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A degree is the name of several units of measurement, and also an academic qualification.

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A degree of arc, usually symbolized by the symbol °, is a measurement of plane angles, or of a location along a great circle of a sphere (such as the Earth or the celestial sphere); it represents going one-360th the way around the circumference of a circle or sphere. Where degree measures are used, you'll also find minutes (one-60th of a degree, or 1/21600 of the way around, symbolized by a single quotation mark) and seconds (one-60ths of a minute, or 1/1296000 of the way around , symbolized by a double quotation mark). Thus 40°12'13" is 40 degrees, 12 minutes, 13 seconds, or about 11/100 of the way around.

In more mathematical context, angles are usually measured in radians instead of degrees. One degree equals π/180 radians.

There was also an attempt to introduce a decimal degree, see gon.


Several units of measuring temperature. The symbol is usually ° followed by the initial letter, for example ° C.

Note that the SI unit of temperature, the kelvin, uses the symbol K and is not proceeded by "degrees" or the degree sign (°).

Mathematics and Physics

A "degree of freedom" is a concept in mathematics, physics and engineering. See the article "degrees of freedom" for the use of this concept.

The term degree can also be used to refer to the highest exponent of a term in a polynomial.

Education A degree is an award conferred on a person by an institution of higher education, generally in recognition of academic achievement, but in some cases merely as a honor for non-academic work (the later are called honorary degrees, or degrees honoris causa). A person issued a degree is permitted to place initials after their name indicating the award, and in some cases (Doctorates and Higher Doctorates) assume the title of Doctor (by custom people with doctorates honoris causa do not assume this title).

See also: Academic degrees: B.A., M.Sc.[?], M.A., MBA, M.D., J.D., Doctor of Philosophy

Medicine The term is used to specify levels of burns, ranging from first degree burns[?] to third degree burns[?].

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