Undergraduate and Graduate Studies


Undergraduate Studies

student in classWhen starting your first year of university you will be classified as a freshman. Freshman is the first level out of four that you will have as an undergraduate student. As you move from freshman to sophomore to junior to senior, you will still remain an undergraduate. If you are a fulltime student, it usually takes four to five years to complete a bachelor’s degree. The time required depends on how many classes you take every semester.

You can move faster or slower from one category to another by taking more classes per semester. You can do this by either taking additional classes during a regular semester or take summer or winter session classes.

An undergraduate degree requires between 120 and 140 units of credit. One course is usually worth three credits. Some courses might require i.e. laboratory classes which usually count as one additional credit.  To be a fulltime undergraduate student, you need to take 12 units per semester. That is usually equal to four classes. If you do not plan to take any classes in the summer or winter you probably need 15 units or five classes per regular semester to complete a bachelor in four years.


General Education

In Europe and many other parts of the world, students specialize in their chosen field already in the first year. In the U.S., with the exception of professional schools, students do not specialize until the second or third year. Regardless of major, certain classes are mandatory for all undergraduate students. These classes are referred to as general education (GE) subjects. As a freshman and sophomore, a majority of your classes will be GE. As the name applies, these courses include math, biology, American history, and geography.

In many parts of the world, university students often follow a standardized plan with courses already lined out for each field of study. Students in the United States have much greater flexibility in creating their own schedule. For instance, a sophomore business student might take biology, accounting, mathematics, statistics, and physical education during the same semester. Another sophomore student might have a completely different class schedule. This is of course very different from other university systems where student usually with other students at the same level.

One of the benefits of the first two years of general education is that it will give you some time to decide which field to specialize in. One good idea is take one or two classes in the major that you are interested in. By doing this, you will have a better idea if whether or not you will enjoy your major. If you find out that the major is not for you, it is easy to change your concentration to another major without losing time and money.


Graduate Studies

Once you have completed your undergraduate studies and have earned a bachelors degree, you can go on to become a graduate student. A graduate degree such as a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) can usually be completed in two years.

The table below shows the levels and classifications for undergraduate and graduate students.


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