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Old 06-01-2016, 11:29 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Schools that use unusual or archaic names for degrees

In a recent thread, it was mentioned that some universities in the USA continue to issue degrees with Latin and/or characteristic names despite the fact that the vast majority of US schools have (sensibly) standardized on a standard set of degree names. For example, UPenn issues the Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris (VMD) rather than the standard Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree despite the fact that it is equivalent to a DVM. Harvard also has degrees such as the Scientiae Baccalaureus (SB), equivalent to a BS, and the Artium Liberalium Magister (ALM), equivalent to an MA.

What are some other interesting cases of schools that still issue degrees with names that are uncharacteristic of the country in which they are situated but are considered equivalent to more common degrees? I am interested in examples both inside and outside the US.

This question is not primarily about unusual ways to earn a degree (though I might suspect that there could be a correlation), but about degrees that have unusual names that could make someone pause when reading about them. For example, is there a school where I can earn a master's degree-equivalent "Epistemological Diplomate of Scientific Prowess" and then walk across the street and earn a "regular" MS or MA at a neighboring school?

I'm also not looking for a list of names of degrees in foreign countries if those names are otherwise standard in those countries. If there is an oddball German university that is issuing degrees that officially carry Spanish names, then that would be relevant.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:42 PM
UDS UDS is offline
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In Trinity College, Dublin virtually every undergraduate degree, no matter how focussed or specialised, leads to a BA. I did a law degree, for example, and I have a BA, rather than an LL.B or a BCL, which is the equivalent degree from other Irish universities. Had I done natural science I would have a BA, not a BSc. And so forth. In the medical school you get a BA as well as the usual suite of medical degrees, so medical graduates are BA MB BAO BCh (the last three being degrees in medicine, obstetrics and surgery respectively).

And it gets odder. If you do a four-year degree course (which is nearly all of them) you get an honours degree, which is distinguished thus: BA (Mod). You might expect BA (Hons), but no. And, if you wait for (I think) two years after your BA (Mod) has been conferred, on application and on payment of a small fee you can have this upgraded to an MA. But if you actually study for a master's degree you'll be awarded an MSc or an MPhil or an MLitt or something vaguely appropriate to your area of study.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:48 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Originally Posted by UDS View Post
In Trinity College, Dublin virtually every undergraduate degree, no matter how focussed or specialised, leads to a BA....
And it gets odder. If you do a four-year degree course (which is nearly all of them) you get an honours degree, which is distinguished thus: BA (Mod). You might expect BA (Hons), but no. And, if you wait for (I think) two years after your BA (Mod) has been conferred, on application and on payment of a small fee you can have this upgraded to an MA. But if you actually study for a master's degree you'll be awarded an MSc or an MPhil or an MLitt or something vaguely appropriate to your area of study.
Thanks! Isn't this (except for the Mod instead of the Hons) the standard practice at Oxford and Cambridge? That is, the basic standard degree is a BA regardless of major, the BA is automatically upgradeable to an MA for a fee after the passage of sufficient time, and further degrees get more characteristic names?

I suppose even if it is, it is still unusual for Ireland since Oxford and Cambridge are in the UK.

Last edited by robert_columbia; 06-01-2016 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:03 AM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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Harvard also has AB but "degrees such as" probably means that you already know that.

Maybe not ultra rare ones but:
Doctor of Dental Surgery and Doctor of Dental Medicine are equivalent degrees in the US. The former is a bit more common but the latter isn't exactly rare.

NOT the same thing (training is different) but they are 99.99% similar in practice: 1) MD and DO (in the US), and 2) PhD in clinical psychology and PsyD. PsyD tends to be awarded by professional schools, not universities, and may not involve a thesis.

BA vs. BS and MA vs. MS in psychology is completely idiosyncratic. Some schools give one or the other (I think often depending on what college the school of psychology is in), while others might give one or the other depending on specialty.
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:31 AM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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...2) PhD in clinical psychology and PsyD. PsyD tends to be awarded by professional schools, not universities, and may not involve a thesis.

BA vs. BS and MA vs. MS in psychology is completely idiosyncratic....
Thanks! I do believe that PsyD's tend to be more applied toward clinical practice while the PhD in Psychology is more research-oriented, but both are generally acceptable for clinical licensure. IME the PsyD is sometimes criticized as a diploma mill degree because it usually doesn't require as much independent research, but I think a lot of that has to do with snottiness from actual PhD holders who think everyone should have to do a dissertation rather than actual problems with degree holders being incompetent psychologists.

I do wonder if there is some oddball university where you can get a piece of paper that literally says Bachelor of History (not Bachelor of Arts in History), Master of Chemistry, or Flute Master (not Master of Fine Arts in Flute).

I did find a Doctor of Information Technology degree which is certainly odd for the US.
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:36 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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The standard medical doctor degree is an MD but their is also a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy). They come from different medical traditions but are considered to be almost equivalent today in the U.S. because their standards have converged. The only real difference is that DO programs can be a little easier to be admitted to and their students get a little training in skeletal manipulation but they are all just fully qualified medical doctors for all practical purposes.

There are large amount of somewhat obscure degrees out there. An Ed.D. is a doctorate level degree in educational practice that focuses on practice rather than research but there is also a Ph.D. in education. It is similar to a PsyD in that practice is emphasized more than research but that distinction alone can't tell you much about an individual with those degrees because they overlap a great deal.

Most people know about MD's (doctors), PhD's (academics), JD's (lawyers) and MBA's (business) but it isn't nearly that simple. You can also get a PhD in any of those fields as well and almost anything else including nursing (that's right; you can be a Dr. Nurse).

If you want real confusion, ask someone in the field what the difference is between a Physician's Assistant and a Nurse Practitioner is. I have never gotten a very good answer other than they come from separate traditions and go through different training programs but their jobs are the same for all practical purposes.
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Old 06-02-2016, 03:42 AM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
Thanks! I do believe that PsyD's tend to be more applied toward clinical practice while the PhD in Psychology is more research-oriented
That can be true.
Quote:
but both are generally acceptable for clinical licensure.
True.

I qualified "clinical PhD." There are many, many, other psychology degrees which aren't sufficient nor intended to allow for clinical practice. I mean I have a psychology degree but I don't trust me to treat myself, let alone someone else, because that's not what the degree is for.

Quote:
IME the PsyD is sometimes criticized as a diploma mill degree because it usually doesn't require as much independent research, but I think a lot of that has to do with snottiness from actual PhD holders who think everyone should have to do a dissertation rather than actual problems with degree holders being incompetent psychologists.
It can be more expensive, I think.
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
The standard medical doctor degree is an MD but their is also a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy). They come from different medical traditions but are considered to be almost equivalent today in the U.S. because their standards have converged. The only real difference is that DO programs can be a little easier to be admitted to and their students get a little training in skeletal manipulation but they are all just fully qualified medical doctors for all practical purposes.
So much that I've been seen by a DO and didn't realize it until later while reviewing the paperwork.
Quote:
If you want real confusion, ask someone in the field what the difference is between a Physician's Assistant and a Nurse Practitioner is. I have never gotten a very good answer other than they come from separate traditions and go through different training programs but their jobs are the same for all practical purposes.
Yeah, both are "subservient" to a doctor, but usually see patients on their own. It's a philosophy difference, which might only come up in limited circumstances. NPs are more likely to be female.

Also, if you want a primary care practitioner, some are listed as internists and some are family care physicians. While this might imply a different emphasis, and indeed some of the latter are more likely to see children, the distinction is minor, and either will fine for your general medical needs.
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Old 06-02-2016, 06:45 AM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is offline
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I do wonder if there is some oddball university where you can get a piece of paper that literally says Bachelor of History (not Bachelor of Arts in History), Master of Chemistry, or Flute Master (not Master of Fine Arts in Flute).
If you think a Bachelor in History is oddball, I give you a complete list of academic degrees in Germany which will blow your mind (Google translation, which is good enough):

https://translate.google.com/transla...529&edit-text=

(My oddball degree is buried somewhere in the middle).
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Old 06-02-2016, 08:37 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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SUNY Albany used to have a Doctor of Arts program for creative writing. Usually, those programs lead to an MFA, but the faculty worked to make it a doctoral program.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:33 AM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
I do wonder if there is some oddball university where you can get a piece of paper that literally says Bachelor of History (not Bachelor of Arts in History), Master of Chemistry, or Flute Master (not Master of Fine Arts in Flute).
It's not exactly oddball, but I have a Bachelor of Journalism degree. Not a B.A. in journalism, or a B.S. in journalism, or a Bachelor's degree in Communications, but an honest-to-goodness Bachelor of Journalism.

And I had to work for it, too. At the time I was in the School of Journalism (note: not a branch of the College of Arts and Sciences) the curriculum leading to a B.J. (don't smirk!) was an underclass background in the humanities, followed by a heavy concentration of internships and workshop.

As far as journalism grads are concerned, Mass Communications students are fuzzy-thinking theorists who never have to meet a deadline.
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Old 06-02-2016, 01:34 PM
Antonius Block Antonius Block is offline
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Thanks! Isn't this (except for the Mod instead of the Hons) the standard practice at Oxford and Cambridge? That is, the basic standard degree is a BA regardless of major, the BA is automatically upgradeable to an MA for a fee after the passage of sufficient time, and further degrees get more characteristic names?
Yes, this is the long-standing practice at Oxford and Cambridge.

Oxford University also abbreviates its Doctor of Philosophy degrees to D. Phil as opposed to the more-usual Ph. D. AFAIK the Universities of Sussex and York follow the same styling.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:37 PM
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I do wonder if there is some oddball university where you can get a piece of paper that literally says Bachelor of History (not Bachelor of Arts in History), Master of Chemistry, or Flute Master (not Master of Fine Arts in Flute).
The University of Waterloo (in Canada) has M.Math (Master of Mathematics) degrees.
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Old 06-03-2016, 12:45 AM
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NOT the same thing (training is different) but they are 99.99% similar in practice: 1) MD and DO (in the US), and 2) PhD in clinical psychology and PsyD. PsyD tends to be awarded by professional schools, not universities, and may not involve a thesis.

BA vs. BS and MA vs. MS in psychology is completely idiosyncratic. Some schools give one or the other (I think often depending on what college the school of psychology is in), while others might give one or the other depending on specialty.
I know of a clinical psychologist whose degree is Ed.D. -- Go figure. He told me that it happened because the psychology major happened to be within the Education Department at his college, so Ed.D. is the degree anyone in that program got. (ETA: This is in California, although I don't know if that's where he got that degree.)

Last edited by Senegoid; 06-03-2016 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 06-03-2016, 06:16 AM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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How recently did he get the Ed.D and where? Cal States were forbidden from offering doctorates until recently, and IIRC Ed.D. was the degree that some offer now
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Old 06-03-2016, 07:07 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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BA vs. BS and MA vs. MS in psychology is completely idiosyncratic. Some schools give one or the other (I think often depending on what college the school of psychology is in), while others might give one or the other depending on specialty.
Heh. My alma mater will grant you a BA in Psychology -- unless you complete three extra science courses, in which case you can get a BS instead.

So if you're a brain-biology-and-brain-chemistry type who takes additional classes in biology and chemistry -- then, sure, that fits what you're saying. But no matter how you specialize with your psychology coursework, you can get a BS so long as you also take three irrelevant classes in, like, geology or astronomy.
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Old 06-03-2016, 09:00 AM
Baffle Baffle is offline
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The University of Guelph in Canada offers a few unusual degrees. It's one of a few to offer the unusual Bachelor of Computing degree (B.Comp), for example, instead of a more typical B.Sc. (Pure math majors get the B.Sc. though.

Even more unusual is the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management (BBRM) degree. I'm not sure why these have a unique styling.
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Old 06-03-2016, 09:10 AM
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I wonder if Intercourse, Pennsylvania has a community college with the same name?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercourse,_Pennsylvania
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Old 06-04-2016, 02:58 AM
Schnitte Schnitte is offline
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Yes, this is the long-standing practice at Oxford and Cambridge.

Oxford University also abbreviates its Doctor of Philosophy degrees to D. Phil as opposed to the more-usual Ph. D. AFAIK the Universities of Sussex and York follow the same styling.
Oxford also has a postgraduate law degree called the Bachelor of Civil Law for people with a fist degree in the common law (as opposed to civil law, i.e., the continental European jurisdictions). This leads to the common joke at Oxford that the Bachelor of Civil Law is actually a Master of Common Law. For all practical purposes it's an LL.M., but the name of the degree comes from a time before academic nomenclature was standardised the way it is today.
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Old 06-04-2016, 03:19 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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How recently did he get the Ed.D and where? Cal States were forbidden from offering doctorates until recently, and IIRC Ed.D. was the degree that some offer now
No idea. I do know that the Universities offer Ed.D. -- My father got that at UCLA in ~1966. But it was actually a degree in Education for realz.
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Old 06-04-2016, 03:48 AM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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No idea. I do know that the Universities offer Ed.D. -- My father got that at UCLA in ~1966. But it was actually a degree in Education for realz.
I mean California State Universities. Universities of California, including UCLA, are a different system, and offer many post-master's degrees.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:36 AM
fachverwirrt fachverwirrt is offline
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I do wonder if there is some oddball university where you can get a piece of paper that literally says Bachelor of History (not Bachelor of Arts in History), Master of Chemistry, or Flute Master (not Master of Fine Arts in Flute).
There's probably no Master of Flute, but there's certainly a Master of Music in Flute Performance. I have both a BMus (we don't say BM for, uh, clinical reasons) and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance.

Incidentally, the doctoral degree in applied music is generally a DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts).
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:35 PM
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The University of Waterloo (in Canada) has M.Math (Master of Mathematics) degrees.
Heck, they have B.Math too. And their computer science program offers a B.CS degree.
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Old 06-05-2016, 02:16 AM
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Oxford also has a postgraduate law degree called the Bachelor of Civil Law for people with a fist degree in the common law (as opposed to civil law, i.e., the continental European jurisdictions). This leads to the common joke at Oxford that the Bachelor of Civil Law is actually a Master of Common Law. For all practical purposes it's an LL.M., but the name of the degree comes from a time before academic nomenclature was standardised the way it is today.
My father's degree in physics from Oxford was a D.Phil. rather than a Ph.D. I assumed this was due to some archaic name for the same sort of degree. Or is it because the name was different in the 1940's?
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Old 06-06-2016, 05:47 PM
Schnitte Schnitte is offline
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My father's degree in physics from Oxford was a D.Phil. rather than a Ph.D. I assumed this was due to some archaic name for the same sort of degree. Or is it because the name was different in the 1940's?
Nope, the PhD in Oxford is still the DPhil to this day.
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Old 06-06-2016, 06:07 PM
CatastrophicFailure CatastrophicFailure is offline
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Harvard also has AB but "degrees such as" probably means that you already know that.
I have an artium baccalaureus from an older liberal arts college in the northeast. I believe many of them still use the Latin for their degrees. A quick check of a few shows Princeton, Mt. Holyoke, Williams and Bryn Mawr all use it.
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Old 06-07-2016, 02:43 PM
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Even more unusual is the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management (BBRM) degree. I'm not sure why these have a unique styling.
Professional architecture degrees are either B. Arch. (Bachelor of Architecture, what I have) or M. Arch., and some related fields are set up similarly (Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning, etc.). I believe there are Bachelor of Arts or Science degrees with a focus on Architecture, but that's not a professional degree -- you'd need to follow up with an M. Arch to be able to someday become a registered architect.

I assume this setup is to make it very clear what is or isn't a professional degree.
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:38 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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I understand that some universities have a degree titled simply "Engineer", which floats somewhere above the master's level but below the doctoral rank, and is very similar in that regard to eondition humorously known as A.B.D=All But Dissertation.
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Old 06-10-2016, 01:05 AM
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A number of schools offer the DA (Doctor of Arts); Carnegie Mellon even grants a DA in Mathematics.
As for the term ABD being used humorously, recently I've seen it in job postings and on resumes.
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Old 06-10-2016, 11:38 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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From the OP:

Quote:
Harvard also has degrees such as the Scientiae Baccalaureus (SB), equivalent to a BS, and the Artium Liberalium Magister (ALM), equivalent to an MA.

MIT also issues a Scientiae Baccalaureus , which they abbreviate as Sc.B.

I've long suspected it was to get away from the term "BS", no matter what anyone says, just Governor Dummer Academy is now "The Governor's Academy", despite still being officially "Governor Dummer Academy"
  #30  
Old 06-10-2016, 04:30 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Originally Posted by Donnerwetter View Post
If you think a Bachelor in History is oddball, I give you a complete list of academic degrees in Germany which will blow your mind (Google translation, which is good enough):

https://translate.google.com/transla...529&edit-text=

(My oddball degree is buried somewhere in the middle).
Jeez, even in English I never heard of ecotrophology--which although admitted as an Engish word, I defy you to explain to someone what you do: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecotrophology

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 06-10-2016 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 06-10-2016, 04:34 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Upstream "AB" from Harvard was mentioned: what is this degree?

I was told had my Ph.D. proposal been accepted (?not sure what the actual vestment criteria was) I could at least be walking around with some type of letters as a consolation present. Anyone know about that?
  #32  
Old 06-10-2016, 06:23 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Upstream "AB" from Harvard was mentioned: what is this degree?...
It's a BA. Harvard just likes to be all Latin-y and call it the "Artium Baccalaureus" ("Bachelor of Arts").
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Old 06-10-2016, 06:25 PM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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MIT also issues a Scientiae Baccalaureus , which they abbreviate as Sc.B.

I've long suspected it was to get away from the term "BS", no matter what anyone says, just Governor Dummer Academy is now "The Governor's Academy", despite still being officially "Governor Dummer Academy"
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Upstream "AB" from Harvard was mentioned: what is this degree?
Artium Baccalaureus, which is just a fancy Latin way to say "Bachelor of Arts."
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Old 06-11-2016, 04:30 AM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is offline
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Jeez, even in English I never heard of ecotrophology--which although admitted as an Engish word, I defy you to explain to someone what you do: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecotrophology
The only thing I know about the academic field of “ecotrophology” is that is basically nutritional science blended with some business administration, economics, social science and psychology. In the olden days, they used to describe the graduates as “university-trained housewifes”, but I guess it's not acceptable anymore to say that.
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