In the American system of higher education the following degrees are awarded:
- Associate degrees (conferred after 2 years of studies)
- Bachelor degrees (4 years of studies)
- Master degrees (1 or 2 additional years after a Bachelor degree)
- Doctoral degrees (PhD) at least 2-3 year of further studies
Professional degrees: many professions require specific training at a post-graduate level:
- law degree (J.D.): 2 years
- medical degree (M.D.): 3 years plus additional training (the same applies to dentistry, veterinary medicine and architecture).
A student’s academic standing is usually measured by his grade point average (GPA) but this can vary widely.
The registrar of the university/college keeps a permanent record of courses taken and grades earned by each student (“transcript”)
The accreditation system
When selecting higher education programs, you should always choose an institution that is accredited (Regionally accredited) !
The credit system
American degrees are earned on the basis of the number of courses successfully taken. Each course earns “credits” or “units”.
- undergraduate student’s load = 15-17 units per semester
- graduate student’s load:= 9-12 units possibly with research
The grading system
Most colleges and universities use letters as follows:
- A=excellent or outstanding
- B= above average
- C= average
- D= below average
- F= failing
An undergraduate student must maintain a C or 2,00 average in general and a B or 3.00 average in his or her major field in order to get a degree.