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An associate's degree is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by community
colleges, junior colleges, technical colleges, and some four-year bachelor's degree-granting
colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study usually lasting two years. In
the United States and, uncommonly, in Canada, an associate's degree is equivalent to the
first two years of a four-year college or university degree. It is the lowest in the hierarchy of
post-secondary academic degrees offered in these countries.

It is roughly equivalent to the foundation degree and the Business and Technology Education
Council's Higher National Diploma in Britain, the two-year General Academic Studies Degree
(French: diplôme d'études universitaires générales, DEUG) in France, the Higher Education
and Training Awards Council's Higher Certificate in the Republic of Ireland[1]. In 2000, Hong
Kong introduced associate's degrees, as an equivalence to higher diplomas. These
programmes are mainly provided through affiliated colleges at universities. In 2004, Australia
added "associate degree" to the Australian Qualifications Framework. This title was given to
more academically focused advanced diploma courses. However, very few courses yet use
the new title.