There are several significant differences between a Bachelor’s vs. Master’s Degree. Master’s degrees take 1-3 years to complete, normally, while bachelor’s take 4 years of full-time study. A Bachelor’s degree is frequently required for enrollment in Master’s degree programs.

But there are even more distinctions. There are several additional crucial differences between a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree that should not be overlooked. 

A Bachelor’s degree may be all you need to get started in your desired career field but a Master’s degree can help you stand out from the competition and potentially earn a higher salary. So, what is the difference between these two types of degrees? Read on to find out!

A bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate degree in which you study a subject of your choice at an academic institution. Normally, it takes 4 to 5 years to finish a Bachelor’s degree, which has 120 to 130 semester credit hours.

The following Bachelor’s degrees are the most common:

  • Bachelor’s in Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor’s degree in Science (BS)
  • Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN)

In general, a BA emphasizes the humanities whereas a BS focuses on science and math. This is the main distinction between the two degrees.

After earning your Bachelor’s degree, you can consider continuing your higher education journey with a Master’s degree. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), obtaining a Master’s degree is most commonly done to increase income, change careers, or follow a passion.

The following are typical Master’s degrees:

A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is offered by some graduate programs for persons who want to teach literature, studio art, or other fine arts. To earn a master’s degree, you ideally should earn between 33 and 60 credits. The following courses call for approximately 30-36 credit hours:

  • Master’s in Communication
  • Master’s in Finance
  • Master’s in Applied Economics
  • Master’s in Psychology
  • Master’s in Curriculum
  • Master’s in English

The duration of an MBA program varies. Some are only 30 credits long and can be finished in a single academic year. The range of credits is greatly influenced by the academic backgrounds of the pupils. You may need fewer credits to get your Master’s degree if you already have undergraduate credits in business.

A Bachelor’s and Master’s degree have different depth of study of the topics but the value, credit hours, and job prospects are also different. Let’s explore these differences in detail. 


Both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees provide a variety of possibilities for what you can study in the classroom. The coursework’s emphasis is where there is the most variation, though.

Bachelor’s programs have “general education” requirements. No matter the major a student chooses, they have a set of required core classes, such as writing, humanities (history, culture, etc), some science/math courses, and usually a foreign language.

The focus of the coursework in a Master’s program is completely on the area of your degree. The courses in the program are devoted to covering your specialized topic.

Admission Requirements

The entrance criteria are arguably one of the most obvious differences between Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. The majority of Master’s programs require a Bachelor’s degree. To enter a Master’s program, you must first complete a Bachelor’s degree if you haven’t already.

For admission to a Master’s program, you will also need to satisfy additional entrance criteria that can include letters of recommendation, essay responses, a resume, and a minimum undergraduate GPA.

Credits hours

The number of credits needed for each program is another distinction between a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree.

To graduate with a Bachelor’s degree, a larger number of credits is needed. This usually entails 120 credits. You can transfer credits earned elsewhere to use toward your Bachelor’s degree at some institutes. To make sure you’re on track to graduate, your academic advisor can guide you through obtaining all the credits you need.

Fewer credits are needed to obtain a Master’s degree. For instance, some universities require 38 credits to obtain an MBA while only 33 credits are needed to get an M.A. 

Academic rigor

It should come as no surprise that the amount of academic work increases as you advance in academic degrees. Consequently, a Master’s degree will likely be more demanding intellectually than a Bachelor’s degree.

However, don’t let the level of difficulty deter you. You are more likely to enter a Master’s program with practical knowledge and expertise that will enhance your educational process. 

Funding options

A Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree are funded differently, and this is also true of the amount you can get to pursue your degree. Scholarships and other financial aid are more commonly awarded for Bachelor’s degree programs than Master’s programs. 

Whether you are entering an undergraduate or graduate program, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Help (FAFSA) in order to be considered for aid, although the amounts available can vary.

Receiving financial help may be a rather simple process for Bachelor’s students. A need-based award determined by the data on your FAFSA, the Pell Grant, may be available to undergraduate students. Additionally, Bachelor’s students are qualified for subsidized loans.

Finding financial help is easy for Master’s students. You might be able to uncover funding options while searching the institutes that offer merit-based scholarships.

Employment potential

The workforce is another place where a Master’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree differ significantly. According to HE Graduate Outcomes Data, Master’s degree holders have weekly earnings that are 18% greater than those of Bachelor’s degree holders. The unemployment rate for Master’s degree holders is 4.1% as opposed to 5.5% for Bachelor’s degree holders.

You may be better prepared to apply for that job you’ve been considering if you advance in your schooling. In fact, whereas formerly they only required a Bachelor’s, 33% of firms now expect applicants to possess a Master’s degree. 

Which Option Is the Best for You?

Both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree can lead to excellent learning experiences and professional prospects. A Master’s degree could be helpful for you to obtain if it fits with your personal objectives and is necessary for your line of work.

The good news is that you can enroll in a Master’s degree program at any time after receiving your Bachelor’s, whether you choose to take a few months off or start classes 10 years later.

A Master’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree are both important milestones in one’s professional growth. The distinction is between where you are now and where you aspire to be. If you want to plan your career ahead of time, you can set your goals to finish just a bachelor’s, or you may aspire to go all the way through to getting your master’s degree. 

If you want to learn the basics of an industry, start with the Bachelor program and focus on grabbing the principal concepts of the field. If you are looking to advance your skill set, a Master’s program is the way to go. So, understand the differences between a Bachelor’s vs. Master’s Degree and finalize your career path now!