This Is When Can You Be Called a Graduate: With Requirements

Who Is Called a Graduate?

Parents are proud when their kids get through their studies. Graduation, after all, allows people to land good jobs.

Who is called a graduate? When used as a noun, “graduate” means a student who has completed the requirements but has not yet received the award. When utilized as a verb, it means a student recognized by a university who has passed a degree’s requirements.

There are four major degree levels that I will discuss in this article. Learn more about them as you read on.

Associate Degree

Associate degrees are acquired from a junior college, community school, or technical school. Several of these schools provide online associate degree programs as well.

If you wish to achieve an associate degree, you first have to earn about 60 credits. This can be accomplished by committing to two years of full-time study.

This type of degree will mold you for technical and entry-level roles or to pass to a bachelor’s degree. Students often choose an associate degree because this saves them more time and money than a bachelor’s degree.

This degree is often used as the first step toward a bachelor’s degree. You can transfer credits from an associate degree toward the core, general education, and elective classes for the four-year degree.

Associate Degree Admission Requirements

Admission into college associate degree programs will require a high school diploma or equivalent. Universities and colleges will also expect students to obtain a specific minimum GPA and complete the state’s pre-college curriculum.

Candidates without college credit will also need SAT or ACT scores. Other admission materials include writing samples, personal statements, and letters of recommendation. Departments will also expect candidates to fill out the FAFSA.

Associate Degree Requirements

Because an associate degree requires 60 credits, students have to complete only two years of full-time studies. These credits include general education coursework in English, social and natural sciences, and mathematics.

Associate students can also take classes in public speaking and computers. Schools may require college introduction classes that familiarize students with higher education.

Aside from the usual exams and projects, some programs require field experiences, labs, clinicals, internships, or practicums.

The school will insist on a minimum GPA to qualify for graduation.

Careers for Individuals With an Associate Degree

Associate degrees can qualify students to apply for entry-level careers in education, healthcare, and public service. For example, preschool teachers need only an associate degree to qualify for the job.

In some cases, an associate degree can be the key to increased pay and more career selections.

Bachelor’s Degree

A baccalaureate degree refers to an undergraduate degree usually offered by accredited four-year schools. While an associate degree requires only 60 credits for one to be called a graduate, a bachelor’s degree requires 120 credits. These credits usually require four to six years of study for an average full-time student.

This degree is available in a vast range of academic fields. A bachelor’s degree is given to a student who has completed general education focusing on a specific major. A bachelor’s degree is the key to a wider range of opportunities.

Students obtaining a bachelor’s degree study a specific subject, such as accountancy, economics, or biology. These degrees prepare students for whatever field they wish to pursue.

A bachelor’s degree, being that it requires four to six years of studying, costs more than an associate degree.

Some students prefer working before attending college for a bachelor’s degree, whereas others choose to earn an associate degree before taking up a college degree.

Bachelor’s Degree Admission Requirements

To apply for a bachelor’s degree, candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Most colleges also have a minimum GPA requirement for admission. Applicants must submit standardized scores such as ACT or SAT scores, and recommendation letters from their previous school.

Depending on the area of study, other programs will require added requirements.

Bachelor’s Degree Requirements

Most bachelor’s degrees require around 120 credits, usually taking anywhere from four to six years of study.

While some learners take general courses and major-related courses during freshman year, some do not decide on a major until sophomore year. In the last two years, students will focus on advanced major courses.

Certain bachelor’s degree programs require students to participate in practicums or internships to gain field experience. This often culminates in a capstone course or research project.

Undergraduate degrees may require a thesis but not to the extent of a master’s or doctoral thesis.

Careers With a Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree grants access to better and more stable jobs. Depending on the student’s major, this degree will expand job prospects and qualify graduates for in-demand careers.

After finishing a bachelor’s degree, a student can either explore job opportunities or continue to a higher degree.

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree is an advanced graduate degree that shows a high mastery level in a specific subject area. This degree will demand the completion of credits between 20 and 60. This usually requires one to two years of commitment.

A student may pursue a master’s degree to access an even wider range of opportunities in a certain field. This degree provides additional earning potential or creates a more appealing candidate for a job.

Several leadership roles require a master’s degree as their minimum qualification for employment. A master’s degree is a must-have to qualify for teaching positions in public schools in most states.

As a graduate student, you must improve your knowledge and technical skills in your specialized areas.

Master’s Degree Admission Requirements

To be a candidate for a master’s degree, you will need a bachelor’s degree. Other programs require any related bachelor’s degree, but others accept applicants from any discipline.

To be a candidate, you must also possess the required minimum undergraduate GPA or the prerequisite coursework.

Some of the requirements include standardized test scores, such as the GMAT or GRE, industry certifications, and professional experience. Master’s programs will also require letters of recommendation, writing samples, personal statements, resumes, or CVs.

Master’s Degree Requirements

The requirements will vary by program. Several master’s degree programs require a thesis completion.

Unit requirements will also vary by school, but usually 30-60 credits are required. Additional master’s requirements may include a portfolio, final exams, projects, and a minimum GPA to graduate. 

Careers With a Master’s Degree

Most senior jobs require a master’s degree, and your advanced degree will let you apply for entry-level jobs in your chosen field. Your degree will help you land better and higher-paying jobs with greater growth opportunities.

Doctoral Degree

The highest degree that can be attained in education is a doctoral degree. Doctorates can be applied to research-based degrees and usually attract students who hold master’s degrees.

Also, a doctor of philosophy degree, or Ph.D., emphasizes research. Learners in Ph.D. programs spend their time conducting studies and research projects.

Applied doctorates, such as a Juris doctor or doctor of pharmacy, emphasizes the practical application of knowledge and skills. These degrees typically include a research component.

Some fields have a master’s degree, but most fields offer doctorates. Individuals who choose to pursue a doctorate are those who want to narrow their academic focus and expand their skills and knowledge in their chosen field.

Doctoral Degree Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for doctoral degree programs vary by field. Many programs have almost the same requirements:

Curriculum Vitae or simply CV: A resume for academic achievements and life works. This includes scholarly publications and degrees.

Recommendation Letters: At least three letters from professional references who can describe the applicant’s academic history and work in the field.

Statement of Purpose: A letter from the applicant, providing an outline of professional and academic goals. This statement explains how the program will help them reach their goals.

To qualify for a doctoral degree, the applicant must have a strong academic history, a high GPA, and competitive scores on standardized tests. Programs under doctoral degrees will also require supplementary materials, such as course prerequisites.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Similar to admission requirements, the degree requirements will vary by program. Each degree demands specific coursework and possibly applied professional degrees. Fieldwork, residencies, or internships are also a requirement.

Students under this program must complete culminating projects, such as a dissertation and comprehensive examinations. In several cases, learners must pass the exam before completing dissertations.

A dissertation is not needed for any professional doctoral degrees. However, they will culminate in practice-based internships or residencies in the chosen field.

Some will also require internship or assistantship completion to allow students to gain professional experience before graduation.

Careers With a Doctoral Degree

Because the highest degree that can be attained in education is a doctoral degree, having one will lead the graduate to a pathway of extreme career advancement. Holding a doctorate will give the holder the privilege of increased salary demand and leadership credentials.

Both applied, and doctorate programs will prepare students to serve as experts in their chosen fields. A wide variety of high-paying job opportunities are available to a doctoral degree graduate.


A learner is called a graduate once he/she has earned a degree at a college or university. A degree means a person has reached a certain level of mastery. Degree completion creates better job opportunities, salary potentials, and advancements.

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