An Undergraduate Student (or undergrad)
When you are an undergraduate student you are studying to get your degree. After attending a university or college for four years as an undergraduate and fulfilling the course requirements you may graduate with any of the following degrees:
B.A.= Bachelor of Arts (focuses more on the humanities)*
B.A. in English, History, Sociology
B.S.= Bachelor of Science (focuses more on science/math)*
B.S. in Engineering, Physics, Molecular and Cell Biology
*Be aware that the classifications above can vary slightly from school to school.
B.F.A.= Bachelor of Fine Arts (creation of art)
B.F.A. in Acting, Studio Art, Dance
A Graduate Student (or grad)
When you are a graduate student, you’ve already attained a bachelor’s degree and now you are studying to get your master’s degree. This may take 1-2 years depending on the program and the rate at which you take courses. When you are finished you may graduate with any of the following degrees:
M.A.= Master of Arts
M.S.= Master of Science
M.B.A.=Master of Business Administration
M.F.A.= Master of Fine Arts
M.Ed= Master of Education
A Law Student
A law student obtaining their first degree in law will graduate with the following:
J.D. = Juris Doctor
A Doctoral Candidate (also known as a grad student)
You can get your PhD in a variety of areas usually in the humanities such as English, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Art History, to name a few. Someone who has earned their PhD has successfully defended a dissertation on a specific topic in their field and passed any exams (written or oral) required by the university.
People with PhDs might choose be professors at a university. They are expected to do research and publish articles in addition to teaching.
Someone with a PhD in Psychology can do research. Alternatively, they might set up a clinical practice where they help people with mental or emotional challenges.
PhD= Doctorate of Philosophy
A Medical Student
A student who is studying medicine to become a doctor (physician) goes to medical school. A psychiatrist must have an M.D. in order to prescribe medication.
M.D.= Doctor of Medicine
A Student of Chiropractic
A chiropractic student learns about how the spine and nervous system relates to health and will earn the following degree:
D.C.= Doctor of Chiropractic
A certificate program is not the same as a degree. All of the above are considered degrees. A certificate program offers coursework in a specific area. While the coursework might be beneficial to your personal growth and professional development, it does not have the same status as a degree. Completion of a certificate program may have value for international students who earn a certificate in a foreign country. For students in the U.S., a degree program is preferred. Certificate programs are considered supplemental and are not required for most jobs.