A bachelor's degree is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course that generally lasts three or four years. Note that some postgraduate degrees are entitled Bachelor of ..., e.g. the University of Oxford Bachelor of Civil Law.
In some countries undergraduate degrees are awarded either as pass degrees or as honours degrees, the latter denoted by the appearance of "(Hons)" after the degree abbreviation. An honours degree generally requires a higher academic standard than a pass degree, and in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, an extra year of study which may involve independent research and the writing of a thesis. An honours degree is sometimes accepted in place of a Master's degree as prerequisite for Ph.D study. In the University of Dublin, the equivalent of honours is known as moderatorship, abbreviated "(Mod)".
Honours and moderatorships are often divided into first, second upper, second lower, third and (sometimes) fourth classes.
Originally, in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge all undergraduate degrees were in the Faculty of Arts, hence the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA, or AB in US usage). Since the late 19th century, most universities in the English-speaking world have followed the practice of the University of London in dividing undergraduate degree subjects into the two broad categories of arts and sciences, awarding the degree of Bachelor of Science (BSc, or BS in US usage) to students of the latter category of subjects.
New bachelors' degrees
The University of Cambridge is perhaps unique today in awarding the BA for all undergraduate degrees. However, in many universities over the last hundred years the range of bachelors' degrees has expanded enormously, especially in Australia and New Zealand, where the degree of BA is increasingly uncommon.
Some of these new degrees and their abbreviations include:
- BASc - Bachelor of Applied Science
- BArch - Bachelor of Architecture
- BBA - Bachelor of Business Administration
- BCh - Bachelor of Surgery (also the name of a postgraduate degree in some universities)
- BComm - Bachelor of Commerce
- BCompSc - Bachelor of Computer Science
- BD - Bachelor of Divinity (also the name of a postgraduate degree in some universities)
- BDes - Bachelor of Design (Visual design discipline)
- BEd - Bachelor of Education
- BES - Bachelor of Environmental Studies
- BEng or BE - Bachelor of Engineering
- BFA - Bachelor of Fine Arts
- BInfTech - Bachelor of Information Technology
- BM or MB - Bachelor of Medicine (also the name of a postgraduate degree in some universities)
- BMath - Bachelor of Mathematics (also the name of a postgraduate degree in some universities)
- BMus - Bachelor of Music (also the name of a postgraduate degree in some universities)
- BPharm -Bachelor of Pharmacy
- BTech - Bachelor of Technology
- BS - Bachelor of Surgery (Commonwealth usage, usually as part of a MB BS)
- BSEE - Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
- BSF - Bachelor of Science in Forestry
- LLB - Bachelor of Laws (also the name of a postgraduate degree in some universities)
A full list of British degree abbreviations is also available.