Anascholastic Institute

College Words to Know


A college is a school that offers undergraduate programs, such as two and four year degrees.


A university is a group of colleges that offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. A single university might have a college of education, college of medicine, and a college of math and science. 


An undergraduate has not yet earned a college degree. Undergraduate programs are typically four years in length for a full-time student.

A graduate student is a student who has completed a bachelor's degree and is continuing on to a higher degree.


An associate's degree is a two year degree. An associate's degree is the ideal path for nurses, web developers, retail managers, tech support, childcare professionals, or anyone else who needs advanced training.

Associate's Degree

A bachelor's degree is typically a four year degree. The most common are the B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) and the B.S. (Bachelor of Science). The difference between the two generally comes down to the types of classes required for completion. This is the ideal path for teachers, engineers, analysts, and veterinarians, among others.

Bachelor's Degree

A master's degree is the next level after a bachelor's degree. The most common degrees are M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration) M. Ed. (Master of Education) and M.S. (Master of Science). The master's degree path is best for professional counselors, school principals, corporate executives, and anyone with a bachelor's degree who wants to become more knowledgeable about their field.

Master's Degree

Doctoral degrees are the highest level of formal education. The best known are the Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) D.D. (Doctor of Divinity) M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) and J.D. (Juris Doctor). Individuals planning on teaching at a college level, doctors, and lawyers would be best suited for the doctoral pathway.

Doctoral Degree

Colleges keep track of the amount of work a student has completed by a credit system. Many bachelor's degree programs require more than 120 credits. In general, one credit means one hour of class and two hours of homework per week for fifteen or sixteen weeks. A three credit course could then be expected to meet for three hours of class and have about six hours of homework each week. Be advised, there is still a great deal of variance between different schools and different subjects.


Tuition is the amount of money charged by a college or university, usually a set dollar value per credit. Tuition is typically fixed, but many institutions charge additional fees which may vary depending on the course. 


An area that a student specializes in. Many of the courses that a student chooses will be connected to their major.


An optional second area a student might specialize in, but not as heavily as their major.


Also known as Gen Eds, general education credits refer to courses taken that are required for a degree, but are not required for a student's major. 

General Education Credits