An award conferred for the successful completion of undergraduate studies. The general field of study is indicated in the title of the degree. Thus, a Bachelor of Arts (BA) is awarded for successful undergraduate studies in some branch of the arts or humanities; a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) is awarded for successful undergraduate studies in a branch of the sciences; and a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) is awarded for successful undergraduate studies in the field of education. The conferring of a bachelor's degree marks the elevation of the student from undergraduate to graduate status. In the case of an honours degree there are four classes, which are used as grading indicators of the level achieved. These are known as a first class, an upper second class (sometimes referred to as a 2.1), a lower second class (sometimes referred to as a 2.2), and a third class, the first class degree being the highest and most coveted award. Most bachelor's degrees awarded fall into the second class category. A current controversy exists over the classification of degrees, with some academics arguing that the classifications are not being applied consistently, making it easier to gain a higher classification in some universities than in others. One specific concern expressed has been that a disproportionate number of the bachelor's degrees awarded by some universities fall into the first and upper second class category, thus risking a devaluation of these higher classes of the award. In order to progress to master's degree level, a graduate will normally be required to have achieved a first or upper second class in their undergraduate studies. A BA or B.Sc. may be awarded with honours. Where this is the case, the title of the award is abbreviated as BA (Hons) or B.Sc. (Hons). Where the degree is awarded without honours, it is known as an ordinary degree, and is usually considered to indicate a lesser academic achievement.
The bachelor's degree title may also be used to refer to someone who holds that degree. So, for example, a graduate who holds a B.Sc. may be referred to as a Bachelor of Science, regardless of their gender. See also graduation.