Several thousand years ago there was a grove near Athens, Greece. It was sacred to the goddess of wisdom. It was called Akademus. It was a closed area, with membership by invitation only. The most famous member was Aristotle. He had such a high opinion of himself that to this day his name is still a synonym for "arrogant jerk".
The same system exists today, except now it is enforced by law. A school can not give its graduates academic degrees without permission from the state. A bachelor degree is the lowest level of achievement. There is a master degree, but in most fields it doesn't mean anything. And there is the Doctor Of Philosophy degree, PhD. The PhD is not conferred for excellence of study. A candidate can pass all requirements and still be denied a degree just because other PhDs don't like they way he thinks.