Academic Degree Level

Diploma or Certificate—an academic program of study that is completed in more than 350 hours, is less than a bachelor's degree; but does not lead to an associate degree. A formal diploma or certificate is awarded at the completion of study.

Associate Degree—an award that normally requires at least two but less than four years of full-time equivalent college-level work.

Bachelor's Degree—an award (baccalaureate) that normally requires at least four but not more than five years of full-time equivalent college-level work. Also includes bachelor's degrees in which the normal four years of work are completed in three years.

Master's Degree—an award that requires the successful completion of a program of study of generally one or two full-time academic years of work beyond the bachelor's degree. Some of these degrees, such as those in Theology (M.Div., M.H.L./Rav) that were formerly classified as "first professional," may require more than two full-time academic years of work.

Doctor's Degree - research/scholarship—a Ph.D. or other doctor's degree that requires advanced work beyond the master's level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research, or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement. Some examples of this type of degree may include Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Public Health (D.P.H.), and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

Doctor's Degree - professional practice—a doctor's degree that is conferred upon completion of a program providing the knowledge and skills for the recognition, credential, or license required for professional practice. The degree is awarded after a period of study such that the total time to the degree, including both pre-professional and professional preparation, equals at least six full-time academic years. Degrees may include the following:

  • Chiropractic
  • Dentistry
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Optometry
  • Osteopathic Medicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Podiatry
  • Veterinary Medicine

The following three levels are included because private schools and out-of-state training firms that offer occupational programs in Minnesota must be licensed by the Office of Higher Education if the school promises, makes reference to, or advertises preparation for gainful employment upon completion of one of its programs. The training may not fit into the traditional academic award granting categories listed above.

Cooperative degree with another institution—the institution provides training that leads to an academic award, but the award is granted by another post-secondary institution. The institution meets other requirements for licensure or registration in Minnesota.

Professional development courses—the institution offers training that is professional development in nature. The institution meets other requirements for licensure or registration in Minnesota.

Short-term training—the training or program offered is below 350 hours or less in length or is not traditionally academic in nature. A diploma, certificate or letter of completion may be awarded upon completion of study.

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