The academic degree is a title conferred on an individual by a university as recognition of the completion of a course of study or for a certain attainment. In Canada, the three stages in higher education are represented by the degrees of bachelor, master, and doctor. Wilfrid Laurier University is given the authority to grant degrees by the Wilfrid Laurier University Act.
The bachelor's degree is awarded at the honours and general level. An honours degree program emphasizes the acquisition of a broad and deep knowledge of the student's chosen honours subject, including both skill at applying the subject and appreciation of its relation to general knowledge and society. A general degree program emphasizes a balance between an in-depth understanding of the student's major subject and a knowledge and appreciation of other fields. Completion of an honours degree normally takes four years and a general degree, three years.
The master's degree is the second degree in higher education. Students complete concentrated and specialized work at a more advanced level in an academic discipline or professional area. Most course work is within the field of specialization and a research project or thesis is normally required. Some master's degrees provide professional qualifications. The master's degree usually requires one or two years of study after a bachelor's degree.
The doctoral degree is the highest academic degree granted by a university. Candidates for the degree spend several years in the advanced study of a specialized field of knowledge. The capstone of the degree is the doctoral dissertation, an extended work based upon independent research. The dissertation demonstrates the candidate's command of both the subject matter and the exacting methods of scholarship, and makes an original contribution to knowledge.
Honorary degrees are conferred by Wilfrid Laurier University in recognition of outstanding scholarly, creative, or professional achievement or distinguished public and community service. The university may grant the following honorary degrees: Doctor of Laws (LLD), Doctor of Letters (DLitt), Doctor of Science (DSc) and Doctor of Divinity (DDiv).