Using Bio-sciences as an example, below seems to be the norm for admission prerequisites.

US grad school in Bio-sciences: Have taken Bio 1 & 2, Chem 1 & 2, Physics 1 & 2 + some upper level Bio classes + GRE + a Bachelor's degree

European grad school in Bio-sciences: Have a Bio or closely related Bachelor's degree.

So... Is this "directly or very closely related Bachelor's degree" thing pretty much a must for most European schools? When Europeans decide to switch careers between undergrad & grad, they have to do another complete Bachelor's? any other countries like that?

closed as unclear what you're asking by jakebeal, gman, Mad Jack, scaaahu, Peter Jansson Jun 20 '15 at 7:33

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    If you do not like the way European countries are running their higher education, why study there? – Alexandros Jun 19 '15 at 14:00
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    To mimick your way of expressing this: When <insert place whose education system you seem to prefer>-s decide to continue their career after their first degree, they do not directly start where the undergrad left off, but they first have to repeat several years worth of basics because other students who do not at least have a Bachelor degree in at least a roughly related discipline can enter the grad studies as well? Alternatively, the university cannot simply check for a specific Bachelor's degree, but has to check participation in single courses one by one? Omg... :/ – O. R. Mapper Jun 19 '15 at 14:30
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    You may be over-generalizing about US grad schools. At many of the better ones, I would expect that "some upper level Bio classes" would mean "enough upper-level Bio classes that you would be eligible to earn a Bio major, and probably even more than that". (Even if that's not written in the minimum admission requirements, they may not actually admit any students who have less.) So in real life, the requirements may not be terribly different after all. – Nate Eldredge Jun 19 '15 at 15:10
  • Now that the implied belittling has been edited out, this can actually become a good question - as soon as it is made clear what exactly is asked here: Is the described model the default throughout Europe? Is it present anywhere else? Does it actually work as described? Why is it like that? ...? Possibly, each of these questions could or should be asked separately. – O. R. Mapper Jun 19 '15 at 17:54

aeismail covers the most important aspects. However, I want to add something to:

So... Is this "directly or very closely related Bachelor's degree" thing pretty much a must for most European schools? When Europeans decide to switch careers between undergrad & grad, they have to do another complete Bachelor's? Omg... :/ any other countries like that, too?

European universities do not operate like US schools. Historically, most undergrad / grad programmes, at least in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, are basically a 5-year "Diplomstudium" split into a 3-year bachelor and a 2-year master. Bachelor and master are seen as one "package", and indeed most students do both (in the same institution). You are not supposed to do the master without doing the same, or at least a very similar, bachelor first.

As for "switching careers between undergrad & grad" - you are in fact indeed not supposed to do that. It's possible between related programmes (say, going from math to computer science), but the admission committee will force you to take an host of additional courses, amounting to (typically) 1-2 additional semesters. Unrelated bachelors (e.g., from humanities to computer science) indeed do not qualify you to inscribe to the master programme.


This depends entirely on the nature of the program: basically, some master's programs are "continuous," meaning they have a bachelor's degree in (essentially) the same field as a prerequisite. If you have a related (but not identical) bachelor's degree, it may be possible to get approval, so long as you make up the "shortfall" between what your degree required and the requirements of the bachelor's that is the prerequisite for the master's degree. There's also the requirement that the shortfall not be too large (usually there's a limit to the number of extra semesters you can take to finish the expanded requirements.

However, many master's programs—particularly in interdisciplinary areas—allow you to enter with a bachelor's in any relevant field. This is especially necessary when it's unlikely for there to be many (or any) bachelor's program in the same area.

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