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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 we offer a bachelor's degree in, as well as some information about each area.

  • Technology: Our bachelor's degree programs in technology cover a wide range of topics over the 19 different programs and specializations offered. These programs can help you gain a greater understanding of technology, its applications and how it drives the world of business. Some of our technology-specific programs include bachelor's degrees in Computer Information SystemsEngineering Technology and Software Development.

  • Business: For those who wish to pursue a bachelor's degree in the field of business, our programs are designed to help you gain a greater understanding of the business world's common practices across a wide range of disciplines. Our Bachelor's Degree in Business can be earned with 14 different specializations to choose from that may help you prepare for a more specific area of the business world.

  • Accounting: Our accounting degree programs include three different bachelor's degrees that are designed to help you improve your understanding of accounting practices, including a Bachelor's in Accounting, a Bachelor's in Business with an Accounting Specialization and a Bachelor's in Business with a Finance Specialization.

  • Healthcare: We offer three different bachelor's degree specializations in the healthcare area of study. These programs may help prepare you to work on the administrative and managerial side of a care facility to help ensure patient satisfaction and achieve business goals. Some of the bachelor's degree programs in this category include a Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration with a Healthcare Management Specialization and a Bachelor's in Business with a Health Services Management Specialization.

  • Liberal Arts: Our liberal arts related degree programs help students build a grounded view of human interactions that can be applied to several different fields. Two of the programs offered in this area of study include a Bachelor's in Communications with a Business Communications Specialization and a Bachelor's in Justice Administration, which can be earned with one of three specializations.

  • Media Arts: Our media arts Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia Design and Development is designed to give students the opportunity to apply their love of creative media to a digital space. The bachelor's degree program in this area of study may include a specialization in Graphic and Multimedia Design and a specialization in Web Development and Design.

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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