BA vs BS: What are the Differences and What Do You Go For?

College is not exactly a walk in the park. For many people that attend college, deciding on a degree alone could be as difficult as a 300-level course. Most people are also thrown into college without proper preparations or explanations on how it exactly works, what do things mean, and what are expected from students. Every single person that attends college will have a completely different college experience than the one next to them. As socially inclined college may be, it’s actually as individual of an experience as anything else is. And with hundreds of thousands of kids that transition into college each year, you’d think that they would know what it’s all about. But that’s rarely the case.

One matter of confusion is in the differences between the degrees that you can get in college—particularly between the two Bachelor degrees. When you’re an undergraduate upper class senior, chances are you’re ready to graduate from college. You’re either going to get a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree depending on the course track you’ve chosen. However, some disciplines allow you to get either one. For example, if you’re majoring in Psychology, you could either get a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology or a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. And guess what? There’s an actual difference between the two.

Similarities of the Two

Let’s begin with a discussion on what’s similar with both degrees. Both Bachelor degrees should prepare you to go into either an academic or professional field. Both degrees should prepare you to pursue higher education or get right into the work force. While pursuing your Bachelor degree, you should have taken general education courses that provide basic levels of education in various studies such as communication, science, mathematics, arts, social science, and humanities. Your Bachelor degree course track should also provide you with enough upper level electives that provide you with some sort of specialization on your field of choice. You can take electives outside of your field of study, but it won’t necessarily count towards the completion of your degree. If you wish to take courses outside of your course track, you can do so simply for personal development.

The B.A.

The Bachelor of Arts Degree track is typically distinguished from the Bachelor of Science track in its specialization. The Arts track is usually less specialized in comparison. You’re required to have a minimum of 180 credits for your degree. 36 credits out of this total should be the required credits for your major and half of that number, 18 credits, should be at the 300-400 level. The Bachelor of Arts Degree is typical of studies in the humanities, communications, and social science fields. For example, if you’re majoring in languages, literature, or history, you can expect to get a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Having this degree does not mean that you can’t go into a specialized or technical profession. You certainly can, but you might be expected to take specialized courses in addition to your degree even after you’ve already received your degree.

The B.S.

The Bachelor of Science Degree track is considered to be the more specialized track. You’re still expected to have a minimum of 180 credits for your degree, but 54 credits out of those should be the required credits for your major. That’s a big difference compared to the Arts track. In addition, 27 of those credits should come from an upper level course, 300-400 level. That’s a 9 credit difference, which in most colleges translate to 3 courses. Being that this is a specialized or technical degree, you could expect a Bachelor of Science Degree when you’re trying to pursue a major in the field of science or mathematics. Most people who get a Bachelor of Science Degree go on to pursue further studies in medicine or engineering or even scientific research. With this degree, you can also get into a profession in that field of study right after college. This degree will prepare you to pursue these fields, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue a profession in the arts field with a Bachelor of Science Degree. Much like it’s counterpart, you might have to take additional courses to fulfill professional requirements if you wish to switch fields after you’ve received your degree.


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