By ladders, or else by degree. --Rom. of R.
2. One of a series of progressive steps upward or downward,
in quality, rank, acquirement, and the like; a stage in
progression; grade; gradation; as, degrees of vice and
virtue; to advance by slow degrees; degree of comparison.
3. The point or step of progression to which a person has
arrived; rank or station in life; position. ``A dame of
high degree.'' --Dryden. ``A knight is your degree.''
--Shak. ``Lord or lady of high degree.'' --Lowell.
4. Measure of advancement; quality; extent; as, tastes differ
in kind as well as in degree.
The degree of excellence which proclaims genius, is
different in different times and different places.
5. Grade or rank to which scholars are admitted by a college
or university, in recognition of their attainments; as,
the degree of bachelor of arts, master, doctor, etc.
Note: In the United States diplomas are usually given as the
evidence of a degree conferred. In the humanities the
first degree is that of bachelor of arts (B. A. or A.
B.); the second that of master of arts (M. A. or A.
M.). The degree of bachelor (of arts, science,
divinity, law, etc.) is conferred upon those who
complete a prescribed course of undergraduate study.
The first degree in medicine is that of doctor of
medicine (M. D.). The degrees of master and doctor are
sometimes conferred, in course, upon those who have
completed certain prescribed postgraduate studies, as
doctor of philosophy (Ph. D.); but more frequently the
degree of doctor is conferred as a complimentary
recognition of eminent services in science or letters,
or for public services or distinction (as doctor of
laws (LL. D.) or doctor of divinity (D. D.), when they
are called honorary degrees.