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- Main article: Educational degrees
An undergraduate degree (also called a first degree or simply degree) is an academic degree taken by an undergraduate. It is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a university. The most common type of undergraduate degree is the bachelor's degree, which typically takes three or four years to complete and is the main first degree of those studying psychology.
Undergraduate degrees around the world
In the United Kingdom, the degree of bachelor is the most common type of undergraduate degree, though, confusingly, there are also some master's degrees (which are usually postgraduate degrees) that are undergraduate degrees. These are chiefly the "enhanced" Master's Degrees which are a year longer than the Bachelor's Degree and combine both a three year Bachelor's and a one year Master's. Although as an exception to this rule there is also the Oxbridge MA, which are automatically awarded to all bachelor's degree holders a few years after graduation, and the ancient Scottish MAs, awarded by the ancient universities of Scotland.
First professional degrees sometimes contain the word 'Doctor', but are still considered to be undergraduate degrees in most countries, including Canada. For example, the Doctor of Medicine (MD) program in Canada is considered an undergraduate degree. However, in the United States, most first professional degrees are considered graduate programs by the U.S. Department of Education and require students to already possess an undergraduate degree before admission. These degrees are not research doctorates and not equivalent to the Ph.D. Many countries offer bachelors degrees that are equivalent to American graduate degrees, for example the M.D. degree offered in the U.S. is equivalent to the MBBS or MBChB degree.
In the United States and rarely in Canada, an Associate's Degree is a two-year degree. It is occasionally undertaken as the beginning of a four-year degree. When doing so, a student transferring to a four-year institution can have difficulty in convincing the receiving institution to acknowledge his previous coursework so that he does not need to repeat a course. Problems are not limited to specific class requirements, but also to requisites for graduation and pre-requisites of the new institution. Such a situation can cause the transferring student to remain in the larger institution longer than originally intended. Some two-year institutions have transfer agreements with four-year institutions, which specify which courses will transfer without problems.
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