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Bachelor’s Degree vs. Master’s Degree: What’s the Difference?

By DeVry University

October 7, 2021
7 min read


A bachelor's degree and master's degree differ in a few key ways. Assuming full-time enrollment, a bachelor's degree is typically a four-year degree program that is earned at the undergraduate level, while a master's degree is a graduate-level degree that usually takes two years to earn, on average. In many cases, you need to have a bachelor's degree in order to enroll in a master's degree program.


But the differences don't stop there. When it comes to a bachelor's vs. master’s, there are many other important elements that separate the two degrees. To help you improve your understanding of the differences between bachelor's and master's degrees, we'll explore what each degree is and some of the topics that may be covered in a degree program at that level. You can discover this information and more in the following sections:


What is a Bachelor's Degree?

A bachelor's degree is an undergraduate degree that typically takes four years to complete, though some people may complete them in less or more time depending on their schedule and course load. Bachelor’s degrees usually cover a specific area of study and help students gain foundational knowledge in that subject. Usually, the goal of a bachelor's degree is to help students equip themselves with enough specific knowledge to enter an industry.

Bachelor's degrees typically come in one of three categories; a Bachelor of Arts (BA), a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). These categories are typically related to the field of study that the bachelor's degree program covers; for instance, a bachelor's degree in chemistry would likely be a BS degree.

Finally, a bachelor's degree can help if you’re planning to pursue further educational opportunities. Upon completing a bachelor's degree, you may be prepared to pursue a graduate degree program such as a master's degree or a graduate-level certificate. These programs tend to build upon the information covered in a bachelor's degree program, and can be a continuation of the same, or cover a related, more targeted subject matter.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

At DeVry, we offer several different bachelor's degree programs in a variety of fields. Here's a quick overview of the areas of study in which we offer a bachelor's degree in, as well as some information about each area.

What is a Master's Degree?

A master's degree is a graduate-level degree that one can pursue after earning an undergraduate-level degree such as a bachelor's degree. People who have earned a master's degree are usually understood to have a solid understanding of their area of study or professional practice.

Master's degree programs can vary in length depending on the topic being studied and the course load that you choose to take. Typically, this type of graduate-level program takes around two years to complete.

In some fields, a master's degree is the highest level of education that can be achieved. In the world of academic credentials, however, a master's degree sits beneath a doctorate degree, making it the second highest level of education one can achieve.

Master's Degree Programs

At DeVry, we offer several different master's degree programs that are designed to provide students with more advanced knowledge and training as they work toward a career in their chosen area of study. Our master's degree programs cover the following four areas:

Is It Better to Earn a Bachelor's Degree or a Master's Degree?

There is no definitive answer as to which degree program is better when it comes to earning a bachelor's vs. master's degree. To choose which academic step might be right for you, ask yourself the following two questions:

  • What job do you want to do? – When it comes down to a bachelor's vs. a master's degree, the most important thing is how they can help you achieve your personal goals. Many jobs do not require a master's degree for an entry-level position, but there are some fields that may require high-level degrees in order to advance your career. If you plan to work in a highly specialized field, then a master's degree may be worth pursuing.

  • How much time do you want to spend in school? – No matter how quickly you are able to finish a bachelor's or master's degree program, working toward a master's degree will add some time to your schooling. If you want to finish school faster and have a degree that may qualify you for certain entry-level positions, then a bachelor's degree might be the right choice.

Since bachelor’s and master’s degrees are two different credential levels, you should know that earning a master's degree vs. bachelor's degree doesn’t have to be something you address immediately. Because a bachelor's degree is almost always a prerequisite to a master's degree, you can always return to school to work towards a master's degree in the future if you feel it serves your career goals.

Ready to Learn More About DeVry’s Bachelor's and Master's Programs?

If you're interested in furthering your education, DeVry can help. Explore our bachelor's degree programs and master's degree programs to find one that's right for you!

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