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Bachelor’s Degree Programs and Their Requirements

Higher Education Articles April 1, 2015

Students may start earning a bachelor’s degree as early as high school by earning college credits with various advanced study programs. They usually complete college entrance exams before applying and choose a major upon acceptance. They may also have to fulfill other requirements, such as passing an exit exam or completing an internship.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

The most commonly offered bachelor’s degrees at schools are the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.). The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) includes majors in the natural and physical sciences; these include zoology, health services management, physics, chemistry, and biology, among others.

Liberal art majors in history, philosophy, fine arts, and English literature are available through the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). In some cases, schools also award a B.A. in Science and Mathematics. Students often take four years to complete these degrees that involve about 120 credit hours of coursework.

Admissions Prerequisites

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to submit scores on entrance exams, in addition to official high school transcripts. Students usually take entrance exams upon graduation or during their junior or senior year in high school.

One of two exams, the ACT or the SAT, is taken by students. These two internationally recognized college admissions tests help evaluate the general educational development of students as well as their academic potential at the postsecondary level.

The SAT covers sections in numerous areas; these include mathematics, writing, and reading. The ACT evaluates a student’s English, reading, science, and math knowledge. The optional writing test is also available in order to assess the essay writing skills of students.

Majors and Program Requirements

A major is usually declared by students before their sophomore year ends. Included among academic majors are a series of classes aimed at ensuring that degree candidates focus their study on an area of interest. Students involved in most programs and schools are also allowed to declare a minor, which is a secondary area of study requiring fewer courses than a major. Minors chosen by students are usually closely related to their majors, although a minor can be in any subject of their choice. For instance, a minor in creative writing may be declared by a student whose chosen major is English.


Students enrolled in some schools and programs are required to participate in an internship – a work-related experience in the field of study chosen by the student – before they graduate. For instance, an internship for a journalism major may be at a radio station or a local television station.

Students may use these opportunities to enhance their job opportunities after they graduate or to find an occupation with different employers. Most internship opportunities are unpaid, although, in some, students find compensation for their time.

Exit Exams

The proficiency of a student in a particular field of study is tested through an exit exam in areas such as mathematics or writing. Exit exams are not a mandatory requirement at all colleges and universities.

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