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Difference Between Graduate And Undergraduate

Difference between graduate and undergraduate

What is the difference between undergraduate and graduate studies? This article is dedicated to giving you some insights into what constitutes undergraduate courses, what constitutes graduate courses, what is the difference between undergraduate and graduate programs, and what is the difference between undergraduate and graduate writing.

What constitutes undergraduate courses or programs

An undergraduate degree can be in the form of associate's degree or bachelor's degree. Undergraduate programs fall below the master's level and are offered at institutes of higher learning. Undergraduate courses are available in a variety of subjects. A successful completion of an undergraduate course requires you to complete multiple general education courses, electives, and courses on subjects that you choose to major in.

There is a high degree of learning imparted on the subject that you have chosen as your major along with general education courses. This combination of general coursework and major subject coursework provides a broad knowledge base for students giving them ample scope to apply for jobs in multiple professional fields.

Features of undergraduate programs – The following points are important features and facts about undergraduate programs:

Both full-time and part-time options are available. Full-time options require you to stay on the campus during semesters. Full-time courses usually take 4 years to complete. Online programs, distance education, and part-time options are also available. Depending on factors, you might take longer than 4 years to complete your undergraduate degree if you use one of these options.

The prerequisite to obtaining admission to an undergraduate degree is a high school diploma or its equivalent

There are various subjects you can choose from depending on your personal interests and/or employment scenarios. The commonly chosen subjects include history and social sciences, business, education, health professions, and psychology. However, many more options are available and you can make your choice after discussing with the admissions officers.

If you choose to continue your education after the undergraduate degree, then you will need to have to have a bachelor's degree.

Associate degree – These programs generally require 60 credits and are usually completed in 2 years. Associate degree programs are offered by junior colleges, community colleges, and technical schools.

Most of these programs prepare students for entry-level jobs in a particular field. An associate degree can also help you complete your 4-year undergraduate program. This is done through the transfer of academic credits from the community college in which you completed your associate degree to a full-fledged college or university. Commonly chosen associate degree courses include Associate of Arts and Associate of Applied Science.

Bachelor's degree – A bachelor's degree is also referred to as a baccalaureate degree and is the undergraduate degree most students study for. The commonly chosen Bachelor's degrees are either Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts. This program includes major subjects, general education subjects, and electives and takes about 4 years to complete and requires 120 academic credits at the very minimum.

A few bachelor's degrees combine cooperative work-study along with coursework. This can give you a lot of industry exposure in your chosen profession and can give you a head start in terms of landing a lucrative job. This coursework combined with cooperative work-study programs takes usually 5 years to complete.

What constitutes graduate courses

Graduate courses are advanced study programs that focus on a specific profession or academic discipline. Graduate degrees can be purely academic (focusing on research on a particular subject), purely professional (focusing on developing requisite knowledge and skills for a particular profession), or a combination of the two.

Types of graduate courses – The following types of graduate courses are available:

Master's Degree is offered in many subjects and fields of study. Some of the master's degrees lead to a doctoral degree while others lead to a profession; for example, Master of Library Science, Master of Business Administration. A full-time master's degree usually takes 2 years to complete.

Specialist degrees – these are earned over and above the master's degree and hence require additional internship experience, coursework, and training. A specialist degree normally prepares a student for licensing requirement or professional certification.

Doctoral degrees – These are highest degrees possible and normally need students to create new knowledge or at least new perceptions of existing data through the independent research mode. Getting a doctoral degree could take anywhere between five and seven years including the time needed to prepare and defend the research paper.

Difference between graduate and undergraduate programs

Graduate programs are more focused than undergraduate programs. The expectations with respect to quality and quantity of academic work needed to be done by the student are also quite different. As compared to undergraduate programs, graduate courses are different in the following ways:

  • Concentrated study in the chosen subject with lesser number of elective options

  • Student work is more rigorously evaluated by peers and professors

  • The classes have fewer students and there is a lot more interaction amongst students

  • Students get work experience through internships, research or teaching

  • Students are usually required to produce original research work

What is the difference between undergraduate and graduate writing

The first difference is that graduate students are expected to have a more mature level of thinking than undergraduate students. This translates to better vocabulary, better-developed ideas, an improved structure, a deeper and more powerful analysis, and so forth. Topics could be shared in graduate and undergraduate levels, but the approach is expected to be different.

Secondly, graduate students ought to read a lot more than undergraduate students and their reading should cover a larger group of scientists, theorists, and scholars. So, the referencing levels of a graduate paper should cover a wider array than an undergraduate paper.

Thirdly, graduate student papers should contain a higher percentage of original ideas and thoughts as compared to an undergraduate student paper. It is a natural assumption made by professors and lecturers that as students move up the ladder of education, they would have grasped a lot more knowledge and skills and would have gained a lot of insight to have ideas and thoughts of their own. And hence their expectations of more original thoughts from graduate students.

Final Notes

The primary difference between graduate and undergraduate programs lies not so much in the content of the course as much as in the levels of maturity, depths of knowledge, and originality of thought. Also, the study becomes more focused on the specialized subject as you move from the undergraduate to the graduate level.

Our experts at Prescott Papers would be very happy to help you with all your academic writing works both at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Do not hesitate to contact us for any kind of academic help.

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