A university or college awards a degree to a person who has completed a required course of study. The institution presents the degree in the form of a diploma, a document which certifies the award. The basic kinds of degrees are called bachelor, master, and doctor. An honorary degree may be awarded for an outstanding contribution in a certain field.
Most students wishing to take a degree course seek entrance to a university. In some countries students can take degree courses as external students, through correspondence and television courses.
Most universities require a good pass in the final secondary school examination, and competition is keen for entry into such faculties as medicine and law. If possibly, a student planning to study in a university should seek information two years before completing a secondary school course. This will permit a choice of subjects appropriate for the intended course.
First degrees. First degrees are generally called bachelor's degrees. They include the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BSc). The BA is given for such subjects as history, literature, line arts, and, in some universities, for science. The BSc is given for science, engineering, and economics. Law students receive the Bachelor of Laws (LIB) in some universities, and the BA in others.
Until the late 1950's, students could take only two main types of the course: a general, or pass, course, or a special, or honours, course. Many universities still offer such courses, which last for three years. Students following the general course take three or four related subjects. Those taking the special course generally study one subject. The general courses were designed for students who wished to have general knowledge of a group of related subjects, such as science. The special courses were intended for those who wished to specialize in a specific subject, such as chemistry.
Some newer universities have tried to avoid rather narrow training provided by the special courses. They plan their studies so that all students follow the same broad course in the first year, and then study at least one science and one arts subject for another three years. Students do not specialize until the second year at the earliest. They may also study both scientific and non-scientific subjects, because the division into families common in many universities, has been abandoned.
In non-English-speaking countries, there is no standard name for the first degree. In France, the first degree is called the licencie es lettres. In Germany, it is called the staatsexamen. In Sweden, it is called the filosofie kandidatexamen (FK). The Italian Laurea takes the place of the first and second degrees in other countries. In Japan, the bachelor's degree is called gakushi. It is awarded after four years of study. In the countries of the former Soviet Union, students receive a diploma after studying for four or five years. The Candidate of Science degree is equivalent to a PhD.
Graduation. When the student has passed a final examination, he or she is qualified to receive a degree. But students cannot use the letters BA, BSc, and so on, until they have been formally admitted to the degree. This process is called graduation, and at a university or similar institution it is a dignified ceremony. For many students, the first degree marks the end of their university education.
Higher degrees. In most universities, students must complete one or two years of advanced study beyond the first degree to obtain a second or higher degree. Many universities require a thesis, a written report of a special investigation in the student's main subject of study. In most English-speaking universities, second degrees are called master's degrees. Such degrees include the Master of Arts (MA), Master of Arts and Economics (MEcon), and Master of Science (MSc).
Doctorates. The doctor's degree is the highest earned degree in many countries. There are two distinct types of doctor's degrees. One is a professional degree required to practise in certain professions, such as medicine. The other is a research degree that indicates the candidate has acquired mastery of a broad field of knowledge and the technique of scholarly research. The research doctorate may require at least two or three additional years of study beyond a master's degree. The candidate may be required to complete examinations and present a written thesis or dissertation. The doctoral thesis represents an original contribution to knowledge, and is a more detailed study of a research problem than that required for master's degree. In many English-speaking universities, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is the most important research doctorate and may include specialization in almost any academic subject. In some European countries, students of nonprofessional subjects also take a doctor's degree as the second degree. For example, the German degree of Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) is the equivalent of the MA in English-speaking countries. In Russia and in Belarus, the Doctor of Science (doctor nauk) degree is awarded by a special commission. To receive this degree post-graduate students must research new and important material. In Japan the doctorate degree is called nakushil.
Honorary degrees. Many universities have adopted the custom of awarding honorary degrees to persons for achievement in their chosen fields. Chief among these are the Doctor of Letters (DLitt) and the Doctor of Laws (LLD). These degrees are often given to prominent authors, scholars, and leaders in professions, business, government, and industry.
THE MASTER OF ARTS (MA.) DEGREE IN ECONOMICS
The M.A. in economics prepares students for careers as professional economists in business and government. It is also excellent preparation for continued graduate study in economics.
Requirements: strong motivation, aptitude and basic intellectual ability are needed for success in graduate study in economics.
Program requirements: all students are required to take courses in advanced economic theory and economics. Students preparing for professional careers choose additional applied courses in industrial organization, international economics, natural and human resources, and urban and public economics. Students preparing for doctoral studies select from these and additional courses in economic theory and mathematics.
Students must satisfy all University requirements for the M.A. degree. Courses should be selected with the approval of graduate advisor.
- microeconomics: microeconomic behaviour of consumers, producers, and resource suppliers; price determination in output and factor markets; general market equilibrium.
- aggregate economics: advanced macroeconomics analysis of income; employment; prices; interest rates and economic growth rates.
- econometrics I.
- econometrics II.
THE MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION DEGREE (M.B.A.)
The Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) is a professional degree designed to prepare graduates for managerial roles in business and non-profit organizations. Graduates will develop the necessary skills and problem-solving techniques that will permit them to make an early contribution to management and eventually to move into broad, general management responsibilities at the executive level.