What Does It All Mean? A Glossary for Prospective Undergraduates.
Posted by Kristen Stockdale
BA – Bachelor of Arts: This is an undergraduate degree in the humanities or arts, rather than in the science fields. It includes all the arts from design technology to ancient history.
BSc – Bachelor of Science: A Bachelor of Science is the name given to all undergraduate science degrees, including the social sciences.
BASc – Bachelor of Arts and Sciences: BASc stands for Bachelor of Arts and Sciences, meaning that you gain a comprehensive understanding of topics across STEM, the arts, and humanities. Some BASc degrees are Liberal Arts programmes, and some are different. This depends upon the nature of the institution.
BMus – Bachelor of Music: Bachelor of Music degrees are typically four years. They are offered by conservatoires like the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama etc.
BEng – Bachelor of Engineering: Usually, engineering degrees have an integrated masters where students would graduate with an MEng (Masters of Engineering) after four years. Sometimes, students choose not to complete the integrated masters, in which case they graduate with a BEng after three years instead.
BFA – Bachelor of Fine Arts: A Bachelor of Fine Arts is the standard undergraduate degree for students seeking a professional education in the visual or performing arts.
LLB – Bachelor of Laws: LLB is the abbreviation for the Bachelor of Laws. The degree abbreviates to ‘LLB’ rather than ‘BL’ because of the traditional name of the qualification in Latin, ‘Legum Baccalaureus’.
Foundation degree: Foundation degrees are usually two-year courses (longer if part-time) that are equivalent to the first two years of an undergraduate degree. They are not the same as a foundation year.
Single honours: This degree is typically three or four years of full-time study in one specific subject. You’ll learn about different topics within this degree, but ultimately your studies will focus on one subject. For example, a biology degree might explore genetics, bioethics, and anatomy, but the overarching theme will be biology.
Joint honours: The same degree as single honors, except your time is split across two subjects rather than one. Sometimes this is within the same department (e.g. French and German) or across fields (e.g. Physics and Philosophy).
Major/minor degree: Like a joint honours, your time is split across two subjects. But with a major/minor degree, you specialise more in one subject and take the other as a minor. For example, you might major in English literature and minor in creative writing.
Liberal Arts: A Liberal Arts degree covers many topics within the humanities, as well as social and natural sciences. Students generally take some core modules and then pick elective modules from different departments across the university. Different institutions will have different modules available for students on their Liberal Arts programmes.
Full-time: Almost all undergraduate courses are available full-time, taking three or sometimes four years to complete. The idea is that, as a full-time student, your commitment to study is around 40 hours per week.
Part-time: Most undergraduate courses are available on a part-time basis. This means that you can study at your own pace alongside work and other commitments. Typically, undergraduate part-time degrees take around five years to complete.
Year/term abroad: Many universities have partnerships with other institutions across the world. These universities often offer students the opportunity to complete a term of a year (or sometimes an entire year) in another country as part of their degree programme.
Sandwich degree / year in industry: This degree allows students to take a year out of studying to gain hands-on experience in industry. Usually, this year of full-time work takes place between the second and third year of the course.
Internship: Internships are work experience placements that last for a fixed period of time. Some are paid, some are unpaid. Internships are generally undertaken by students and recent graduates to gain experience whilst they’re studying. Unlike at LIS, students are usually responsible for finding and securing their own internships.