Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Degree and Major

Degree vs Major

Earning a college degree is not an ordinary accomplishment. It takes a lot of perseverance, hard work, and self discipline to finish a course. But, many high school graduates who wish to go to college often get confused with the terms used to identify the kind of degree a person has earned. Most of them wonder what makes a degree different from a major.

The confusion is warranted by the fact that they are often intertwined with each other when people use them. For example, a bachelor’s degree in biology means that an individual majored in the science of biology, hence people tend to think they are the same which they are actually not. And so how are they different?

“Degree” is a blanket term used to describe a college education. It can be said that a person studying in college is trying to earn a degree. A major, on the other hand, is a specific program or field of study. Majoring in a specific subject means mastering everything about it. Only related information and knowledge is provided to students: nothing more and nothing less. That’s why it’s important for college students to select a major or field of study if they want to become experts at specific subjects like biology or psychology.

A college degree is also different from a major in terms of application. Since degree is a general term, people with different majors can use the same title as long as they belong to the same field of study. One example is the term bachelor of science. Students majoring in engineering, biology, and even nursing all fall under the sciences field. Therefore, they can all be called degree holders in science.

The term “major” is exclusively used for individuals studying a specific subject. When an individual majors in biology, he or she can’t claim to have similar knowledge about engineering even though biology and engineering are both branches of science. Therefore the word major is used to segregate degree holders falling under the same general field of study. It’s the reason why college graduates earn a bachelor’s degree in science with a corresponding major in any of its branches like engineering or nursing to specify areas of expertise.

There are also several types of degree: associate, bachelor, and post graduate. Associate degrees are given to courses that only require two years to finish, while bachelor usually requires four. Post graduate studies are done by people who wish to seek advanced knowledge. On the other hand, there is only one type of major and individuals who seek for multiple degrees with different majors should study them one at a time.


1.“Degree” is often used in concert with “major.”
2.“Degree” is a general term used for college education, while “major” is a specific program of study.
3.A degree can be used by students with different majors, while the word major is exclusive to one type of group that specializes in a specific field.
4.There are different types of degree, while there is only one kind of major.

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  1. So, just to check I understand: I have chosen to do MBiolSci/Tropical Disease Biology, and I would say that ‘I am studying MBiolSci, and majoring in TDB’.

  2. This is an incomplete answer. Many students believe if they enroll in a major that the name of that major will appear on the degree. Example: A journalism “major” on a Communication Studies diploma–bachelor of arts of science doesn’t matter. This is a truth in advertising issue, and high school counselors need to know that, too.

  3. I am Mcom i want to study BA additional in English what will be Course code BA major or ASSO ?

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