After years of hard work, graduation finally arrives. Mashka/Shutterstock.

Until you go to university, so many things that seem obvious to the experienced student are a total minefield to you.

You want to earn a bachelor’s degree but need to know how long until you’re posing for pictures in your graduation gown, scroll in hand and mortarboard perched proudly on your head.

So, just how long will it take you, from start to finish, to gain your degree?

Typically, a bachelor’s degree takes three to four years but this can vary. In the United States, studying for a bachelor’s degree usually takes four years, however, in the United Kingdom, students usually gain theirs within three years.

The US system

In the US, a bachelor’s is a four-year degree, meaning you will graduate after four years if you complete your studies full-time.

In the US you can study the first two years of a bachelor’s degree and then leave with an associate’s degree or continue for the additional two years to gain your bachelor’s.

There are many types of bachelor’s degree depending on your area of study, most commonly Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS), which cover a vast range of majors.

Source: GIPHY.

The UK system

In the UK, a bachelor’s degree will typically take you one year less than the US system, so you will gain your bachelor’s within three years.

However, this is not the case for Scotland where bachelor’s degrees take four years long like in the US.

What can slow you down?

Your graduation date will be delayed by a year if you undertake a placement year where you spend an academic year working in industry instead of studying, usually your penultimate year.

Universities often have longstanding relationships with certain employers and will help you secure these placements.

For some students, studying full-time is just not doable. Whether it be commitments due to parenting, work, or other time constraints, not all people can commit to spending the entirety of the three or more years working towards their bachelor’s.

Instead, students can opt for part-time study which typically takes double the time, so six to eight years depending on where you are studying and what intensity you have agreed to undertake your program at.

Some students may need to take some time out for various reasons during the course of their degree, resulting in a delayed graduation time.

Poor academic progress can also slow students down, causing them to have to retake certain modules and potentially miss graduation.

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