How Many Years Is a Bachelor's Degree?
The length of bachelor's degree programs varies by program and student, but they often take around 4 years to complete. Learn about the variations in program length, what programs and careers are available, and how many classes these programs include.
How Long Does a Bachelor's Degree Take?
Traditional bachelor's degree programs take around 4 years of full-time study to complete, although part-time students are often able to extend their program times and other students can shorten the length of their programs by taking more classes together. The traditional 4-year length is based on programs that use standard, 16-week semesters and shortened summer semesters. Students of schools with differently structured semesters can take more courses each academic year and finish more quickly without having a heavier course load at any given time. So while the short answer is 4 years, it can vary dependent upon how many courses a student chooses to take each semester as well as how many courses are required in their program.
|Program Length||4 years|
|Transfer Credits||Up to 50% or more|
|Number of Classes||Around 40|
|Degree Options||Business, psychology, computer science, education, nursing, and more|
|Career Options||Engineering, management, accounting, finance, education, and more|
What If I have Transfer Credits?
Depending on the courses that you have previously completed, as well as the grades that you earned in each, you should be able to transfer them into your bachelor's degree program. If your previous classes were in an unrelated subject, you may not be able to transfer as many. For example, if you have credits in automotive mechanics, they won't be applicable to a program in healthcare. However, many schools allow students to transfer as much as 50% or even 75% of the required bachelor's degree coursework in if students have completed related classes at an accredited school previously.
How Many Classes Will I Take?
The number of courses included in a bachelor's degree program can vary, but many programs include around 40. These classes often include general education courses, such as mathematics and English, along with classes that are focused on the field of study. Depending on the program, school and state, a bachelor's degree might have 40 classes that typically count as around 3 credit hours each, bringing the total amount of credits to 120.
How Can I Finish Faster?
Whether transferring in courses or starting from scratch, students can complete programs faster by taking more classes each semester or term. A traditional undergraduate student is considered full-time if they take 12 credit hours during a 16-week semester. Some schools have six 8-week terms that total three semesters rather than two semesters and a shorter summer session. Having three semesters rather than two enables students to take the 12 credits three times in one year rather than two, but omits the summer break. Regardless of how an academic year is offered, students taking 15 credits, 18 credits or more will complete the total required credits faster.
What Kind of Program Can I Study?
Bachelor's degrees are offered in countless fields. Students who are unsure of what type of degree to pursue can consider what areas they are more interested in and what types of jobs are available based on different degrees. While not a comprehensive list, some bachelor's degrees that are commonly offered online and on campus are listed below.
- Business administration
- Computer science
- Education and teaching
- Information technology
- Criminal justice
What Types of Jobs are Available with a Bachelor's Degree?
The jobs that are available to bachelor's degree graduates depend on the field of their degree and prior experience, when required. It is estimated that bachelor's degree graduates make an average starting salary of $51,347 each year. Some of the careers available to graduates of bachelor's degree programs include the following.
- Financial analysts
- Forensic science technicians
- Secondary school teachers
- Producers and directors
- General and operations managers