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From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
A degree is a qualification awarded by an institute of higher education such as a university, following the successful completion of an course of study or a research programme. Some degrees entail the submission of a thesis, while others may be achieved through examination or be awarded for exceptional work. The significance of a qualification may vary from country to country or university to university: for example, Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) covers a range of qualifications. Other academic awards are titles: for example, a professor is usually a job title. Degrees may be strictly honorary, awarded for achievement in a related or non-academic field.