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Degree vs. Major: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A degree is an academic qualification awarded by a college or university, whereas a major is a specific field of study chosen within a degree program.
Degree vs. Major

Key Differences

A degree is a certification granted by an educational institution, signifying the completion of a particular course of study. A major, however, is the primary focus or specialization within a degree program, representing a student's main area of academic interest.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
Degrees are categorized by levels, such as bachelor's, master's, or doctoral, indicating the scope and depth of education. Majors are specific disciplines like biology, history, or engineering, chosen by students within their degree programs.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
Earning a degree typically requires a combination of core, elective, and major-specific courses, culminating in a recognized academic credential. Choosing a major involves selecting a specific subject to concentrate on, which shapes the student's academic journey and expertise.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degrees are often prerequisites for professional fields or advanced study and are recognized universally as academic achievements. Majors define the specific skills and knowledge base a student acquires, guiding their future career path or further studies.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
The degree signifies the completion of a broad course of study, encompassing general and specialized education. The major, conversely, reflects a student's focused study in a particular academic discipline, often dictating the direction of their career or research.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Comparison Chart

Definition

An academic qualification from a college or university
A specific field of study chosen within a degree program
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Nov 15, 2023

Scope

General education and degree level (e.g., Bachelor's, Master's)
Specific discipline or field of study (e.g., Psychology, Physics)
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Purpose

To provide a comprehensive education and credential
To specialize in a particular academic area
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Shumaila Saeed
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Outcome

Academic degree (e.g., BA, BS, MA)
Specialized knowledge and skills in a field
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Shumaila Saeed
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Role in Education

Represents the completion of a broad course of study
Dictates the specific courses and focus within the degree program
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Degree and Major Definitions

Degree

A level or stage in a scale of rank or progress.
His work showed a high degree of skill.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Major

The primary field of study in a college or university program.
Her major is in biochemistry.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degree

A specific level of academic achievement.
He's pursuing a Master's degree in Engineering.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

Being large, important, or prominent in size or scope.
The project encountered major delays.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degree

One of a series of steps in a process, course, or progression; a stage
Proceeded to the next degree of difficulty.
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Major

Greater than others in importance or rank
A major artist.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degree

A step in a direct hereditary line of descent or ascent
First cousins are two degrees from their common ancestor.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

Great in scope or effect
A major improvement.
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Degree

Relative social or official rank, dignity, or position.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

Great in number, size, or extent
The major portion of the population.
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Degree

Relative intensity or amount, as of a quality or attribute
A high degree of accuracy.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

Requiring great attention or concern; very serious
A major illness.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degree

The extent or measure of a state of being, an action, or a relation
Modernized their facilities to a large degree.
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Major

(Law) Legally recognized as having reached the age of adulthood.
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Degree

A unit division of a temperature scale.
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Major

Of or relating to the field of academic study in which a student specializes.
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Degree

(Mathematics) A planar unit of angular measure equal in magnitude to 1/360 of a complete revolution.
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Major

Designating a scale or mode having half steps between the third and fourth and the seventh and eighth degrees.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degree

A unit of latitude or longitude, equal to 1/360 of a great circle.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

Equivalent to the distance between the tonic note and the second or third or sixth or seventh degrees of a major scale or mode
A major interval.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degree

The greatest sum of the exponents of the variables in a term of a polynomial or polynomial equation.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

Based on a major scale
A major key.
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Degree

The exponent of the derivative of highest order in a differential equation in standard form.
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Major

A commissioned rank in the US Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps that is above captain and below lieutenant colonel.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degree

An academic title given by a college or university to a student who has completed a course of study
Received the Bachelor of Arts degree at commencement.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Major

One who holds this rank or a similar rank in another military organization.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degree

A similar title conferred as an honorary distinction.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

One that is superior in rank, importance, or ability
An oil-producing country considered as one of the majors.
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Degree

(Law) A division or classification of a specific crime according to its seriousness
Murder in the second degree.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

(Law) One recognized by the law as having reached the age of adulthood.
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Degree

A classification of the severity of an injury, especially a burn
A third-degree burn.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

A field of study chosen as an academic specialty.
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Degree

(Grammar) One of the forms used in the comparison of adjectives and adverbs. For example, tall is the positive degree, taller the comparative degree, and tallest the superlative degree of the adjective tall.
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Major

A student specializing in such studies
A linguistics major.
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Degree

One of the seven notes of a diatonic scale.
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Major

A major premise.
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Degree

A space or line of the staff.
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Major

A major term.
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Degree

A stage of proficiency or qualification in a course of study, now especially an award bestowed by a university or, in some countries, a college, as a certification of academic achievement. (In the United States, can include secondary schools.)
She has two bachelor's degrees and is studying towards a master's degree.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Major

A major scale, key, interval, or mode.
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Degree

(geometry) A unit of measurement of angle equal to 360 of a circle's circumference.
A right angle is a ninety-degree angle.
Most humans have a field of vision of almost 180 degrees.
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Major

A chord containing a major third between the first and second notes and a minor third between the second and third notes.
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Degree

(physics) A unit of measurement of temperature on any of several scales, such as Celsius or Fahrenheit.
180 degrees Fahrenheit is equivalent to 100 degrees Celsius.
Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

Majors Sports The major leagues.
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Degree

(algebra) The sum of the exponents of a term; the order of a polynomial.
A quadratic polynomial is a polynomial of degree 2.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

To pursue academic studies in a major
Majoring in mathematics.
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Degree

The dimensionality of a field extension.
The set of complex numbers constitutes a field extension of degree 2 over the real numbers.
The Galois field \operatorname{GF}(125) = \operatorname{GF}(5^3) has degree 3 over its subfield \operatorname{GF}(5).
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Major

(attributive):
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Degree

(graph theory) The number of edges that a vertex takes part in; a valency.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

Greater in dignity, rank, importance, significance, or interest.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degree

(logic) The number of logical connectives in a formula.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

Greater in number, quantity, or extent.
The major part of the assembly
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Degree

(surveying) The curvature of a circular arc, expressed as the angle subtended by a fixed length of arc or chord.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

Notable or conspicuous in effect or scope.
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Degree

(geography) A unit of measurement of latitude and longitude which together identify a location on the Earth's surface.
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Major

Prominent or significant in size, amount, or degree.
To earn some major cash
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Degree

(grammar) Any of the three stages (positive, comparative, superlative) in the comparison of an adjective or an adverb.
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Major

(medicine) Involving great risk, serious, life-threatening.
To suffer from a major illness
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degree

A step on a set of stairs; the rung of a ladder.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

Of full legal age, having attained majority.
Major children
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Degree

An individual step, or stage, in any process or scale of values.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Major

(education) Of or relating to a subject of academic study chosen as a field of specialization.
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Oct 19, 2023

Degree

A stage of rank or privilege; social standing.
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Major

(music):
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Degree

(genealogy) A ‘step’ in genealogical descent.
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Major

Having intervals of a semitone between the third and fourth, and seventh and eighth degrees.
Major scale
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Degree

One's relative state or experience; way, manner.
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Major

Equivalent to that between the tonic and another note of a major scale, and greater by a semitone than the corresponding minor interval.
Major third
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Shumaila Saeed
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Degree

The amount that an entity possesses a certain property; relative intensity, extent.
To what degree do the two accounts of the accident concur?
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Major

(postpositive) of a key Based on a major scale, tending to produce a bright or joyful effect.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Degree

A step, stair, or staircase.
By ladders, or else by degree.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

(campanology) Bell changes rung on eight bells.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Degree

One of a series of progressive steps upward or downward, in quality, rank, acquirement, and the like; a stage in progression; grade; gradation; as, degrees of vice and virtue; to advance by slow degrees; degree of comparison.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Major

Indicating the elder of two brothers, appended to a surname in public schools.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Degree

The point or step of progression to which a person has arrived; rank or station in life; position.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

(logic)
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Degree

Measure of advancement; quality; extent; as, tastes differ in kind as well as in degree.
The degree of excellence which proclaims genius, is different in different times and different places.
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Oct 19, 2023

Major

Occurring as the predicate in the conclusion of a categorical syllogism.
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Degree

Grade or rank to which scholars are admitted by a college or university, in recognition of their attainments; also, (informal) the diploma provided by an educational institution attesting to the achievement of that rank; as, the degree of bachelor of arts, master, doctor, etc.; to hang one's degrees on the office wall.
The youth attained his bachelor's degree, and left the university.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Major

Containing the major term in a categorical syllogism.
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Degree

A certain distance or remove in the line of descent, determining the proximity of blood; one remove in the chain of relationship; as, a relation in the third or fourth degree.
In the 11th century an opinion began to gain ground in Italy, that third cousins might marry, being in the seventh degree according to the civil law.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Major

(military ranks) A rank of officer in the army and the US air force, between captain and lieutenant colonel.
He used to be a major in the army.
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Degree

Three figures taken together in numeration; thus, 140 is one degree, 222,140 two degrees.
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Major

An officer in charge of a section of band instruments, used with a modifier.
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Degree

State as indicated by sum of exponents; more particularly, the degree of a term is indicated by the sum of the exponents of its literal factors; thus, a2b3c is a term of the sixth degree. The degree of a power, or radical, is denoted by its index, that of an equation by the greatest sum of the exponents of the unknown quantities in any term; thus, ax4 + bx2 = c, and mx2y2 + nyx = p, are both equations of the fourth degree.
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Major

A person of legal age.
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Degree

A 360th part of the circumference of a circle, which part is taken as the principal unit of measure for arcs and angles. The degree is divided into 60 minutes and the minute into 60 seconds.
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Oct 19, 2023

Major

(music):
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Degree

A division, space, or interval, marked on a mathematical or other instrument, as on a thermometer.
It has been said that Scotsmen . . . are . . . grave to a degree on occasions when races more favored by nature are gladsome to excess.
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Major

Ellipsis of major key.
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Degree

A position on a scale of intensity or amount or quality;
A moderate degree of intelligence
A high level of care is required
It is all a matter of degree
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Major

Ellipsis of major interval.
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Degree

A specific identifiable position in a continuum or series or especially in a process;
A remarkable degree of frankness
At what stage are the social sciences?
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Major

Ellipsis of major scale.
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Degree

An award conferred by a college or university signifying that the recipient has satisfactorily completed a course of study;
He earned his degree at Princeton summa cum laude
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Major

(campanology) A system of change-ringing using eight bells.
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Degree

A unit of temperature on a specified scale;
The game was played in spite of the 40-degree temperature
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Major

A large, commercially successful company, especially a record label that is bigger than an indie.
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Degree

A measure for arcs and angles;
There are 360 degrees in a circle
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Major

The principal subject or course of a student working toward a degree at a college or university.
Midway through his second year of college, he still hadn't chosen a major.
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Degree

The highest power of a term or variable
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Major

A student at a college or university specializing on a given area of study.
She is a math major.
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Degree

The seriousness of something (e.g., a burn or crime);
Murder in the second degree
A second degree burn
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Major

(logic):
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Degree

An academic award conferred by a college or university.
She received her Bachelor's degree in 2022.
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Major

Ellipsis of major term.
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Degree

A unit of measurement in various fields like temperature or geometry.
The water was heated to 100 degrees Celsius.
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Major

Ellipsis of major premise.
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Degree

A rank or grade of official, membership, or proficiency.
She holds a black belt, third-degree in karate.
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Major

(bridge) major suit.
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Major

(Canadian football) A touchdown, or major score.
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Major

(Australian rules football) A goal.
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Major

An elder brother (especially at a public school).
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Major

(entomology) A large leaf-cutter ant that acts as a soldier, defending the nest.
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Major

(obsolete) mayor and {{en}}.
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Major

(intransitive) major in
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Major

Greater in number, quantity, or extent; as, the major part of the assembly; the major part of the revenue; the major part of the territory.
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Major

Of greater dignity; more important.
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Major

Of full legal age; adult.
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Major

Greater by a semitone, either in interval or in difference of pitch from another tone.
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Major

An officer next in rank above a captain and next below a lieutenant colonel; the lowest field officer.
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Major

A person of full age.
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Major

That premise which contains the major term. It its the first proposition of a regular syllogism; as: No unholy person is qualified for happiness in heaven [the major]. Every man in his natural state is unholy [minor]. Therefore, no man in his natural state is qualified for happiness in heaven [conclusion or inference].
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Major

A mayor.
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Major

A commissioned military officer in the United States Army or Air Force or Marines; below lieutenant colonel and above captain
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Major

British statesman who was prime minister from 1990 until 1997 (born in 1943)
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Major

A university student who is studying a particular field as the principal subject;
She is a linguistics major
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Major

The principal field of study of a student at a university;
Her major is linguistics
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Major

Have as one's principal field of study;
She is majoring in linguistics
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Major

Of greater importance or stature or rank;
A major artist
A major role
Major highways
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Major

Greater in scope or effect;
A major contribution
A major improvement
A major break with tradition
A major misunderstanding
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Major

Greater in number or size or amount;
A major portion (a majority) of the population
Ursa Major
A major portion of the winnings
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Major

Of the field of academic study in which one concentrates or specializes;
His major field was mathematics
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Major

Of a scale or mode;
Major scales
The key of D major
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Major

Of greater seriousness or danger;
A major earthquake
A major hurricane
A major illness
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Major

Of full legal age;
Major children
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Major

Of the elder of two boys with the same family name;
Jones major
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Major

Greater in importance, seriousness, or significance.
The company is making a major investment in renewable energy.
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Major

A military rank above captain and below lieutenant colonel.
The plan was approved by Major Smith.
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Major

A term used in music to refer to a scale, interval, or key.
The piece was composed in C major.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What does choosing a major mean?

It involves selecting a specific field of study within a degree program.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Can you change your major?

Yes, many students change majors, though it may extend their studies.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Is a degree necessary for a successful career?

While beneficial, some careers do not require a college degree.
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Can majors impact graduate school applications?

Yes, your major can influence your suitability for certain graduate programs.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

What is a college degree?

It's an academic qualification awarded upon completing a course of study.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

What's the difference between a major and a minor?

A major is the primary focus, while a minor is a secondary concentration.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Can you have multiple majors?

Yes, some students pursue double majors, though it can be more demanding.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Does the type of degree matter for employment?

Yes, some careers require specific degrees or levels of education.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

How important is selecting the right major?

It's crucial as it guides your academic focus and potential career path.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Can you get a job outside your major?

Yes, many careers value diverse educational backgrounds.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

How do majors affect earning potential?

Some majors lead to higher-paying careers than others.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Is it possible to switch degrees?

Yes, though it may require additional coursework and time.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Can you complete a degree online?

Yes, many institutions offer online degree programs.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Is a double major the same as a dual degree?

No, a double major is within one degree, while a dual degree involves earning two separate degrees.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Do employers look at your major or just your degree?

It depends on the field; some require specific majors, others don't.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

How does one declare a major?

This involves formally choosing your major through your college or university, often after completing initial coursework.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

How long does it take to earn a degree?

Typically, bachelor's degrees take 4 years, but this can vary.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Are degrees from all colleges valued equally?

The value can vary based on the college's reputation and accreditation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

How does one choose a major?

Consider your interests, career goals, and the job market.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

What are interdisciplinary majors?

These combine courses from different disciplines into one major.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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