Last week, while in Spain, I had the chance to speak with several higher education officials about how academia compares between Europe and the U.S. As someone who received his under-graduate degree in Europe and his graduate education in the U.S. many years ago, I was very intrigued. And this is what I found out.
When I went to college at the Universitat de Barcelona in Spain, European undergraduate degrees were five years. During those five years, all the subjects that you took were both a year long, and also were all related to your field of study. The advantage that I found in that system was the tremendous depth gained in your field upon graduation. The disadvantage was the length of time it took to graduate. Master’s degrees were virtually unknown and a doctorate was something you pursued only if you wanted to enter academia or go into some sort of research career in industry.