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What’s an Undergraduate Degree? What Follows Next?  

What does undergraduate mean

American universities, including University of the People, often use terms that may not be well-known in other parts of the world. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Since UoPeople students come to us from over 200 countries and territories, we’re going to take the time to define some terms you may be unfamiliar with, you’ll see these across our website. 

female undergraduate student

Who are Undergraduates? 

An undergraduate is a student studying to earn a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. These are degrees earned after high school and before entering a master’s program.  

Undergraduate programs often include a general education component. This means that in addition to courses in their chosen major (e.g., psychology, biology, economics), students are typically required to take a variety of courses in subjects like mathematics, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to provide a well-rounded educational experience 

What is an Undergraduate Degree? 

Undergraduate degrees can refer to an associate or bachelor’s degree. However, a bachelor’s degree is most typically what is implied. A bachelor’s degree is an academic credential earned at the undergraduate level of higher education. It typically takes about four years of full-time study to complete, although some programs may be shorter or longer. This degree serves as the foundational steppingstone for many careers and is often required for numerous job opportunities. 

Bachelor’s degrees come in a variety of flavors, from Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) to Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). The choice of degree program is usually based on your interests and career goals

For more info on UoPeople’s online undergraduate admissions process, click here

Is a Bachelor’s Degree a Four-Year Program? 

Bachelor degree programs are generally completed in four years, but that’s not always the case. For those working or balancing family responsibilities, it can often take longer. Because UoPeople doesn’t charge tuition (only a low fee per course), your degree will cost the same amount no matter how long you need to complete it.  

What Comes After an Undergraduate? 

If you’ve completed your undergraduate degree (congratulations!), but still feel like you have more to learn, we’ve got you covered. Consider signing up for one of our graduate programs and earn your master’s degree. You’ll most likely want to join a graduate program related to your bachelor’s degree as they are more advanced and usually require a strong foundational knowledge of the field. Master’s degrees are often required for certain jobs and positions, making them well worth the investment. 

You can also earn a certificate. These non-degree programs are geared towards working professionals looking to upskill and gain an edge in the workplace. They cost far less than a bachelor’s degree and can be earned in a few months. We offer several certificates in business administration, computer science, and health science.  

college students celebrating graduation

What is the Difference between Graduate and Undergraduate? 

Graduate degrees are earned after the completion of an undergraduate degree. They usually take two years of study but are more work intensive and may require a dissertation or final project. They are usually super focused and specific to a field or job. Earning your master’s degree can open far more job opportunities and graduates generally command higher salaries than their undergraduate degree counterparts. While an undergraduate degree is more of a basic requirement to get a job at most places, a master’s degree sets you apart from others in the field. 

At University of the People, earning your graduate degree along with your full-time job is not soul-crushing but manageable. Check out this inspiring story of one of our business administration alumni who attained greater heights in his career after finishing his master’s degree at UoPeople.