What are the types of degrees in the US?

Learn about the different types of degrees offered in the US to choose the right one for you.

In this article:

Associate degrees

Associate degrees are 2-year long courses, and are the most basic type of degree available in the US. These courses train a student for entry-level positions in various fields like nursing, programming and designing. You can pursue an associate degree after graduating from high school.

Common types of associate degrees:

  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Note: If you complete a transferable associate degree, you can continue to pursue a bachelor’s degree from the third year by transferring the credits.

Bachelor’s degrees 

Bachelor’s degrees are 4-year long (freshman, sophomore, junior and senior) undergraduate degrees you can pursue right after graduating from high school. This type of degree is available in various majors and trains students for entry-level and manager-level positions depending on the chosen major. 

Common types of bachelor degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) 
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
  • Bachelor of Architecture (BArch)

Master’s degrees

Master's degrees are 1-2 year-long postgraduate degrees that you can pursue right after graduating from your undergraduate degree. This type of degree trains students to specialise in an area of study. You will be qualified to work in an advanced or executive-level upon graduation. 

Common types of master’s degree:

  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA) 
  • Master of Laws (LLM)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Doctorate

A doctorate is the next and final level of degree you can get in a particular field of study. A master's degree in a related field is a prerequisite for most doctoral programmes, and it takes anywhere from 2-6 years to complete. After receiving your doctorate, you will be qualified to work as an expert in your field. 

Common types of doctorates:

  • Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Juris Doctor (JD)
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)