U.S.A. Alphabet Soup ala College Degrees

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Written by Anita R. Holtz, Marketing Proofreader

If you don’t know your B.A. from your B.F.A. or B.S.S.W., you’re not alone. Acronyms and abbreviations permeate the collegiate environment and confuse individuals—even college students. Before I take a ladle from the USA alphabet soup, a concise history of where those abbreviations come from is in order.

Our modern classification of academic degrees evolved from European medieval universities. After successful completion of study and examinations, an individual would be granted a Bachelor of Arts (from the Latin baccalaureus, a term to confirm a squire becoming a knight). Further study earned one the Master of Arts (from the Latin magister meaning teacher). The Ph.D., an abbreviation for Doctor of Philosophy, reflected the Renaissance belief that genuine knowledge derived from experience and observation.

Degree designations today are globally diverse but universally applied. Since Church Hill Classics produces its diploma frames in the U.S.A., the alphabet soup will concentrate upon those degrees.

Associates Degree

The Associates degree, the first rung on the degree ladder, is a two-year, 60-semester hour undergraduate designation. Typically, it is awarded via community colleges, junior colleges, and technical institutions.

Bachelor’s Degree
Next is the Bachelor’s degree, a four-year, 120-semester hour award called an undergraduate degree.

Master’s Degree

The Master’s degree is a graduate degree approximately 36 credit hours beyond the Bachelor’s degree.

Doctoral Degree

The Doctoral degree is the highest and most prestigious academic degree. Usually, a Doctoral degree is 60 semester hours beyond the Master’s. It requires a doctoral dissertation, a scholarly treatise which is intended to advance knowledge in the dissertation’s specific field.

Degree Abbreviations

Now, for the fun of the soup!

See whether you can guess what these degree abbreviations designate. Be sure to check your answers toward the bottom of the page.

1. A.A.
2. B.A.M.
3. B.F.A.
4. B.S.E.T.
5. B.S.S.W.
6. M.A.T.
7. M.E.E.
8. M.R.E.D.
9. M.P.H.
10. M.S.C.J.
11. M.S.O.T.
12. M.S.P.A.S.
13. M.U.R.P.
14. Ed.D.
15. J.D.
16. Ph.D.
diploma

Whichever degree you earn, Church Hill Classics, the premier diploma frame company, can enhance and preserve the prestige of your accomplishment with a handsome diploma frame. Look over the elite selection at: www.diplomaframe.com.

UPenn diploma frame
Church Hill Classics’ Masterpiece Medallion Diploma Frame
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Answers: (1) Associate in Arts, (2) Bachelor of Applied Mathematics, (3) Bachelor of Fine Arts, (4) Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology, (5) Bachelor of Science in Social Work, (6) Master of Arts in Teaching, (7) Master of Electrical Engineering, (8) Master of Real Estate Development, (9) Master of Public Health, (10) Master of Science in Criminal Justice, (11) Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, (12) Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, (13) Master of Urban and Regional Planning, (14) Doctor of Education, (15) Doctor of Jurisprudence (Juris Doctor), (16) Doctor of Philosophy.

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