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Undergraduate education

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Undergraduate education is the post-secondary education previous to the postgraduate education. It includes all the academic programs up to the level of a bachelor's degree. For example, in the United States, an entry level university student is known as an undergraduate, while students of higher degrees are known as graduates. In some other educational systems and subjects, undergraduate education is post-secondary education up to the level of a master's degree; this is the case for some science courses in Britain and some medicine courses in Europe.

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  • How to Study Effectively for School or College - Top 6 Science-Based Study Skills
  • Susan Singer: A Conversation with Harvard Faculty about Improving Undergraduate Science Education
  • Undergraduate Education at Public Research Universities: Advantages and Challenges
  • The Future of Science Education at Undergraduate Level
  • Undergraduate Research at the LSU College of Science


How to study effectively, using 6 essential strategies. If you’re a student, you’ve probably wondered - what is the most effective way to study? That’s a smart question, because most people unfortunately waste their time with stuff that just isn’t effective. So I asked the cognitive psychologists over at The Learning Scientists for some tips. After all their research into the science of learning and absolute best-practice study skills, here are their top six strategies to bring out your inner genius. The first strategy is called spaced practice. 5 hours of study crammed into one intensive session is not as good as that same 5 hours spread out over two weeks. You’ll learn more and get better results with the same amount of time or less. It’ll be less stressful than the panic of cramming, and because you’ll learn more you’ll also reduce the time you need to study in the future, because you won’t have to re-learn the same information. Make a plan and schedule short study sessions into your calendar, this is not about marathon, intensive periods of study. Review information from each class, starting a day later. After you’ve covered the most recent class, go back and study important older information to keep it fresh. And don’t just re-read your notes - that’s ineffective. Use the other strategies in this video. And leave 2-3 days between study sessions on the same subject, the key is consistent short study sessions over time. Switch between ideas during a single study session for a particular class, this is called interleaving. Don’t study one idea, topic or type of problem for too long. Switching will highlight and contrast the similarities or differences between topics or types of questions. If you’re doing problem solving, switching can help you choose the correct approach to solve a problem. This strategy will encourage you to make links between ideas as you switch between them. You want your mind to be nimble and easily able to jump between ideas and know how they relate to each other. Make sure you study enough information to understand an idea before you switch, you’ll need to figure out what works best for you – don’t spend an entire session on one topic, but don’t switch too often either. Try to make links between ideas as you move between them. And for your next study session, change the order you work through topics, because that will strengthen your understanding even more. Switching will probably feel harder than studying one topic for a long time, but remember, we want to use what’s most effective, not what’s easiest. The next strategy is for when you have your textbook and notes in front of you. Ask yourself questions about how and why things work, and then find the answers in your class material. Explain and describe ideas with as many details as you can and connect the ideas to your daily life and experiences. This forces you to understand and explain what you’re learning, and connect it with what you already know. That helps you organize the new ideas and makes them easier to recall later. Creating ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions makes you think about how ideas are similar or different, and that improves your understanding. Start with your notes and textbook and make a list of the ideas you need to learn. Go down the list and ask yourself questions about how these ideas work and why. Then go through your class material again and look for answers to your own questions. Make connections between different ideas and explain to yourself how they work together. The specific questions you ask and how you break down ideas depends on what you’re studying, it might be math, science, history or something else completely. Check out the description below this video for some examples. Use specific, concrete examples. Relevant examples help demonstrate and explain ideas, which helps you to understand them better. Human memory hooks onto concrete information better than abstract information, so always look for real life examples you can relate to. For example ‘scarcity’ is an abstract idea. You can explain it as ‘the rarer something is, the higher its value will be’. But we’ve used abstract terms to explain an abstract idea. Not so helpful. So we use a specific example to illustrate the idea. Think about a ticket scalper. If you purchase a ticket to a sports event at the start of the season, the ticket price is reasonable. But as the game day gets closer and the two teams are now at the top of the ladder, more people buy tickets. This scarcity drives up the cost of the tickets and the ticket scalper charges more for the tickets. That’s a concrete example of an abstract idea. You can collect examples from your teacher or professor, search your textbook or notes, and look out for examples in your daily life. Thinking of your own relevant examples is most helpful for your learning, but be careful to confirm with your teacher that your examples are accurate and relevant to the idea you’re learning. Make the link between the idea and the example, and you’ll understand how the example applies. Combine verbal material with visuals. Doing this gives you two ways of understanding and remembering the information later on. Find visuals in your notes and textbook and examine how the words are describing what’s in the image. Then do it the other way around – how does the image represent what’s described by the text? Look at the visuals and explain in your own words what they mean. Then take the words for your class materials and draw your own picture for them. Try to create different ways to represent the information, and start to use this strategy when you practice retrieving your knowledge later on. And just to clarify, this is not about learning styles. A great deal of research has shown that assessing your learning style and matching your study approach to that style does not improve your learning. Just because you might prefer pictures doesn’t mean it’s the most effective way for you to learn. You learn best when you combine words and visuals. And finally, this is the single most valuable study skill to help you boost your performance, so it’s definitely worth mastering. Practice retrieving everything in your head you already know about a topic. Put away all your notes and textbooks and write down or sketch out everything you know right now. Why? Because retrieving your knowledge like this reinforces what you’ve learned and makes it easier to remember later on. But also, improvement comes with practice. If you want to get better at recalling information in exams, then you should practice recalling information now, just like you practice any other skill. Plus it highlights what you don’t know and that’s where you should focus your study time. Makes sense, right? So what’s the best way to do this? Take as many practice tests as you possibly can, even if you have to make them up and swap with a friend. Or just start with a blank piece of paper and empty your brain, write out everything you know, draw sketches or concept maps linking all the ideas together. Make sure you do this a while after you’ve learned something, so put away your notes – this is not about reciting information you’ve just glanced at in your textbook. Once you’re finished, check what you’ve written against your class material. What did you get right or wrong, and what didn’t you recall at all. That’s perfect feedback and shows you where you need to get better. Now you know the six study strategies academic research says are the most effective, here’s a simple way to recall them for your next study session. If you’d like some free downloadable posters about these 6 strategies to put on your wall, follow the link in the description below this video. Thanks for watching, bye!




Nigerian system

In Nigeria, undergraduate degrees (excluding Medicine, Medical Laboratory Science, Nursing, Engineering, Law and Architecture) are four-year-based courses. Medicine (MBBS) and Architecture normally take six years to complete studies while Medical Laboratory Science, Nursing, Law and Engineering courses take five years to complete studies, usually, all six years are taken to improve their chances.

South African system

The South African system usually has a three-year undergraduate bachelor's degree, with two or three majors. (There are exceptions, such as the medical qualification (MBChB), which is six years.) A fourth year, known as an Honours year, is considered a post-graduate degree. It is usually course-driven, although may include a project or thesis.


Brazilian system

Brazil follows the major traits of the continental European system; free public schools are available from kindergarten up to postgraduation, both as a right established in Article 6, caput of the Brazilian Constitution and as a duty of the State in Article 208, Items I, IV and V, of the Brazilian Constitution.[1] Students choose their specific course of studies before joining the university. Admission to university is obtained by means of a competitive entrance exam known as Vestibular (a concept somewhat similar to the Baccalauréat in France). There's a new system, adopted by most federal universities, that uses the high school national examination (ENEM) result as part or a replacement of the Vestibular grade.[2] Depending on the chosen course, upon graduating the student shall be granted: a technologist diploma, 3 years to complete, a bachelor's degree's diploma, which usually takes 4 or, in the case of Law, Veterinary, Geology and Engineering, 5 years to complete; or a professional diploma, which normally require 5 or, in the case of medicine, 6 years to complete.

United States system

In the United States of America undergraduate refers to those who are studying for a bachelor's degree.[3] The most common method consists of four years of study leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), or sometimes another bachelor's degree such as Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Music (B. Mus.), Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.), Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.), Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs (B.S.P.A), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.), or Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.) Five-Year Professional Architecture programs offer the Bachelor of Architecture Degree (B.Arch.) or sometimes Master of Architecture degree (M.Arch.).

Unlike in the British model, degrees in law and medicine are not offered at the undergraduate level and are completed as professional study after earning a bachelor's degree. Neither field specifies or prefers any undergraduate major, though medical schools have set prerequisite courses that must be taken before enrollment.

Some students choose to attend a community college for two years prior to further study at another college or university. In most states, community colleges are operated either by a division of the state university or by local special districts subject to guidance from a state agency. Community colleges award associate degrees of different types, some intended to prepare students to transfer to four-year schools (e.g. Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS)), and others intended to provide vocational skills and training for students wishing to enter into or advance in a profession. Those seeking to continue their education may transfer to a four-year college or university after applying through a similar admissions process as those applying directly to the four-year institution called articulation. Some community colleges have automatic enrollment agreements with a local four-year college, where the community college provides the first two years of study and the university provides the remaining years of study, sometimes all on one campus. The community colleges award associate degrees, while universities and colleges award the bachelor's. However, some community colleges, such as Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, Texas offer bachelor's degrees along with associate degrees.[4] Conversely, some universities such as the University of Delaware also award associate degrees.[5]


Hong Kong system

In Hong Kong, the English system is followed. Students sit for the Certificate of Education examinations at around sixteen years of age, and the Advanced-level, or A-level examinations at around eighteen, then follow by three years of undergraduate education, except for a few specific fields, such as medicine, nursing and law. This is due to be changed, with five-year secondary education and two-year matriculation examination combined and shortened to six years matriculation, and undergraduate education lengthened to four years. Students may be able to receive general education in their first years in universities, more akin to the North American system. The first batch of students under the new system will enter universities in 2012.

Indian system

In India the Graduation system is classified into two parts: Undergraduation (UG) and Postgraduation (PG). It takes three or four years to complete an "undergraduate" degree. The three-year undergraduate programs are mostly in the fields of arts, commerce, science etc., and the four-year programs are mostly in the fields of technology, engineering, pharmaceutical sciences, agriculture etc. However, for medicine, law and architecture, the period has been five years.[6] The possessor of the first UG is referred to as graduate and that of the PG degree as post-graduate.[7][8] Other than UG and PG there are various 1 to 2 year diploma courses available.[9]

Pakistani system

In Pakistan, it generally requires four years to complete a Bachelor's degree in Arts, Sciences, Dentistry, Engineering or Business Administration such as BA, BS, BDS, BE/BS/BSc Engineering or BBA and five years for bachelor's degrees in Medicine (MBBS), Physiotherapy (DPT), Pharmacy (Pharm.D) and Architecture (B.Arch) after successfully completing 12 years of schooling. 4 years bachelor's degree is offered in various universities of Pakistan such as COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore (UET Lahore), University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila (UET Taxila), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (NU).

The modern educational system comprises the following five stages: The Primary school lasting five years for children 5–10 years old in grades one to five; a Middle school of three years for children 10 to 13 years old, covering grades six through eight; a two-year secondary, or Matriculation consists of grades nine and ten, for children 13 to 15 years old; a two-year higher secondary, or Intermediate college, leading to an F.A. in arts or F.Sc. in science; and a fifth stage covering college and university programs leading to baccalaureate, professional, master's and doctorate degrees. The pre-primary or preparatory classes, called kachi (literally, unripe) or Nursery school, were formally integrated into the education system in 1988.


English, Welsh, and Northern Irish system

Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland may usually enter university from the age of eighteen, often having studied A-levels and thus having had thirteen to fifteen years of schooling. Occasionally students who finish A Level or equivalent qualifications early (after skipping a year in school on the grounds of academic giftedness) may enter below this age but large universities are now setting minimum age limits of 16 or 17 after a number of well publicised "child prodigies" were found to be emotionally and mentally unprepared for university life.[citation needed]

Applications for undergraduate courses in UK higher education are made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).[10]

For their first degree, most students read for the degree of bachelor, which usually takes three years, however in the sciences and engineering integrated courses covering both undergraduate level and advanced degree level leading to the degree of master,[11] usually taking four years and including a research project or dissertation are popular. Given the integrated nature of these programs someone who gains a master's degree via an integrated program is not usually admitted to the degree of bachelor.

Master's degrees conferred after extended programs are not to be conflated with the degree of Master of Arts conferred at Oxbridge and Dublin, which is not a substantive qualification, but reflects the ancient practice of those three universities of promoting Bachelors of Arts to Masters of Arts (and thus full membership of the University) six or seven years after matriculation.[11]

Honours degrees and integrated master's degrees are awarded with 1st, upper 2nd, lower 2nd or 3rd class honours. If a student passes the course but fails to do so sufficiently well for third class honours to be awarded he will be awarded with an ordinary degree. It is possible to use the abbreviation "Hons" after the degree postnominals to indicate that the degree has been passed with honours and is not an ordinary degree.

Many universities offer sandwich courses or an extramural year, which offer work placements for a short period of time in a relevant industry before students complete their studies. Taking a sandwich course may make the course last a year longer than it would otherwise.

With very few exceptions, nearly all universities with the power to award degrees are heavily state financed. However, they also rely on tuition fees set by the government at a maximum index-linked level, repayable after graduation contingent on attaining a certain level of income, and with the state paying all fees for students from the poorest backgrounds. UK students are generally entitled to student loans for maintenance with repayment contingent on income.[12] Unlike in other European countries, the British government does not own the universities' assets and university staff are not civil servants. United Kingdom universities are therefore better described as autonomous, intellectually-independent institutions with public funding, rather than public universities per se. The crown does not control syllabi, with the exception of teacher training. The crown restricts the power to award degrees to those with a royal charter, in the case of traditional universities, or authorization from the Secretary of State for Universities, in the case of modern universities. Universities accredited in foreign countries, such as Richmond University are, however, free to operate.

European Bologna process systems

In many countries, the English distinction between a bachelor's and master's degree is being introduced by the Bologna process. Under the new Bologna reform, universities in Europe are introducing the Bachelor level (BA or BS) degree, often by dividing a 5-year Master-level program into two parts (3-year Bachelor's + 2-year Master's), where students are not obligated to continue with the second Master's-degree part. These new bachelor's degrees are similar in structure to British bachelor's degrees.

If there is a separate undergraduate degree, higher degrees (License, Master, Doctorat) can be gained after completing the undergraduate degree. In the traditional German system, there were no undergraduate degrees in some fields, such as engineering: students continued to Master's level education without any administrative breakpoints, and employers would not consider half-finished master's degrees.

The Bachelor's phase in The Netherlands can be fulfilled either at university or at the University of Applied Sciences. Except for some specific exceptions, only at universities students are able to graduate for their masters or be promoted. These two institutions differ from each other in the level students learn abstract concepts. Whereas theories are created at the university, at the University of Applied Sciences theories are taught to be applied correctly.[13]

Scottish system

Students in Scotland usually enter university in the year they turn eighteen (with many still being seventeen upon starting), hence courses take an extra year compared to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

At the older universities the degree of Master of Arts is conferred in the arts subjects after four years while the newer universities instead confer the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The degree of Master of Arts conferred by the Ancient Scottish Universities is equivalent to the degree of Bachelor of Arts at other universities and does not require the level of study necessitated for the other degrees of master awarded by these universities. The degree instead reflects the ancient traditions of these universities.[14]

In the sciences, students usually read for the degree of bachelor, which usually takes four years. However, as with the rest of the UK, integrated master's degrees are popular in science and engineering, although in Scotland they last for five years. Degree classification is same as that of the rest of UK

Other European systems

In many other, particularly continental European systems, an "undergraduate" degree in the American sense does not exist. Because students are expected to have received a sound general education at the secondary level, in a school such as a gymnasium or lycee, students in Europe enroll in a specific course of studies they wish to pursue upon entry into a University. In the US, students only specialize in a "major" during the last years of college. Specializing in a field of study upon entry into a university means most students graduate after four to five years of study. The fields available include those only taught as graduate degrees in the US, such as law or medicine.

In the traditional German system, there is a vocational degree (Diploma FH) that is similar in length, and is also considered an academic degree. Though it is designed as a specialist degree, in contrast to the Diplom degree at University, which claims to be more generalist. Germany itself, however, is currently abolishing the legal distinction between Fachhochschule and University. They are both translated as university and they both provide bologna-compliant and equivalent postgraduate degrees.[15]

Not obligatory and sometimes applied at Universities in the Netherlands are the propaedeutic exams. The entire curriculum of the first two semesters of the bachelor's programme is part of the propaedeutic exams. In most bachelor's studies, students are required to obtain their propaedeutic certificate within three semesters after starting the course. A propaedeutic certificate also counts as a requirement for participating in a university level bachelor's study. The propaedeutic exams have the purpose of assessing whether a student has the appropriate capacities in order to complete the course.

At some Swedish universities (such as the Royal Institute of Technology), PhD courses are sometimes referred to as "graduate courses", whereas courses for other students (up to master level) sometimes are referred to as "undergraduate courses". The system at many Finnish universities is similar.

In the French system, the first degree of tertiary education was reached two years after the baccalauréat. Amongst these degrees the university-delivered DEUG has disappeared, whereas Diplôme universitaire de technologie, Brevet de Technicien Supérieur or classe préparatoire aux grandes écoles still exist. According to the Bologna process, this two-year curriculum will be replaced by the three-year licence, yet existing.

See also


  1. ^ "Constituiусo". Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-15. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
  3. ^ "Welcome | Yale College". Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  4. ^ "Brazosport College – Bachelor of Applied Technology (BAT) program". Brazosport College. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  5. ^ "University of Delaware Associate in Arts Program". University of Delaware. 2017. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2010-07-17.
  7. ^ Dr. J.S. Anand (11 March 2014). BEYOND LIFE! BEYOND DEATH!. Partridge Publishing India. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-1-4828-1849-9.
  8. ^ Ganjapure, Vaibhav (2014-10-07). "Only 31% Maharashtra MLAs are graduates, 11% postgraduates". Times of India. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  9. ^ "Diploma courses in Arts, Commerce and Science".
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
  11. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-15. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
  12. ^ "Student finance – GOV.UK". 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  13. ^ "Vereniging Hogescholen | English". Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  15. ^ Ländergemeinsame Strukturvorgaben – Beschluss der Kultusministerkonferenz vom 10.10.2003 i.d.F. vom 15.06.2007
This page was last edited on 25 September 2018, at 15:57
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