Preparing for college comes with a wide range of decisions. Do you go to a local school? Move away from home? Live on or off campus? What field or industry should you pursue? What degree would serve you best? There’s a lot to consider.
One more decision you’ll need to make is the type of degree plan to follow: a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. In many universities, you can choose to obtain either a BA or BS in multiple fields of study, such as psychology, education, or even chemistry. How do you determine which is the best educational path for you?
Your first step is to come to a better understanding of the difference between the two bachelor’s programs. What is the difference between a BA and a BS? Let’s take a deeper look at both the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science types of degree programs.
Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA)
A Bachelor of Arts degree provides a broader education in the corresponding major. They tend to focus more on communication-related coursework as well as focus on a minor area of study. With many BA plans, you may even have enough credits to opt for two minors or a double major. General requirements for a BA will include a number of liberal subjects, such as:
- Social Sciences
- Foreign languages
The education obtained with a BA degree is more diverse and typically will require fewer credits for completion than a BS degree. For example, when it comes to choosing between a BA and BS degree in Psychology, the BA degree program will require fewer statistics and math courses than a BS.
Major Requirements for a BA Degree
Completing a BA degree will require at least 120 credit hours or approximately 40 college courses. In a BA program, more than half of the courses will be general education requirements and other liberal art courses. By the end of your degree completion, you are likely to have only had 10 to 12 courses of major work.
Bachelor of Science Degree (BS)
Bachelor of Science programs tend to require courses that are more specialized for the major instead of more generalized or broad classes. Instead of communication-based studies, coursework will be more related to problem-solving and analytical thinking. While you may have a minor on a BS degree plan, you will have fewer credits to focus on this area. This additional focus on the major course of study often will result in more course credits to complete the degree and allow for little deviation from the major program courses for students looking to take classes related to their other interests. While BAs can be offered in almost any major field, a BS is often only offered for scientific and technical areas of study. Some of the most popular fields for a BS degree include:
- Computer Science
Though not as commonly offered in most universities, there are institutions that will offer a BS degree program in non-scientific or technological programs such as music.
Major Requirements for a BS Degree
Most Bachelor of Science programs will require a total of 120 to 128 credit hours to complete. The courses will consist of general education courses, elective classes, and major courses, though these programs often offer fewer elective credits than a BA. Some BS programs, such as those in the health field and engineering, may require clinical training as well as internships as part of the graduation requirements.
More BA and BS Degree Differences
The difference between Bachelor of Arts and Sciences also typically extends into what you plan to do with your final degree. For example, those who pursue a BA in psychology are often looking to go into counseling, while those working to obtain their BS degree in psychology may be planning for a career in research. This is due to the fact that there will be additional statistics and research methods in the Bachelor of Science degree plan coursework.
Another field where a BA and BS degree may differ in terms of your career future is in the field of computer science. Those pursuing a computer science degree to become engineers will benefit more from the additional math and science obtained from a BS degree.
In many colleges, the difference between a Bachelor of Arts degree and Bachelor of Science degree are minimal with the BA coursework requiring foreign language and an additional couple of liberal arts classes and the BS degree requiring two or more additional math or science course. The difference is often minimal, and if it does not have a bearing on your future career path, then it is simply up to the preference of the student.
How Your Choice Can Affect Continuing Education
There is one thing that is vital to consider when choosing between a BA and a BS program. That is whether or not you plan on pursuing a higher level of education after you obtain for bachelor’s degree. There are many career paths in the field of medicine, science, and engineering that require an advanced degree and a Bachelor of Science to be able to move to the upper levels of those professions. If you plan on becoming a medical doctor, engineer, or architect, then you should definitely choose the Bachelor of Science over the Bachelor of Arts.
A Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science Degree Program? Which is Right for You?
Choosing whether or not to seek out a BA or a BS degree will largely depend on whether you wish to experience a broader education or prefer to drill down on the specifics of your particular major. There is little chance that you will lose out on a job opportunity simply because you have chosen a BA over a BS degree or vice versa. More than likely, the college that you attend, courses that you have taken, and your experience will weigh more heavily on whether or not you obtain the position than the degree path you have chosen.
By today’s standards. In both the business world and the world of academia, a BA and BS are considered equal, neither one superseding the other. Though some prestigious institutions may still present a BA program as a more well-rounded form of education, the idea is considered dated. When determining which degree program will best suit your educational goals, you will first need to consider whether pursuing a higher level of education requires a specific degree.
If either degree is acceptable for your educational goals, then the choice between a BA and BS is largely up to your preference for coursework.
Learn about the various BA and BS degrees available at Post University.