Diplomas generally give the name of the institution, signatures of officials of the institution (generally the president or rector of the university as well as the secretary or dean of the component college), type of degree conferred, conferring authority, and location at which the degree is conferred. Diplomas generally are printed on high-quality paper or parchment; individual institutions set the preferred abbreviation for their degrees.
The Bachelor of Arts is usually attained in four years in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Armenia, Canada, Greece, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Serbia, Spain, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Russia, Ireland, South Korea, Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, Hong Kong, the United States, and most of the Americas. Degree attainment generally takes three years in nearly all of the European Union and Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, Israel, New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, Singapore, the Caribbean, South Africa, Switzerland and the Province of Quebec in Canada. In Pakistan, the Bachelor of Arts can also be attained within two years as an external degree.
In colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand, Nepal and South Africa, the BA degree can be taken over three years of full-time study. Students must pursue at least one major area of study, and units from that subject are usually studied in each year, though sometimes students may choose to complete upper-level classes in the same year and as a result, can leave space for elective subjects from a different field. At some universities students may choose to pursue a second major; alternatively, the remainder of the degree is taken up with a minor area of study (in the first two years) and other individual or stream-based subjects make up the degree.
Unlike in other countries, students do not receive an overall grade for their Bachelor of Arts degree with varying levels of honours ("honours" is a distinction but not part of the degree itself). Qualified students may be admitted, after they have achieved their (general) Bachelor's program with a high overall grade point average, to a further one year Bachelor (with) Honours degree program ((with) Honours is part of the degree itself). Thus, to achieve a Bachelor (with) Honours degree (abbr. e.g. BA (Hons.) or BA hons.), an extra "postgraduate" year and a high research honour's thesis must be completed; see Honours Degrees. A student who holds a (with) Honours degree is eligible for direct entry to either a Doctorate (Ph.D.) or a very high research Master´s degree program.
Education in Canada is controlled by the Provinces and can be very different depending on the province in Canada. Canadian universities typically offer a 4-year Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees. In many universities and colleges, Bachelor of Arts degrees are differentiated either as Bachelors of Arts or as honours Bachelor of Arts degree. The term "Honours" is an academic distinction, which indicates that students must achieve their Bachelor of Arts degree with a sufficiently high overall grade point average; in addition, some programs may require more education than non-honours programs.