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The Bachelor ([ ˈbætʃəlɚ ] or [ ˈbætʃlɚ ], also Bakkalaureus or Baccalaureus [m.] Or Bakkalaurea or Baccalaurea [f.]) Is the holder of the lowest academic degree and usually has the first degree of a tiered degree at a university or university. equivalent university , technical college or professional academy . A bachelor's degree program has a standard study period of three to four years (6–8 subject semesters), depending on the type of subject and the educational institution. The Bachelor qualifies for a basic professional activity, a postgraduate master’s degree and, in special exceptional cases, for admission to a doctoral degree (“fast-track doctorate”).

The word baccalaureus differs in its meaning from the word baccalaureatus , which in some countries denotes the one to two-year postgraduate degree Bachelor with Honors (Baccalaureatus cum Honore) .

Word origin

The English word bachelor, originally spelled bacheler , can be found in Middle English from the late 13th century onwards in the meanings "squire, young knight" (first document 1297), "who has obtained the first academic degree at a university" (first document 1362), "Bachelor" (first document 1386) and "young member of a guild" (first document 1390) attested.

It goes back to a developed Romanesque * baccalāris , the origin of which is uncertain. Formally, there is a close relationship with the medieval Latin baccalāria "plow land" and baccalarius "farmhand" or operator of a small farm or manor, which in turn in late Latin bacca (see. Latin vacca go back) "Cow", but the significance of history is difficult. Even a derivation from a Celtic * bakalākos (cf. Old Irish bachlach "shepherd, farmer"), which was already considered incorrect in the 19th century, causes the same semantic problems. For reasons of sound, a return to Welsh bach "small" (Old Celtic * bicc, * becc ) is unsustainable , the derivation from French bas chevalier "lower knight" is questionable. The variant Baccalaureus is a corruption of the Middle Latin academic degree baccalārius, which is based on bacca lauri "berry of laurel " (cf. the plant name laurus nobilis " noble laurel ") and had "the laurel crowned with berries" in mind (cf. poeta laureatus ).

Concept history

The baccalaureate as a term in higher education has been used at the Paris Sorbonne since 1231 , but it must have been used before, because the job of a baccalarius to support the master in supervising younger students and at the same time to further educate himself is already in the early stages Known in both Paris and Bologna in the 12th century.

The scholar of the medieval university originally acquired this title after completing the trivium (grammar, dialectics, rhetoric) of the artist faculty ( baccalarius artium ). After that, the graduate was qualified to become an assistant teacher for scholars of the trivium when he switched to the quadrivium . After further studies of the Quadrivium, the Baccalarius completed the faculty of artists - after having mastered all artes liberales - with the degree of magister artium and was able to enter a higher faculty as magister non regens or as magister regens at the artist faculty (for the baccaularii of the Quadrivium) teach yourself.

In the territory of the German Confederation , the academic degree of the baccalaureate (at this point long known as) disappeared around 1820, since the Matura or the so-called Abitur now served its purpose. In contrast, the higher education entrance qualification is still called baccalauréat in the francophone-speaking area and bachillerato in Spain and Latin America .

Around 1930 there was still the baccalaureus juris (bacc. Jur.) At some universities as a preliminary stage for the doctoral degree .

The figure of a baccalaureate also appears in literature, for example in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust II (verse 6689 ff.). The bachelor's degree is obviously identical to the student from Faust I (verse 1868 ff.); he has now passed his exam and faces Mephistopheles again. On the one hand, it symbolizes the original geniuses of Sturm und Drangs and , on the other hand, the student movement that emerged in the fraternity and the Wartburg Festival after the Wars of Liberation, in which Goethe saw a repetition of Sturm und Drangs in some respects. Goethe sees the young students with a mixture of sympathy and disdain.

Bachelor degree in Europe

Structure, scope and classification

Basic concept

The bachelor's degree is the first academic degree and a professional degree in a multi-level study model. The duration of study that is considered appropriate, binding for support services such as BAföG and misleadingly referred to as the standard period of study is at least three and a maximum of four years.

After the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) are an average of 30 credit points (LP, credit points ) to earn per semester. A bachelor's degree of six semesters results in 180 CP, seven semesters 210 CP and eight semesters 240 CP. There are also intensive courses in which 210 CP are awarded in six semesters, for example at a dual university .

One point corresponds to a student's workload of 30 hours, but at least 25 hours. The German Rectors' Conference (HRK) decided to recommend that one credit point should always be awarded for 30 hours. With 30 credit points per semester, this results in an arithmetical workload of almost 40 hours a week (with six weeks of vacation per year). The workload includes the entire time that the student has to spend studying (e.g. the time for lectures, seminars and exams as well as the time for their preparation and follow-up).

Some bachelor's degree programs are limited to a single subject (so-called single-subject bachelor’s degree or mono -subject ). However, numerous universities offer bachelor's degree programs in which several subjects are taken at the same time. There is often the possibility of completing a so-called two-subject bachelor's degree (consisting of two main subjects). If the graduates are striving for a Master of Education for grammar schools and comprehensive schools or vocational colleges (formerly teaching post for the upper secondary level ) before or during the bachelor’s degree , this type of bachelor’s degree is the basic requirement. However, a subject-specific master’s degree in both subjects can also be added. There are also numerous bachelor's degree programs that combine a major with one or more minor subjects. In Switzerland, the main subjects are also called major and the minor subjects. These terms are not to be confused with the bachelor variants of the same name in the Anglo-American area.

In most German countries you have to have completed a master’s degree if you want to complete your professional training as a trainee lawyer. In such cases, a bachelor's degree does not offer satisfactory prospects in the target occupation (e.g. as a teacher).

Module structure

The courses in Bachelor's degree programs are structured by modules . A module combines one or more courses with a learning objective and is the unit for which credit points are awarded. The aim of the bachelor's degree is to standardize degrees in Europe and thus improve international comparability.

The detailed requirements developed by the federal states as part of the Bologna process are to be guaranteed (in Germany) in particular through the accreditation , which is carried out by special agencies. This external examination of the courses is intended to ensure both formal compatibility with the Bachelor system and the quality of teaching, the teaching staff and the course content. The accreditation agencies are associations, which in turn are accredited by the central accreditation council. The accreditation, which is not legally required in all federal states, often only starts after a new course has been introduced. This often leads to the criticism that the first years of a bachelor's degree are guinea pigs, as the outcome of the accreditation process is uncertain.

Graduation and possible reorientation

With the bachelor's degree, the student acquires a first university degree that is officially regarded as a professional qualification. The bachelor's degree, including that of the university of applied sciences, is also proof of qualification for a subsequent master’s degree , also for a change from the technical college to the university, in which case further qualifications must be acquired. The master’s degree can either continue and deepen the subject of the bachelor’s degree or, in a technical context, expand it across disciplines (consecutive), or change the subject to a master’s degree that does not build on the previous degree (non-consecutive).

Study and job

The aim of introducing a Bachelor's degree in Europe was, in addition to standardization within the EU and a shorter study period, also a stronger practical relevance of the study. Since the possible professional fields in the humanities and social sciences often cannot be clearly delimited, two or three subjects are usually studied and supplemented with content from the area of general studies . In the natural, engineering and economics subjects, a single subject is usually chosen at the beginning.

European and German qualifications framework EQF / DQR

On January 31, 2012, as part of the creation of the European and German Qualifications Framework EQR / DQR , the Bachelor's degree was assigned to level 6 of 8. This means that the bachelor, state-certified technician and master degrees are on the same level. As part of the reform of the Vocational Training Act, the introduction of the additional qualification for professional bachelor's degrees for advanced training qualifications from the IHK and HWK is planned for 2020.

The Association of German Engineers published a position paper on this matter , which shows that the degrees Bachelor, Technician and Master correspond to the same level of competence, but are not the same . According to VDI, the competencies of bachelor graduates, state-certified technicians and masters differ considerably. According to the VDI, the classification of bachelor, technician and master should not be misunderstood in such a way that they could perform the same activities.

Baccalaureus and Bachelor degrees in Germany

In 2003, the Standing Conference (KMK) defined the bachelor's degree in its structural specifications as follows:

"In a system of graded courses of study, the bachelor's degree, as the first professional qualification, is the standard qualification and thus leads to a first professional transition for the majority of students."

According to the German Rectors' Conference (HRK), over 16,000 graded courses (Bachelor / Master) were offered at universities, universities of applied sciences and colleges of art and music in Germany for the 2015/2016 winter semester . They make up around 90% of the courses on offer in Germany. The majority of courses that have not (yet) been converted to Bachelor's / Master's degree come from law and medicine. In addition, some courses with artistic or ecclesiastical degrees are included, as well as teacher training courses in individual countries.

Degree titles

The Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Augsburg was the first university institution in the Federal Republic of Germany to award an academic bachelor's degree in the 1990s as part of the diploma , which was identical in the three fields of study, business administration, economics and socio-economics , long before the bachelor's degree. and Masters courses found their way into the German university landscape. The name of this economic and social science academic training was:

Graduates in economics and social sciences

In the structural specifications from 2003, the KMK stipulated that the following qualifications are to be used in Germany :

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Graduates in social , language , cultural , religious , information and economic sciences
as well as in some areas of theology such as B. religious education
  • Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.)
Graduates of the MINT subjects ( mathematics , computer science , natural and technical or engineering sciences ), economics , psychology and health sciences .
Graduates of law
  • Bachelor of Education (B. Ed.)
Graduates of the teacher training course
Engineering graduates

In addition to the Bachelor of Arts, the following qualifications are also used at art and music colleges :

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
Graduates from the (visual) arts courses
  • Bachelor of Music (B. Mus.)
Graduates of musical courses
  • Bachelor of Musical Arts (BMA)
Opera singing

The abbreviations are often written with points, but especially with the BA they can be omitted as with the former Magister Artium (MA).

The university can also award the qualifications in permissible forms in German (e.g. Bachelor of Science ). However, mixed-language terms are excluded. The graduate must use the title as it was awarded and may not choose another language without authorization. According to DIN 5008 , the designation is written after the name in the correspondence, e.g. Erika Mustermann, BA

The bachelor's degree may not be supplemented by a subject-specific addition or a reference to the type of educational institution that awarded the bachelor's degree (e.g. (FH) or (Univ.) ). The reason for this is that there are no specific requirements for the type of university (e.g. duration of study) and that all universities are subject to the same accreditation requirements. Detailed information on the respective course can be found in the Bachelor certificate, the Bachelor certificate and the Diploma Supplement . For their engineering courses give universities from their academic claim out to differentiate only the internationally established science diplomas, while colleges mostly engineering , but many students now increasingly desired Science awarded diplomas. The same applies to the Bachelor of Education, for which there is no job description.

In its structural specifications from 1999, the KMK had defined a distinction between more theory-oriented (BA and B. Sc.) And more application-oriented (including BBA , Bachelor of Computer Science (BCompSc), BEng, Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA)) degrees which has ceased to exist since the 2003 decision. As a result, subject-specific additions are no longer permitted (e.g. Bachelor of Arts in Economics ). The conversion of the degree designations in already existing study programs may take place within the framework of the accreditation and reaccreditation.

Bachelor degrees from professional academies

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the bachelor's degree can also be obtained at vocational academies . Graduates receive a state qualification instead of an academic degree . In the case of further studies, the respective university decides on the basis of additional examination criteria whether the Berufsakademie graduate can be admitted to a master’s course. With a bachelor's degree from a university ( university or technical college ), however, a master’s degree can definitely be added. In March 2009, the vocational academies in Baden-Württemberg were replaced by the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University . Since these now have the status of a university, all graduates have since received an academic degree.

Comparison with traditional degrees

Most of the bachelor's degree variants basically grant the same authorizations as diploma degrees at universities of applied sciences. In 1999, the KMK explicitly stated that the diploma (FH) corresponds to the three to four-year honors Bachelor widespread at foreign colleges . This Bachelor variant should not be confused with the rarer North American four to five-year university Bachelor with Honors (scientific diploma course), which requires an additional postgraduate year and a diploma thesis and entitles directly to Ph.D. studies without having previously completed a master’s degree and thus corresponds to the traditional diploma / Magister (see below). While the Bachelor's degree should generally be regarded as the first professional qualification, it is not sufficient on its own in courses of study that have previously ended with state exams . Together with the necessary subsequent master’s degree, the duration of the studies is sometimes longer than before.

However, since an essential part of the Bologna Process is the introduction of a multi-level qualification system, which differs fundamentally from the previously used division into basic and advanced studies, a comparison with traditional qualifications is often not possible. The structural differences to the previous system cannot be recorded, so that the public perception of the new qualification in 2008 varied widely and ranged from equating with passing the intermediate diploma to the diploma .

The following figure shows some possible combinations of standard study periods for consecutive Bachelor and Master courses and contrasts them with the traditional diploma:

1 year 2 years 3rd year 4th year 5th year
Bachelor ⇒
6 semesters / 180 ECTS credit points (most common variant)
Consecutive Master’s
4 semesters / 120 ECTS credit points
Bachelor ⇒
7 semesters / 210 ECTS credit points (less common variant)
Cons. Master
3 semesters / 90 ECTS credit points
Bachelor ⇒
8 semesters / 240 ECTS credit points (rare variant)
Cons. Master
2 semesters / 60 ECTS credit points
Vordiplom ⇒ Diploma
approx. 8-10 semesters
Vordiplom ⇒ Diploma (FH)
approx. 8 semesters

Doctorate without a master's degree

Following a proposal by the University Rectors' Conference (HRK), particularly good Bachelor graduates should be given a doctorate without a previous Master’s degree. The German University Association, as the representative of university teachers, is opposed to this possibility. The possibility of taking up a doctorate in Germany after successfully completing a bachelor's degree has not yet been provided for in higher education laws. However, there are talks about further development in this regard.

Bachelor's degree in business schools

Even before the Bologna Process, some, mostly private business schools, i.e. business (university) schools, were established in Germany that offered a bachelor's degree based on the Anglo-Saxon model. The business schools circumvented the lack of state recognition of these degrees according to German higher education law through partnerships with US and English universities, which enabled graduates to acquire the partner university's degree recognized under the respective higher education law through integrated studies abroad. Some of these earlier business schools are now officially recognized as universities in Germany.


According to a study of the University Information System , one in four bachelor students in universities breaks off their studies, and in universities of applied sciences even one in three. The drop-out rate in engineering is considerably higher in the new Bachelor degree programs than in the earlier Diploma degree programs.

This is attributed to the fact that the conversion of engineering courses from diploma to bachelor's degree is often associated with a tightening of time, but not with a corresponding reduction in the subject matter, which necessarily results in a concentration of material.

The drop-out rate is also at a high level for bachelor's degree programs in social, linguistic and cultural sciences as well as in agricultural, forestry and nutritional sciences, but lower than for previous diploma and master’s degree programs.

It is also problematic that the Anglo-Saxon study structure, but not the Anglo-Saxon tutor system, was adopted when the Bologna Process was implemented in Germany .

Many students are also critical of the bachelor's degree, as a survey among students from May 2013 showed. Only 9% are aiming for a Bachelor's degree as the highest academic degree. The majority see it as a station on the way to a higher qualification, such as a master’s degree. In 2016, however, only 55 percent of students in a Bachelor’s degree stated that they wanted to pursue a Master’s degree. 33% of the Bachelor students said they did not feel adequately prepared in terms of their subject. Most often, students asked for more practical relevance.

In the subject of psychology, the bachelor's degree does not entitle to additional therapeutic training; however, there are often not enough master’s places available for all interested parties.

Bachelor degree in Austria

In Austria the bachelor's degree was until May 2007 Bachelor called the graduate was the Bachelor or the Bakkalaurea (both abbreviated Bakk. ). In cycle degree programs that are set up from the beginning of the winter semester 2006/2007, which will in future bachelor instead of bachelor awarded (amendment to the University Studies Act 2002, BGBl. I no. 74/2006). The previous bachelor's degree programs can, however, continue to be completed with the bachelor's degree.

According to Section 54 of the University Act 2002, Bachelor's degree programs must have a workload of 180 ECTS credit points .

Degree titles according to today's Bachelor system (B.)

In Austria, among others, following designations are used:

  • Bachelor ( BA ) for the individual Bachelor's degree (according to § 55 UG)
  • Bachelor of Arts ( BA or BA )
  • Bachelor of Science ( B. Sc. Or BSc )
  • Bachelor of Laws ( LL. B. )
  • Bachelor of Education ( B. Ed. )
  • Bachelor of Engineering ( B. Eng. )
  • Bachelor of Statistics ( B. Stat. )
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering ( B. Sc. Or BSc )
  • Bachelor of Theology ( BTh )
  • Bachelor of Philosophy ( B. phil. )
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing ( BScN )

Bachelor degree until 2007 (Bachelor)

The bachelor's degrees in Austria were:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Arts. ( Bakk. Art. )
  • Bachelor of Science in Science. ( Bakk. Rer. Nat. )
  • Bachelor of Science in Social and Economic Sciences. ( Bakk. Rer. Soc. Oec. )
  • Bachelor of Science in Philosophy. ( Bakk. Phil. )
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering. ( Bakk. Techn. )
  • Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies. ( Bakk. Come. )

These degrees are listed after the name.

Bachelor's degree in other European countries


In Belgium , bachelier again denotes the academic bachelor's degree (this title replaces the old baccalauréat ).


In France , the qualification is called a license . The English name there is a risk of confusion with the baccalauréat , which corresponds to the Abitur or Matura; In addition, license is the naturalized term for a university degree with a Bac + 3 level (a degree that is obtained three years after graduation , i.e. after three years of study).


In Italy , the bachelor's degree is called Laurea di 1 ° level .


In Poland , the bachelor's degree is called licencjat . It can be acquired after three years of study.


In Sweden , courses at Bachelor level existed before the start of the Bologna process, see candidate exams .


The equivalent of the bachelor's degree in Spain is called Título de grado , as here, like in France, the bachelor's degree (bachillerato) already existed as the name for the graduation of secondary school.

United Kingdom

In the UK , the Bachelor’s degree has traditionally been the standard qualifying degree for an academic career. Most of the time, the bachelor's degree takes three to four years, is highly structured and specialized. Four-year bachelor's degree programs are almost without exception offered in application-related subjects; the curriculum of these so-called sandwich courses includes a year of practical experience.

The universities of Oxford , Cambridge and Dublin , which is based on the British model, represent a special case , where the completion of a Bachelor of Arts (BA), which is a three-year bachelor's degree, after a waiting period without further academic achievements or exams to a Master of Arts (MA) is converted. However, this is just a terminological peculiarity with no difference in the matter, so this degree is treated like a Bachelor in applications for jobs and other courses of study. In addition, these universities also have real master’s programs (i.e. those that require a previous Bachelor’s degree), which then lead to degrees such as Master of Science and are therefore terminologically differentiated from a converted Bachelor’s degree. Overall, only 12 percent of Bachelor graduates in Great Britain go straight to a Master’s degree. The master’s degree itself can qualify for a professional career; alternatively, graduates can opt for a so-called research master .

In historical retrospect, the honors academic system was introduced in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1918 and subsequently adopted by numerous other Commonwealth countries. The bachelor's degree below the performance assessment third class honors is also referred to as a non-honors pass (i.e. worst performance). However, since only a small minority of students complete their bachelor's degree as a non-honors pass, the abbreviation for the academic degree is often followed by “(Hon)” or “(Hons)” as an indication that one of the four above honors -Awards is meant. An Honors Bachelor differs from the academic degree Bachelor with Honors or Bachelor (Honors) , in Australia , Canada , New Zealand and South Africa will be awarded to students who a consecutive post-bachelor degree program ( Thesis abschlossen) with a duration of one to two years .

The Bachelor of Divinity (Hons) from the Scottish universities of St. Andrews, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh is equivalent to a Masters degree.

Bachelor's degree in North America


In Canada , you can either achieve a bachelor's degree (minor / general) after completing a three-year course at a college or less often at a university, or a university major , specialization or honors bachelor's degree with a Study duration of four years. Bachelor theses are called paper, term paper or essay and are not common in all courses. The traditional consecutive Bachelor with Honors degree (Baccalaureatus Cum Honore degree) is also rarely offered, which is achieved after a previous Bachelor degree in the same subject, with a study period of one to two years at a university. It is achieved by completing courses and writing a lengthy academic thesis ( honors seminar thesis ). The Baccalaureatus Cum Honore is an admission requirement for two to three-year very high research master’s courses or for simple Ph.D. courses . Similar to the traditional Magister / Diplom in Germany or the postgraduate Bachelor with Honors in Australia, this school model has increasingly become obsolete and has now largely been replaced by shorter, consecutive Master’s variants.

United States

In the USA, 33.1% of those over 24 have a bachelor's degree, possibly supplemented by an even higher degree based on it. The proportion varies greatly from region to region. In some places, such as B. Wellesley near Boston , it is more than 80%.

A classic college degree ( undergraduate degree , bachelor's degree) in the United States is intended to provide a professional qualification as well as democratic and civic education. The course lasts four years, whereby the first one and a half years are often very broad in terms of subject (general studies). That is why the specialization in the actual main subject often only takes place in the middle of the second year of study. In some subjects, such as B. Architecture , the course takes five years. A bachelor's degree in the USA traditionally means less subject-specific definition than in Europe. There is greater permeability both between the disciplines and between science and practice. Master’s courses are scientifically oriented and usually run for two years; they are organized in university graduate schools.

Bachelor's Degree in the Commonwealth


In Australia , Canada , New Zealand and South Africa , after the regular Bachelor in good to very good performances ( "Upper Second Class Honors"; "First Class Honors ) or excellence ( First Class Honors and the University Medal ) to study the Bachelor with Honors or Bachelor (Honors) are accepted. This at least two semester full-time course requires courses, a longer scientific thesis ( thesis ) of 20,000 words and a final examination. It can also be recognized as the first year of the Masters. A good degree enables a longer research-intensive Master's Studied at a top research institution and entitles you to do a doctorate directly .

Honors Degree (distinction)

In 1918, the term honors was incorporated into the UK academic system and distributed, which is still used today with the grade evaluation variants first class honors degree, second class honors degree, third class honors degree and, for correspondingly poor academic performance, pass degree . Thus, the vast majority of Bachelor degrees in the UK are Honors Bachelor degrees. The system was adopted by many Commonwealth countries. In many places, the bachelor's degree programs are therefore also referred to or offered with these honors degree variants.

The Honors Bachelor is not an academic degree , but the name for a bachelor's degree that can be completed with a certain grade with a corresponding grade (level of honors degree). Relevant graduates therefore often add (Hon) or (Hons) after their Bachelor abbreviation in brackets in order not to give the impression that their Bachelor may have been completed with a very poor grade. If a student does not achieve an honors degree , the bachelor's degree can be obtained without this distinction (also known as a pass degree ).

Such an Honors Bachelor differs from the rare Bachelor with Honors or Bachelor (Honors) degree that is awarded in some Commonwealth countries. This is acquired in one to two years after an honors bachelor's degree, comparable to the last two regular semesters of a traditional European licentiate , diploma or master’s degree.

Bachelor with Honors (academic degree)

The rare consecutive Bachelor with Honors ( baccalaureatus cum honore ) or Bachelor (Honors) degree is awarded by universities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the USA. The entry requirement for a Bachelor-with-Honors degree course is always a special, research-oriented Honors Bachelor or Bachelor degree with a very good grade.

The standard period of study for this diploma course is at least one, at most two years, depending on whether the diploma thesis is completed in the first or second year of study. As a rule, the total standard period of study for this consecutive course (Bachelor + Baccalauret from Cum Honore) must not exceed five years. The Bachelor-with-Honors degree entitles directly to PhD studies and is a prerequisite for admission to a two- to three-year research-intensive Master’s degree at a top international university . The traditional licentiate, diploma and master’s degrees awarded in Europe are considered equivalent to the academic degree Bachelor with Honors in most Commonwealth countries.

The content of the diploma course builds on a previous bachelor's degree. The systems of the countries listed differ in terms of time and scope of services. The study in Australia lasts one to two years and contains a lengthy written research of 20,000 words. In New Zealand, on the other hand, the creation of a less extensive research paper within the one-year diploma study can be done voluntarily within the course work or, depending on the requirements, also afterwards. In terms of content, the honors course also includes a primarily scientifically oriented deepening of the previous Bachelor course contents. All degrees can be recognized as the first master's year. In South Africa, the principle applies that a master’s degree can only be started after four years of study. Therefore, a one-year honors degree is added to the three-year degree programs by students in order to guarantee the required admission.

Award versus academic degree

Academic degrees may only be used in the Commonwealth of Nations in the form that is stipulated in the award certificate (usually separated from the rest of the text and in one line). For example, “the degree of BACHELOR OF ARTS with first class honors” or “BACCALAUREATUS IN ARTIBUS CUM HONORE summa cum laude” in the case of an honors award can be stated in the document text. In order to avoid confusion in documents, in Canada and the USA only the Diplom -grad Bachelor with Honors / Baccalaureatus Cum Honore may be used in the abbreviation without brackets (e.g. A. hons , BA hon. Or BSc hons. ) , however, an honors degree (Honors Degree) may only be given in brackets after the Bachelor abbreviation (e.g. BA (Hon) or (Hons) ). In Australia, on the other hand, the academic Bachelor with Honors degree de jure is also shown in the abbreviation in brackets (e.g. A. (Hons) ), which is why it is not permitted there to place an honors award with the same or a similar name after a classic Bachelor -Grad to cite. Both correspondence regulations serve to avoid the impression that someone who has achieved a classic Honors Bachelor's degree has subsequently also acquired the consecutive academic degree Baccalaureatus Cum Honore or Bachelor (Honors).

In Germany , too, there are - albeit only very rarely - the academic degree Bachelor Honors . The corresponding examination regulations provide for a two-semester diploma course (with a scope of 60 ECTS points) after a previous bachelor’s degree (180 ECTS points). This Bachelor Honors degree is equivalent to the traditional Diplom degree. (See also the Official Bulletin, Examination Regulations of the University of Hanover 5/2002 according to § 2, Paragraph 2 and §§ 25–30.) The German diploma degree is, as in Canada, de jure also in the abbreviation without brackets awarded or . led (e.g. BA hon. ). This can avoid confusion in documents, at least with the numerous European and North American honors degree awards, which are often given by students in brackets after the bachelor's abbreviation.


  • Bologna-Readers I and II: Texts and assistance for the implementation of the goals of the Bologna Process at German universities . Published by the German Rectors' Conference. (PDF files: B.-R. I, 2004 ( Memento from June 2, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) 3.73 MB; B.-R. II, 2007 , 3.16 MB)
  • Alexandra Kertz-Welzel : Motivation for further training: Masters and Bachelor degrees in the USA. In: Discussion of music education. No. 29. 2006, pp. 33-35.
  • Georg Bollenbeck (Ed.): The Bologna Process and the Change in the University Landscape . Synchron, Heidelberg 2007, ISBN 978-3-939381-04-4 .
  • European University Association: EUA Bologna handbook. “Making Bologna Work”. basic edition including CD-ROM. J. Raabe, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-8183-0209-2 .
  • Hans Joachim Meyer: The academic degrees in the English-speaking area and the German concept of science. In: Thoughts. Journal of the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig . Issue 6, 2011, pp. 23–43. ISSN  1867-6413 digitized

Web links

Wiktionary: Bachelor  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. except in the USA and Canada → Associate of Arts
  2. ^ University of Düsseldorf: Fast-Track PhD. Retrieved August 4, 2019 .
  3. a b c d e f The Oxford English Dictionary . 2nd Edition. Volume 1. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1989, p. 855.
  4. a b c d The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Edited by C. T. Onions . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1966 (with numerous, partly corrected new editions), article bachelor .
  5. ^ Walter W. Skeat : The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology. Wordsworth Editions, Ware (Hertfordshire) (1884) 1993 (several reprints), ISBN 1-85326-311-7 , pp. 25 f.
  6. ^ Lexikon des Mittelalters (1999), Volume 1, p. 1323, entry "Baccalarius".
  7. ^ Konrad Rückbrod: University and College, Building History and Building Type . Darmstadt 1977, ISBN 3-534-07634-6 , pp. 9-33.
  8. ^ Hans Joachim Meyer: The academic degrees in the English-speaking area and the German concept of science. In: Thoughts. Journal of the Saxon Academy of Sciences. Issue 6, 2011.
  9. Section 19 (2) HRG
  10. Bologna-Reader of the Hochschulrektorkonferenz ( Memento of June 2, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) p. 92. (PDF)
  11. Master of Education - The master of teaching . In: abi. your path to study and work. Volume 41, 2017. H. 2, p. 19.
  12. Annual Report 2008 , (pdf; 539 kB)
  13. VDI on the German Qualifications Framework April 2012 , (pdf; 50 kB)
  14. a b c d e f Common structural specifications / resolution of the Standing Conference of October 10, 2003 i. d. F. of September 18, 2008 (PDF file; 36 kB), KMK
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