Types of Degrees

Professor speaks to his class in language lab, CAS
Professor Scott Hartley, wearing protective glasses, talks with students in the lab, CAS

According to the Ohio Department of Higher Education, an academic degree is defined as “any recognition or award for completion of a prescribed course of study in an institution of higher education designated by the customary titles of associate, bachelor, master, specialist or doctor."

Miami University offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

Associate Degree

An award that requires completion of at least 62 semester credit hours. Six of the last ten credit hours must come from Miami, except for the Associate in Arts which requires 31 of the 62 hours from any Miami division. All associate degrees must have student learning outcomes and an ongoing plan for assessing them.

  • Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees are designed for students wishing to complete the first two years of a bachelor’s degree, as well as those desiring two years of a liberal arts education.
  • Associate of Applied Business and Associate of Applied Science degrees are awarded in recognition of successful completion of career technical education programs and prepare student for immediate employment upon graduation. The curricula for applied associate’s degree programs are described in terms of technical and non-technical studies. Non-technical studies include general education and courses that serve as a base for the technical field (sometimes referred to as “applied general education” or “basic” coursework). Non-technical studies should make up approximately 50% of the curriculum.
  • Associate of Technical Study degrees are awarded for successful completion of an individually planned program of study designed to respond to the need for specialized technical education not currently available in the formal degree programs available on a particular campus. The program must have an area of concentration which is equivalent to at least 30 semester credit hours in technical studies and a clearly identifiable career objective.

Bachelor’s Degree 

An award that requires completion of at least 124 semester credit hours; bachelor’s degree programs do not normally exceed 124 semester credit hours unless the additional coursework is required to meet professional accreditation or licensing requirements. The degree includes fulfillment of liberal education, divisional and major requirements.

At least 31 of the credit hours must be from Miami University, including 12 of the final 20 hours required for the bachelor’s degree. If students are enrolled in an arts-professional arrangement program, in which they transfer to another university after three years, you must earn 96 Miami credit hours in the College of Arts and Science of Miami University.

  • Bachelor’s degrees may be awarded for general areas of study, such as those recognized by the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degrees or in specialized professional and technical fields such as these recognized by the Bachelor of Fine Arts.
  • Although bachelor’s degrees require completion of a specified number of credit hours, the length of the program can vary.
  • Bachelor of Science degree programs include more technical coursework, typically focusing on education, science and health, technology, engineering or mathematics.
  • All bachelor’s degrees must have student learning outcomes and an ongoing plan for assessing them.

Master’s Degree

An award that requires the successful completion at least 30 semester credit hours. Master’s degrees such as the Master of Arts and the Master of Science are typically considered research graduate degrees, and involve six to 12 credit hours of research to discover new knowledge. Some departments offer a thesis-type master’s program, while others offer a course-type program. Master’s degrees may also recognize preparation for professional practice.

Examples of professional practice master’s degrees include the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the Master of Social Work (MSW). All master’s degrees must have student learning outcomes and an ongoing plan for assessing them.

Doctoral Degree

The highest award a student can earn for graduate study. Each doctoral degree program has different requirements.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is typically considered a research degree and involves preparation for the conduct of independent research and the discovery of new knowledge. Miami University offers the Doctor of Philosophy in the departments of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Educational Leadership, English, Geology & Environmental Earth Science, Gerontology, History, Microbiology, and Psychology.

Doctoral degrees may also recognize preparation for professional practice. Examples of professional practice doctoral degrees include the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) The Doctor of Education is awarded in the Department of Educational Leadership.