Can a 4-year and a 2-year degree be equal?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by mintaru, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

  2. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    • AA in radiology (2-year degree)
    • BA in history (4-year degree)
    Mintaru, if a hospital is hiring a radiology technician, which of the above two degrees is superior for job acquisition?
  3. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Will these UK degrees be accelerated format? For example, in the US there are accelerated degree programs.
    Their format is one class per month or in some cases, people manage to take two classes per month.
    My wife completed a 36 unit 12 classes a class per mth at National University.
    In other Universities, same degree program takes 2 years.
    Same content, the same number of credits but in the halftime. It was very challenging, imagine you began a class and in two weeks time you have a midterm and in another two weeks a final.
    She did it while an FT employed, with one meeting on campus per week. It would be like 5:30 or 6:00 PM till 9:30 PM or something like that.

    My point is its possible for some degrees to be compressed, taking in into account that the two-year degree programs you mentioned are starting from scratch, not a transfer in to with like HNC holders. (HNC usually equals to the first year of university studies).
  4. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Some British universities are already offering 2-year bachelors degrees.

    This one seems to make the peculiarly British 3-year BA into a year-around program, with a third summer term added to the two more conventional semesters. So there's still 6 terms, only compacted.

    The THE opinion piece you linked to questioned whether universities in other European countries and UK employers will accept them.

    I'm guessing that here in the US, they would likely be evaluated as equivalent to a 3 year BA, but those aren't universally accepted in this country.
  5. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

    I understand what you mean, but that's not my point. The 2-year and 4-year degree would be the same on paper. (same degree, same major)

    Yes, these UK degrees will be accelerated. I also do not doubt that it's possible to learn the same in less time, but will the general public really recognize it as equal? I have my doubts.

    I can give you an example of what I mean. It is not about higher education, but about German high schools (so-called Gymnasiums), but I think it shows you why I have doubts. Germany had a K-13 education system until about 15 years ago. Then that system was changed to a K-12 system - but without changing the curriculum! The students had to learn exactly the same as before. They just had less spare time. The problem is the new German high school diploma (called Abitur) is seen as inferior, even within Germany, and even more so in other countries! That includes the US. For instance, it was not unusual for colleges in the US to give German students some transfer credits for what they learned in grade 13. Students who got their Abitur after 12 years had to learn exactly the same, but very most US colleges no longer give them transfer credits, because they only have a K-12 education. The fact that the education was accelerated doesn't count. That and the fact that there was much protest from parents is the reason why some German states change back to a K13 system, or at least to a system where K-12 and K-13 schools co-exist.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  6. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

    Yes, that piece was about universities in other European countries and UK employers, but I think the US (meaning US employers and universities) would recognize such a degree if basically all of Europe does. If, however, there will be some material on the internet about how often these degrees are rejected in Europe... I think you know what I mean.

    An online Bachelor's degree after two years also would be quite an advantage for British universities on the global higher education market, but only if these degrees are fully recognized.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  7. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    I think if name recognized universities will start offering such degrees then their recognition may increase.
    But there are those who think that it's to fast, questions will be asked are students doing sufficient work?
    My son graduated from top university within 3 years, In addition to all the quarters he also studied every summer term, so in 3 years and 4 summers he earned a 4-year degree with major and a minor, and also completed many interesting projects in his Video Production club.
    Now he is working and applying to Grad schools.
  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Those who already hold a Bachelor's degree can do a Bachelor of Laws from the Open University in two years:

    And I don't see a problem with that. After all, one can earn a second American Bachelor's degree in just one year.
  9. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

    I also don't see a problem with that, but my original post was about first Bachelor's degrees.
  10. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I used to work with a woman who had an MA from a Scottish university. She doesn't have a BA.

    I asked her whether this caused problems. She responded that, on occasion, it did. It just isn't something that US employers are used to seeing. Most employers were willing to accept her MA as being, at a minimum, equivalent to having a bachelors degree. She did have one employer withdraw an offer because the requirement was that she have a bachelors degree and, technically, she didn't meet that requirement.

    It's not unlike those who dropped out of high school to go directly to college. 9/10 times you're fine. But there are certain jobs, particularly in the civil service, where the high school diploma is required even if you go on to earn a PhD without it.

    In this case, a typical employer is not going to know the difference. For employment purposes you'd probably be fine. To them a bachelors is a bachelors.

    Having a British LLB is, in many instances, equivalent to having a U.S. JD. However, the holder of the US JD likely also has a separate undergraduate degree. The British LLB holder might possess only that degree. To the U.S. employer that would put the LLB holder at a disadvantage for non-law jobs. If they came to my company, where we have a handful of lawyers employed in non-legal roles, it would look like they were less qualified than their ABA educated contemporaries.

    My point is that people look for familiar terms. That can be a help or a hindrance depending upon your situation. Two year bachelors from the UK would likely set you up just fine in the U.S., even if your education is really equivalent to a U.S. associates degree. That wouldn't be the case with an accelerated program, of course, but my point stands. Employers look at what something appears to be. They often don't scrutinize it for full equivalency, for better or worse. There are certain BA programs you could knock through in under 3 years in the U.S. Same paper, received the same.
  11. nyvrem

    nyvrem Active Member

    I think it's just squeezing all the modules from the usual 3 year plan (UK) into 2 years?

    It's like going to a 4 year school in the US and finishing it in 3 years by using Summer terms as well?
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Exactly right. Summer vacation is an odd thing for those are ostensibly adults to take anyway.
  13. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

    Yes, it's like going to a 4-year school in the US and graduating in 3 years. But the question is: Do people really care that people who did that had to learn exactly the same. That's possible, but I fear quite a few people will say it's a 2-year degree and therefore cannot be equal to a 4.-year degree from the US.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  14. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

    I doubt that one employer has many employees who originally came from Continental Europe. The Bachelor's degree did not exist in some European countries prior to the Bologna process. Traditional first degrees in these countries were either masters-level or, like Austrian and German Magister degrees, genuine Master's degrees.
    I do not fully agree. The difference is dropping out of high school and going directly to college is an exception. An MA from a Scottish university is the standard path in that country. In my opinion, it's more like an incompatibility between education systems.
    I guess you are right, people look for familiar terms. In fact, that's the reason why universities in German-speaking countries offer degrees with English titles these days.
  15. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    That's an odd position to take...

    There are many multinational firms in this country. My company happens to be owned by a Swedish company which is owned by a Japanese company. We have many employees coming from both Europe and Asia.

    I think you misunderstand my point. My point isn't that the two things are equivalent. But that the way the two things are received by U.S. employers are similar. MA in Scotland is a standard path in Scotland. Bring that MA here and you have an exception to most rules but still places that will kick up a fuss over it much like the absence of a high school diploma will even for someone with a college degree. It's the treatment of each by employers that I'm comparing not the issues themselves.
  16. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

    I think there is probably more than just one misunderstanding here. First of all, you are saying the recognition of foreign degrees in the US is not based on the answer to the question: Is that degree equivalent to a domestic degree, right? If an employer sees the title "Bachelor of Science", for instance, and the degree is from an accredited university, then that's it, box checked. That is very different from German employers, all they really care about is the equivalence of your education. The academic title is quite irrelevant. (By the way, most German job ads these days even include the phrase "Bachelor's degree or equivalent", and that phrase includes an equivalent education from outside the university system, but only if you have any type of official education certificate.) I just assumed US employers would do the same. Especially since the US is known as "the Great Melting Pot".

    And this brings me to my "odd position", as you call it. That statement wasn't about your company or the US in general. It only was about that one employer in your example who didn't accept a Scotish MA because it isn't a Bachelor's degree. From my German perspective that's very hard to understand. If all an employer really cares about is a specific academic title, doesn't that mean such an employer would never employ anybody who got his education in a country where that title simply doesn't exist?
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  17. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    The vast majority of U.S. based employers don't have a process in place to evaluate equivalency. It's the reason why, for the bulk of employers, an NA degree wouldn't be viewed any differently than an RA degree. It was the key reason that I disagreed with Rich Douglas's research on the subject. Yes, if you ask HR people what they think of the DETC (as it was called at the time) they might have a reaction based on the name. However, I've worked for some pretty big HR shops and I've never worked at one where accreditation was actually verified let alone compared and evaluated. That's for U.S. based degrees. Even employers who state that they require RA degrees typically DO NOT actually check accreditation. The only time I've seen an employer come close to checking accreditation was one shop where I consulted used the student clearinghouse to verify degrees. NA degrees weren't available to verify in that system.

    But foreign degrees? Most employers, and realize that the bulk of U.S. employers are small to medium sized businesses, don't want to be bothered with foreign degree evaluations. They look at resumes, they do interviews and they hire the people they like. I've not seen a foreign degree evaluation done outside of a larger company, typically multi-national, and even then I've seen those types of companies use very weak screenings that essentially return inconclusive results.

    Yes, with the above caveat that no one is really checking accreditation here.

    Unless I'm mistaken, you have a government agency that makes this determination. We do not. Even companies that do equivalency reviews are relying on third party private entities to make that determination. And, frankly, if you are hiring a specialty engineer in a hard to recruit niche area you aren't going to turn him/her away because of what WES says unless it appears there was a blatant attempt to mislead.

    So, story time...

    A few years ago we were hiring a specialty engineer. We needed someone who had very specific experience. We had a very small pool. One of the applicants was an Italian national with a pre-Bologna process Italian laurea. He referred to his laurea as being equivalent to a doctorate and included the title "Doctor." The evaluation service we used, back when we bothered with them, decided that the laurea was only equivalent to a bachelor's degree. This isn't an uncommon position to be taken in the U.S. I've seen a handful of people, primarily in academia, who upon arriving in America found that schools were only willing to treat their degrees as an undergraduate qualification.

    He wasn't trying to defraud us. The title was legitimate based on the convention of the area. And he had the skills and experience we needed. So we hired him for a position that required, at a minimum, a Masters degree. The lack of utility in the degree evaluation ultimately led to us scrapping the process entirely.

    Many US employers say "bachelors degree or equivalent." Few, however, have a formal HR guideline as to what an "equivalent" would be. Most places have wiggle room. Government? Much less wiggle room. She ran into issues with the State of New York trying to work as a civil service employee. If they require a high school diploma, you need a high school diploma. If they require a bachelor's degree, you need a bachelor's degree. Where she ran into issues is that the degree she was claiming as equivalent sounded a lot like another degree in our system. So it caused confusion. There have been, in the U.S. schools that award a Masters without a bachelors degree. They are somewhat rare. I know Albany Law School, at least as recent as last year, allowed candidates without bachelors degree in as special exceptions (you needed to have significant work experience). Chiropractic schools sometimes admit students without bachelors which can cause issues as some states require the bachelors (as well as the DC) for licensure. And I've seen a handful of fully accredited theology schools that allow people to get into the MDiv program without undergrad degrees.

    So it does happen in the U.S.

    The Scotland MA is more complicated because it gives the appearance of something that it isn't. Something that happens occasionally within the U.S. system. It can cause problems. But not always. As in anything, there are many employers in the U.S. and there is no real consistency.
  18. nyvrem

    nyvrem Active Member

  19. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Frankly, they shouldn't. UK universities offer these alongside the regular 3-year BA and 4-year BA (Hons). They make no distinction between them; anyone else shouldn't either. It is an inherently academic function to decide how much prior learning to recognize; UK schools have this authority by their Charters and internal processes regularly audited by QAA. Derby says this is a BA (Hons), therefore it's a "4-year degree" just like the Big Three" BS is a "4-year degree". End of story.
  20. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

    I fully agree. The only difference between these top-up degrees and standard degrees is the fact that there is a special name for that route to a degree. The degree itself is exactly the same.

    Many thanks for that very detailed explanation. It really helps me to understand.

    Most German employers are also small to medium-sized businesses (the so-called "Mittelstand"). But I think there are huge differences in the way HR departments in both countries work. For instance, foreign degree evaluations are not done by HR departments. Legally, that's not even possible. However, you should bear in mind that I mean the process were you get a document which says: "This qualification/degree is equivalent to that domestic qualification/degree". The only one who can get such a document is the person who has that degree or qualification. A job applicant would (and should) add a copy of that document to his application. Employers may ask to see the original during an interview.

    Technically, we have have government agencies. There are special agencies for some regulated professions at state-level, but in general, you're right.

    That's a nice story, and I fully understand your decision to hire that guy. By the way, the Italian laurea degree is considered equivalent to a post-Bologna Master's degree in both, Italy and Germany. So it seems your decision to hire him for a position that required a Master's degree was appropriate. Of course, there is a reason why he referred to his laurea as being equivalent to a doctorate and included the title "Doctor", but I'm sure you already know that. Graduates of the Italian laurea degree are called "dottore" in Italian. However, I would not call that an accademic title. It's more like a "social title". - It's a social convention.

    Many German employers use Government HR guidelines (as far as these are known) as their formal HR guidelines as to what an "equivalent" would be. Of course, there are also companies with their own guidelines, and there is often also some wiggle room. There are also some general equivalence guidelines from the German Government. For instance, there is one formal rule which says graduation from an undergraduate program is equivalent to graduation from high school if you don't have a high school diploma.

    I think the problem I have with that is the fact that the Scotish MA isn't seen as an exception from the rule here in Germany. It is seen as somthing quite normal, probably because Germany had the pre-Bologna Magister Artium degree.

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