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A Bachelor of Science (Bc., B.S., BS, B Sc, B.Sc. or BSc; less commonly, S.B., SB, or Sc.B. from the Latin Scientiæ Baccalaureus) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years.

Whether a subject is considered a science or an art, can vary between universities. For example, an economics degree may be given as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) by one university but as a B.Sc. by another. Biology, biochemistry, mathematics, physics, chemistry, social science, sport/exercise science, general science, earth science, computer science and the various fields of engineering are almost universally considered to be sciences.

Even in cases of near-unilateral consensus across a country as to whether a subject is a science or an art, there are exceptions. Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service awards Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degrees to all of its undergraduates, although many of them major in humanities-oriented fields such as international history and culture and politics. The London School of Economics offers B.Sc. degrees in practically all subject areas, even those normally associated with arts degrees, while the Oxbridge universities almost exclusively award arts qualifications. In both instances, there are historical and traditional reasons. Northwestern University's School of Communication grants B.Sc. degrees in all of its programs of study, including theater, dance, and radio/television/film.

The first university to admit a student to the degree of Bachelor of Science was the University of London in 1860. Prior to this, science subjects were included in the B.A. bracket, notably in the cases of mathematics, physics, physiology and botany.[1]

International differences[edit]


In Argentina, most university degrees are given as a License on field or discipline and are somewhat equivalent to a combined Bachelor of Science/ Master of Sciences degree. All degrees are specific to a field and usually are 5 to 6 years programs including a 1 to 1.5-year mandatory professional training period which may start only after students completed 70-80% of the courses required, (usually start at the 5th year). For instance besides the courses, Biochemistry (5 years) and Biology (6 years) require 1-2 years hands- on training either in a clinical laboratory plus final exam (for biochemistry) or in a research lab plus a thesis defense (Biology). The degrees are named as "Licensed in <field of study or profession i.e Biology, Biochemistry, Nutrition, Physical Therapy & Kinesiology, etc>. However, the Master degree will require 2-3 more years of specific training/courses plus a written thesis with defense in front of a thesis committee.

Engineering and M.D. degrees are also different and are 6-years programs of specific classes and training starting immediate after high school. No intermediate degrees count towards the admission exam or even exist(except for systems analysts in Information Systems Engineering). MD degrees are complemented with a 3-4 years of Hospital Residence plus 1-2 Specialization training.

Australia, New Zealand and South Africa[edit]

In Australia, the B.Sc. is a three-year degree, offered from first year on. A fourth (Honours) year or a Master of Science (M.Sc.) is then required to progress on to Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) In New Zealand, in some cases the Honours degree comprises an additional postgraduate qualification. In other cases, students with strong performance in their second or third year, are invited to extend their degree to an additional year, with a focus on research, granting access to doctoral programs. In South Africa, the B.Sc. is taken over three years, while the "postgraduate" B.Sc. (Hons) entails an additional year of study. Admission to the honours degree is on the basis of a sufficiently high average in the B.Sc. major; an honours degree is required for M.Sc. level study; and admission to a Doctorate is via the M.Sc.

Britain and Ireland[edit]

Commonly in British Commonwealth countries and Ireland graduands are admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Science after having completed a programme in one or more of the sciences. These programmes may take different lengths of time to complete.

A Bachelor of Science receives the designation B.Sc. or B.S. for a major/pass degree and B.Sc. (Hons) or B.S. (Hons) for an honours degree. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland an honours degree is typically completed over a three-year period, though there are a few intensified two-year courses (with less vacation time). In Scotland, where access to university is possible after one less year of secondary education, degree courses have a foundation year (simply known as the First year) making the total course length four years. In Ireland the former B.Sc. was changed to B.Sc. (Hons.) which is awarded after four years. The B.Sc. (Ord.) is awarded after three years[citation needed]. Formerly at the University of Oxford, the degree of B.Sc. was a postgraduate degree; this former degree, still actively granted, has since been renamed M.Sc.

Canada and United States[edit]

In the United States and Canada, a bachelor's degree in science is generally a four-year [2] undergraduate degree typically used in engineering, computer science, mathematics, economics, and the natural sciences. The University of Saskatchewan has a popular 3 year BSc. program, made popular by a lack of four year degree requirement for its "professional" colleges. This allows a student entering medical or dental school to obtain a "degree" despite not having met the traditional requirements. The popularity of this limited BSc. may change, as the College of Medicine moves to add a formal degree requirement to limit concerns about maturity and poor academic performance. Though, the 3 year degree does offer a quick "out" for programs that would request a degree if they do not specify it should be a full 4 year degree, with senior level courses. In some cases it is used in professional studies of areas involving law, medicine, business, hospitality, nursing, or architecture.[3]

Continental Europe[edit]

Many universities in Europe are changing their systems into the BA/MA system, and in doing so also offering the full equivalent of a B.Sc. or M.Sc. See Bologna Process.

Czech Republic[edit]

Universities in the Czech Republic are changing their systems into the Bachelor of Science / Master of Science system, and in doing so also offering the full equivalent of a B.Sc.(Bc.) or M.Sc. (Mgr./Ing.).


In Germany there are two kinds of universities: Universitäten and Fachhochschulen (which are also called University of Applied Sciences). Universitäten and Fachhochschulen – both also called Hochschulen - are legally equal, but Fachhochschulen have the reputation of being more related to practice.

The BSc in Germany was equivalent to a BSc(Hons). Many universities in German-speaking countries are changing their systems to the BA/MA system, and in doing so also offering the full equivalent of a BSc.

In Germany the BA normally lasts between three and four years (six to eight semesters) and between 180 and 240 ECTS must be earned.


In Brazil, a Bachelor of Science degree is an undergraduate degree and is also more specific, usually containing a one-year mandatory probation period by the end of the course, followed by relatively elaborate written and oral evaluations[citation needed].

Typical completion period[edit]

  Three years
  Four years
  Five years

Three years[edit]

Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia (mostly three years, sometimes four), Czech Republic (mostly three years, sometimes four), Denmark, England (three or four years with a one-year placement in industry), Estonia, Finland, France, Germany (mostly three years, but can be up to four years), Hong Kong (Starting to change to 4 years in 2012), Hungary, Iceland, India (three years B.Sc. in pure sciences excluding engineering and medicine and four years engineering program "Bachelor of Engineering"), Ireland (Ordinary), Israel (for most subjects), Italy, Jamaica (three or four years), Latvia (three or four years), Lebanon (three or four years, five years for Bachelor of Engineering), Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland (Ordinary), Singapore (honours degree takes 4 years), Slovakia, South Africa (honours degree takes 4 years), Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda (mostly three years, sometimes four), United Arab Emirates, Wales and Zimbabwe.

Four years[edit]

Armenia (four or five years), Albania (four or five years), Afghanistan, Azerbaijan (four or five years), Australia (honours degree), Bangladesh (three or four years), Bahrain, Belarus, Belize, Brazil( four to five years ),Brunei, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canada (except Quebec), Cyprus, Egypt (four or five years), Finland (engineering, practice in industry not included), Georgia, Guatemala, Greece (four or five years), India (four years (BS (engineering)), Indonesia, Iran (four or five years), Iran, Iraq, Ireland (Honours Degree), Israel, Japan, Jordan (four to five years), Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Libya, Malawi (four or five years), Malta, Macedonia (three, four or five years), Montenegro (three, four or five years), Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand (honours degree), Nigeria, People's Republic of China, Pakistan (four or five years), the Philippines (four or five years), Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland (Honours Degree), Serbia (three, four or five years), Slovenia (four or five years), South Africa (fourth year is elective - to obtain an Honours degree, which is normally a requirement for selection into a Masters degree programme), Sri Lanka(three four or five(specialised) years), Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Korea Republic, Haiti (three or four years), Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, [4]Yemen, Zambia (four or five years).

Five years[edit]

Cuba (five years), Greece (four or five years), Peru, Argentina, Canada (especially Quebec), Colombia (Starting to change to 4 years), Venezuela, Brazil (five years), Mexico (4.5 years), Chile (usually 5 years where last year includes professional training, thesis and specialization courses), Spain, Egypt (four or five years), Haiti (four or five years).

Nigeria (four to five years), 6 months dedicated to SIWES (Students Industrial Work Exchange Scheme) but for most sciences and all engineering courses only. A semester for project work/thesis not excluding course work during the bachelor thesis. Excluding 1 year for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), para-military and civil service.

Syria, Macedonia and Sierra Leone (four years dedicated to coursework). Slovenia (four or five years), Sudan (five years for BSc honours degree and four years for BSc ordinary degree).

In Algeria, the student presents a thesis in front of a Jury at the end of the fifth year.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ page xiii of The University of London and the World of Learning, 1836–1986 By Francis Michael Longstreth Thompson Published by Continuum International Publishing Group, 1990 ISBN 78-1-85285-032-6
  2. ^ Strickland, Jodie. "PE". Required Credits: Civil, Environmental, Chemical, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering As Reported on the  American Society for Engineering Education Website. NSPE. 
  3. ^ US Department of Education (August 2010). "Bachelor's degrees conferred by degree-granting institutions, by field of study: Selected years, 1970-71 through 2008-09". Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Bachelor Degrees". Sloan. 

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