Although the basic definition of a bachelor's degree is relatively set, there are plenty of variations and exceptions to the rule. For example, there are some cases in which a bachelor's degree denotes a post graduate degree - commonly a Bachelor of Civil Law, Bachelor of Music or the Bachelor of Philosophy. In most of Europe however, the adaptation of the Bologna Convention means that bachelor's degrees generally conform to a standard of three or four years of study within a chosen field.
A bachelor's offers the perfect opportunity for students to study abroad as well. Students can study an entire bachelor's degree abroad or just a semester or two through a home university. Study abroad experience is guaranteed to boost any resume and impress employers when it comes time to find a job. However, it also offers the chance to make new, international friends, learn a language, and explore a new city.
A further variation of the bachelor's degree is the honours degree. This is usually awarded for a higher academic standard and in some cases, such as Scotland, an extra year of study. Honours degrees are awarded in countries with a system based on the new English system, such as the United States, Scotland, Canada and Australia to name a few.
Many variations also exist within the honours degree. In the United States there are several different levels of the honours degree depending on your level of performance. At many Scottish Universities however, the extra year of the honours degree results in a Master of Arts or a Bachelor of Science depending on your area of study and often includes a dissertation of some kind.
Differences within the bachelor's degree
Different bachelor's degrees are awarded for different areas of study. The most common denominations are BA and BS or BSc, which denote a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science respectively. Other areas with their own denotations are the Bachelor of Engineering (BEng), Bachelor of commerce (BComm), Bachelor of Communication (BComn) and Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc). These are only a few of the variant that you may encounter, depending on where and what you wish to study.
Bachelor's degree admission requirements
In order to qualify for a bachelor's degree, you will generally need to have completed secondary school at a level equivalent to that offered in the country where you wish to study. A good comparison to make is, if you qualify for undergraduate university study in your home country, you will most often qualify for the same courses abroad. In some cases you may need to do an extra preparatory year due to certain special requirements within language, scientific or mathematical studies.
Applying to bachelor's degrees is different depending on the location. In many countries, such applications are handled by a centralised agency such as UCAS in the UK or VHS in Sweden. Otherwise applications for education at bachelor's degree level are handled by each institution individually.
In most cases, transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and an essay will be required as part of your application. If you plan to study abroad, proof of your English-language proficiency may also be required considering that many international bachelor's degrees are taught entirely in English.
Make sure to consult with a counselor from the university you are interested in to make sure you meet all the requirements before submitting your final application.