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Undergraduate Degree vs. Graduate Degree: Which One is Right for You?

| 1 minute read

Are you ready to get your college degree but you feel like you have no idea where to begin? Maybe you’re not sure if you should get an undergraduate degree or a graduate degree. Or maybe you are kind of unsure of what the difference between a graduate degree and an undergraduate degree really is.

Don’t worry! You are not alone! There are quite a few people in the exact same boat, and we are here to help you figure out which path is the right one for you.

Let’s get started!

What is the difference between a graduate degree and undergraduate degree?

The TL;DR answer to the above question is: an undergraduate degree is the degree you obtain first. Then you can continue on to a graduate degree.

Let’s break that down.

Undergraduate Degree: There are really two types of undergraduate degrees you can earn. The first type being an associate degree and the second type being a bachelor’s degree.

An associate degree is typically a two-year degree that can be earned at a community college, junior college, or technical college. According to TopUniversities, associate degrees focus on giving students basic technical and academic knowledge and transferable skills.

A bachelor’s degree is a four-year degree that is earned at universities and four-year colleges. Bachelor’s degrees are typically more sought after by employers (over associate degrees) because they show that students have taken a deeper dive into a subject area and are well-rounded learners.

Graduate Degree: This is the next degree you can obtain after getting an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree. Graduate level degrees include three types of degrees: master’s degree, doctorates, and PhDs. A master’s degree would be the typical next step for a student after they have earned their bachelor’s degree and are looking to advance their knowledge in a specific field.

Now that you know the difference between an undergraduate and a graduate degree, let’s find the perfect online degree for you! You can view a list of all of our fully online degrees here. (Yes, that means you never have to come to campus to earn your degree! Ever.)

No matter if you’re looking for an undergraduate degree or a graduate degree (or even a quick certificate) we’ve got a degree for you!


Office of Online Learning

All blog posts are written and maintained by the Office of Online Learning at The University of Southern Mississippi. We provide support to online students, to faculty teaching online courses, and to units seeking to develop, grow, or improve online programs at the University.

For more information, email us at online@usm.edu.