Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
An academic major is a mainly U.S. term for a university student's main field of specialisation during his or her bachelor's degree studies. The student will typically select this focus during the second year of a four year course, and is required to devote a substantial portion of his or her studies from that time on to courses which are relevant to the major. This is a reflection of the freedom given to U.S. students to choose individual courses across many subject areas. In many other countries, including the United Kingdom, undergraduate students are normally required to concentrate on one subject throughout their degree, so the concept of a "major" is not relevant. In Australia, the U.S. system is followed to some extent, but there are also more specialist undergraduate degrees than in the U.S.
Following this receipt, a student then either enters the job market or continues his/her academic pursuit of a master's degree. The master's degree often signifies a proficiency in a given field and follows over into the working world. Research may or may not be the primary pursuit of the holder of a master's degree, but usually is the status quo of "practical application". A doctorate is usually pursued by those who desire a permanent placing in either academia or other scholarly pursuit such as research. However, practical experience is often gained from the "real world", with a breaking period between any of the three degrees. This follows with the recently more common understanding of learning as a lifelong endeavour.
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