BA, BSc, MA, MSc, PhD - what do they all mean?

BA, BSc, MA, MSc, PhD - what do they all mean? Two Masters' students at graduation.

BA, BSc, MA, MSc, PhD (and more) are abbreviations of British degrees.

They reflect the specific level and discipline of a qualification achieved at university.

While most courses are conducted on a full-time basis, there are options for part-time, distance learning and other flexible learning arrangements.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most common qualifications and ones that Aberystwyth University offers.



  • BA = Bachelor of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences;
  • BSc = Bachelor of Sciences;
  • BENG = Bachelor of Engineering (Software, Robotics and Physics);
  • LLB = Bachelor of Law.

Achieved after 3 to 4 years of study. The extra year (for a 4 year course) can be from a year studying abroad or a year working in industry.


  • MARTS = Masters of Arts;
  • MBIOL = Masters of Biology;
  • MCOMP = Masters of Computer Science;
  • MENG = Masters of Engineering;
  • MMATH = Masters of Mathematics;
  • MPHYS = Masters of Physics;
  • MSCI = Masters of Sciences and Humanities.

4 years course (3-year Bachelors, 1 year Masters) that enables you to secure a loan for the full duration rather than having to fund a Masters degree separately.


  • MA = Masters of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences;
  • MSc = Masters of Sciences;
  • MBA = Masters of Business Administration;
  • MPhil = Masters of Philosophy: Advanced research Masters degree;
  • MRes = Masters of Research: Contains some taught and research elements;
  • LLM = Masters of Law.

Achieved after graduation from Bachelors level, usually 1-2 years duration.


  • PhD = Doctor of Philosophy: for a range of disciplines.

Achieved after graduating from Masters level, usually 3-8 years duration.


A wide range of Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Further-Research courses – across the Arts and Sciences – are available at Aberystwyth.