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An academic degree is a college or university diploma, often associated with a title and sometimes associated with an academic position, which is usually awarded in recognition of the recipient having either satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study or having conducted a scholarly endeavour deemed worthy of his or her admission to the degree. The most common degrees awarded today are associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Most higher education institutions generally offer certificates and several programs leading to the obtainment of a Master of Advanced Studies, which is predominantly known as a Diplôme d'études supérieures spécialisées under its original French name. (via Freebase)