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How Many Credits Do You Need to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree?

How many credits a student needs for a bachelor’s degree depends on multiple factors. What college or university you choose to attend, as well as what your field of study is, usually determines how many credits are needed for a bachelor’s degree. Let’s look into what you need to know about bachelor’s degrees and credits needed to earn one!

What is a bachelor’s degree?

A bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate degree that typically takes four years to complete. Some people are able to complete it in a shorter amount of time, and others take a bit more than four years. 

Bachelor’s degrees prepare students for the type of knowledge needed for the real world once they graduate and move onto their chosen careers. This is why students must choose a major during their time completing their undergraduate degree. 

There are also several types of bachelor’s degrees that a student can attain, depending on what career path they choose to take. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science are two of the most popular bachelor degrees. Usually, a bachelor’s degree requires students to earn 120 college credits. 

What are college credits?

College credits are the system used by colleges and universities to track how much time you have spent learning certain subjects– from your general education requirements to your specialty (or your major). 

Some colleges will say that one credit hour is equal to one hour in class a week, and two hours of homework, which can be true for many people. But, some classes meet for longer than an hour a week, so this formula varies. Most college courses meet for a total of 9 hours a week for an entire semester. This is normally three credit hours. 

Also see: Why should I earn college credit in high school?

How many credits do you need to complete your bachelor’s degree?

In general, bachelor’s degree programs require that students complete 120 credits to graduate. Most students will actually take more than 120 credit hours because they may choose to pick up a second major or start a minor or certificate. This evens out to about 40 classes over the course of four years as a fulltime student. This may seem a lot now, but if you are averaging at five classes a semester, this is normal, and it doesn’t feel like much when you are experiencing it hands on. 

Some colleges and universities may also require students to complete an internship program prior to graduation. These programs usually  count for college credit as well, depending on the school.  

Final thoughts for students

Although this may seem like it is very cut and dry, there are so many variations of these rules when it comes to each college. For example, you may already have some college credits coming into college from high school. you took Advanced Placement (AP) classes, College Credit Plus, or International Baccalaureate (IB), all of which may carry over to some sort of college credit. This can be beneficial so that you can give yourself the opportunity to finish your degree early. 

Additional resources

At Scholarships360, we understand that the college admissions process can be challenging, so let us take some weight off of your shoulders! We have so many resources right at your fingertips, from our scholarship database to tips on writing your college admissions essays. Good luck!

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