What Is an Undergraduate Degree?

There are many different degrees that people can choose to pursue. The undergraduate degree is the first degree that is obtained after high school. Getting this degree allows you to pursue graduate level work and beyond. What does the undergraduate degree consist of? How hard is it to get one of these degrees?

Characteristics of the Undergrad

Students who enter college after high school are considered undergraduate students. They are just starting their college education. Most people are referring to this type of degree when they say they are going to college. Any institution of higher learning can be considered a place where undergrads go to study. Community colleges, public colleges and private colleges all offer these types of degrees. Universities also offer undergraduate degrees.

What an Undergrad Will Study

The undergraduate degree is the most basic college degree that a student will achieve. What is learned in an undergraduate degree will be the educational foundation for a career. Arts, business, science and technology are all studied in their basic form. Some students will go on to graduate school when they have finished with their initial degree. Others will head right to work after they graduate. Students generally pick a major area of study. This will determine what classes they take outside of core classes. Undergraduate courses are generally less demanding compared to graduate courses.

Course Levels An Undergrad Will Take

Most college courses are labeled with a number from 100-400. 100 level courses are generally the easiest the college will offer. They are usually introductory courses in a particular area of study. A course labeled Typing 101 generally indicates that the basics of typing will be covered in the course. 200 level courses are generally taken during the second year of college.

300 level courses are generally for upperclassmen, while 400 level courses are generally capstone courses. Some courses may need to be taken in a certain order. For example, a 200 level course in physics may need to be taken before a student can take a 300 level course in astronomy. This is because basic physics knowledge may be needed to do well in the astronomy course.

The Value Of An Undergraduate Degree

Some professions may require that a student get an advanced degree before starting work. Other professions may have less strict requirements regarding your level of education. For example, a teacher in most states must be certified at the undergraduate level to start teaching. However, a graduate degree may not be required right away.

There are a handful of professions that only want to see that you have finished school. In some cases, an employer will appreciate that you have finished school. Keep in mind that your degree may not give you the practical knowledge you need to do your job. A mechanic can’t fix cars unless he has experience doing so. In that case, you may be better off getting experience in your field.

Your undergraduate degree is going to be the first step on your way to furthering your education. Consult with a career services center to see if further education can help you. Getting an advanced degree doesn’t always result in a higher paycheck. Make sure you aren’t getting a degree just to pay for an expensive title that no one really values.

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