Undergraduate Degree vs. Undergraduate Certificate

What’s the difference between an undergraduate degree and an undergraduate certificate?

Both undergraduate degrees and undergraduate certificates can be obtained by completing coursework at a college or university. The major difference between the two credentials is that an undergraduate certificate is typically granted to students who have completed fewer course credits than those required for an undergraduate degree.

What’s involved with earning an undergraduate degree?

Undergraduate degrees usually require that students complete a set of courses, often known as “core requirements.” These essential classes help develop well-rounded students. For example, an undergraduate student of business may be required to take courses in English composition, philosophy, and history.

Why would I want to get an undergraduate certificate instead of an undergraduate degree?

Many view undergraduate certificates as a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree. A student can focus on specific training and then later on complete all requirements outlined by his or her degree-granting university to earn an undergraduate degree.

Certificates can also serve to show a potential employer that a job candidate possesses competency in coursework relevant to a job. For example, an undergraduate certificate in accounting may demonstrate that a student has successfully completed a set of introductory accounting courses. Certificates are no replacement for an undergraduate degree, but they can appeal to those who are eager to gain and show proof of having practical skills.

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