There are approximately 2500 degrees in the American higher
education system, which can be divided into five groups:
- Associate degrees (community colleges)
- First Professional Degrees
- Bachelor degrees (undergraduate studies)
- Master's degrees (graduate studies)
- Doctorate degrees
Associate degree - academic degree?
An associate degree is
the completion of a community college (state) or a junior college
(private). This degree is usually achieved after two years of
study. The associate degree is an
academic degree in the United
States, but is not recognized as an academic degree in many
There are different types of associate degrees:
- Associate of Arts Degree
- Associate of Science Degree
- Associate of Applied Science Degree
Terminal degrees and transfer programs
There are different programs: Terminal degrees and Transfer
programs. The terminal degrees are geared towards a professional
activity and are not taken into account in a later Bachelor's
degree. The transfer programs can be continued in a bachelor's
degree at a four-year college. There are cooperation agreements
between the community / junior colleges and certain four-year
colleges / universities. It is much cheaper to study at a community
college and many use this inexpensive alternative for the first two
years before moving to a university.
Associate of Arts Degree
If you have successfully completed a study program in Social
Sciences, Humanities or General Studies, you will receive the Associate
of Arts Degree.
Associate of Science Degree
The Associate of Science Degree is awarded upon
completion of a degree in Mathematics, Natural Sciences and
Associate of Applied Science Degree
You get an Associate of Applied Science Degree in
application-oriented courses. It leads into professional
activity. This degree is possible in the following areas:
- IT (data processing technologies)
- Commercial (business and commerce technologies)
- Medicine (health services / paramedical technology)
- Natural science technologies
- Technik (mechanical / engineering technologies)
- Administration technology (public service-related
Recognition of associate degrees in Germany
In Germany, the Associate of Science and Associate of Arts
degrees are usually not recognized as academic degrees. However, if
a certain number of subjects have been completed, they can be
recognized as university entrance qualifications.
Associate of applied science degrees are not counted as university
entrance qualifications, but often as vocational qualifications in
the dual system.
In the United States, a college degree is completed after four
years with a bachelor's degree. The title is then
called Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor
of Sciences (B.Sc.), in some cases the subject is mentioned
in the title, e.g. Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.). The course of
study is as follows: general subjects in the first year or two, then
choice of main subject, choice of minor subjects.
Depending on the final grades, the reputation of the college, the
results of the entrance tests, the degree will be recognized in a
further study or not. Therefore, if possible, you should pay
attention to the reputation that college has.
The master’s degree in the USA takes one to two
years as a full-time student. To be admitted, you must have an
American or European bachelor's degree, a German
university or university of applied sciences, state examination or a
At some universities, you have to present a certain number of credit
points to get the master's degree. Depending on the
university, you also have to write a thesis, the master
thesis. There is an admission restriction for the Master's study
places and each case is examined individually.
You can start a doctorate with a master's degree with a minimum
grade of "good".
The Ph. D. (Latin Philosophiae Doctor)
corresponds to the German "Doctor of Science".
In order to be able to hold the academic degree of a Ph.
D., one must have completed a scientific research doctorate
or a doctoral program with an average duration of four years.
There are also the "professional degrees" that are obtained after
successfully completing a degree, for example, Medical Doctor (MD)
after studying medicine.
Admission requirements for a doctorate course are a master’s
degree or a bachelor’s degree with honors
University degrees in the United States: titles,
abbreviations, and length of study
|Associate of Arts
|Associate of Science
||AS and others
|Bachelor of Arts
|Bachelor of Science and others
|Doctor of Medicine
|Doctor of Philosophy
|Doctor of Psychology
|Doctor of Philosophy in (clinical) Psychology
|Master of Arts
|Master of Science
|Master of Business Administration
|Master of Laws
|Professional Master of Engineering