Difference Between Degree and Major

Education is one of the most important aspects in the majority of individuals in the world. The attainment of a higher degree is essential to secure a job that can sustain oneself, and one’s loved ones.

Therefore, after a formal schooling period, individuals pursue their interests by enrolling in higher studies. 

Degree vs Major

The main difference between a degree and a major is that a degree is an academic program with a specific duration. This program essentially acts as a qualification.

In other words, it serves as proof that one has pursued higher studies. A major is a small area of study. It implies that a student will have to study a specific subject more in-depth. 

Degree vs Major

Comparison Table Between Degree and Major

Parameters of ComparisonDegree Major
Number of subjectsDegrees require a student to study several subjects. These subjects may or may not be related to each other.Majors mainly focus on one or a small group of subjects that will always connect.
Number of classesA degree requires a student to attend a larger number of classes. This may range from a minimum of 35-40 classes.The classes teaching one’s major will be the majority of the minimum 35-40 classes.
CreditsTo complete a degree, one will have to attain a particular number of credits.A major also allows one to attain credits, but this number is less in comparison to the degree requirement.
TypesThere are four different types of degrees. They can be bachelor’s, Associate and others.The types of majors depend on the various subjects like Biology, Computer science, and others.

What is a Degree? 

A degree is an academic program. There are usually four types of degrees. The first degree that is generally taken up by individuals is the Bachelor’s degree.

The prerequisite for this is that the student must hold a high school diploma. The bachelor’s degree comprises four years. The student will be able to receive a comprehensive understanding of a particular field.

There are different bachelor degrees depending on the various majors that are chosen by students. A student can also enroll in an associate program. This is of a shorter duration.

However, this individual cannot pursue higher studies. 

The Master’s degree allows one to specialize in any of the subjects in which the student completed their Bachelor’s degree. This degree lasts for two years.

A student looking to enroll in a Master’s degree must obtain a bachelor’s degree. A Master’s degree requires a student to create a thesis or capstone project to graduate.

Finally, the highest level of education is the Doctorate, also known as Ph.D. To enroll in this degree, one has to have recommendations from other professionals or respected individuals.

This may take many years to complete. In order for an individual to receive a doctorate, one must create a research project or dissertation

What is a Major? 

A major is a subset of a degree. This term refers to a subject or group of subjects that are about each other. A student chooses to focus on these subjects and study it in detail.

For example, if an individual decides to major in computer science, then he or she will study subjects in relation to it.

Upon completing all the classes, assignments, and tasks, the individual will receive a Certificate of completion in regards to the Bachelors in Computer science. 

Many universities and colleges work on the basis of the credit system. This system requires a student to receive approximately 120 credits in order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

This is true for 59 courses among the total 85 courses. 

Out of these 120 credits, one has to complete 36 credits hours in their major. This means that a large portion of a degree depends on the students’ performance in their major classes. 

A student pursuing their Master’s only requires 30 to 40 credit hours. 

The declaration of a major is important as it is the basis of a student’s career for years to come. 

A minor is the other subset of a degree. This subset is the secondary focus of a degree. It allows one to procure an added expertise in a particular field. 

Major Differences Between Degree and a Major

  1. A degree is a program that involves several subjects. A major involves only one subject and may also include a few others that are in relation to it.
  2. To complete a degree, one needs to attain 120 credit hours. Out of this, the student must receive a total of 36 credit hours in the major of their choice. This number, however, is subject to change depending on the country. 
  3. A degree involves a major as well as a minor. 
  4. A degree is dependent on the major one pursues. So a major in biology would result in one attaining a bachelor’s in Biology. 
  5. A degree requires an individual to attend more classes than a major. 
Difference Between Degree and Major


Pursuing a degree is a path that most people take. However, in recent times, the cases of students opting for the unconventional choice of going into work without higher studies.

This could be due to several reasons. At present, in America, many students are unable to afford the high tuition fees that come with pursuing higher studies.

Although there are student loans and scholarships, the exorbitant fees make life extremely hard for college students. 

Procuring a degree is a hard and tedious task as it requires one’s attention for a long period of time. However, upon attaining a degree, one will procure the knowledge required to survive at a job. 

In recent times, there has been an increase in the number of individuals opting for online courses. With the emergence of the internet, courses that have never been available offline are now open to individuals around the world.


  1. https://academic.oup.com/sf/article-abstract/89/2/389/2235242
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/journals/cou/57/1/23/
  3. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/appi.ajp.158.3.405
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