Options include grants, scholarships, loans and work-study
Accreditation Programs or schools accredited by an authoritative agency ensure the quality of education

Certificate Programs

Community or technical colleges typically offer academic certificate programs. These types of academic programs generally prepare students to enter a vocation after the certificate is awarded. Some certificate-based academic programs combine classroom instruction with hands-on experience to teach students a specific trade or skill. Other certificate programs are offered at the graduate level and add additional credentials to an individual's existing degree. Certificate programs take anywhere from a few weeks to two years to complete.

Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate academic programs usually lead to an associate's or bachelor's degree in a particular area of study. These academic programs might offer seminars, internships, workshops and online courses in addition to traditional live classes. Academic programs leading to an associate's degree take two years to complete, while those leading to a bachelor's degree require four years of study.

Graduate Programs

Those who choose to pursue a master's or doctoral degree will enter graduate academic programs. Graduate academic programs can take between two and four years to complete. Many who enter these types of academic programs are already working in their field. In some cases, a graduate degree may be necessary in order to enter a certain career field. Business, education and law are among the most common types of graduate academic programs.

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:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Georgetown University

    Georgetown University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Georgetown University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University

    Purdue University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Judson University

    Judson University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Judson University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Brightwood College

    Brightwood College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Brightwood College:

    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Baltimore, Beltsville, Towson
  • Saint John's University

    Saint John's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint John's University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

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