Difference Between BS and BAThe value of a college degree is universally recognized in our society today. There are many decisions to make as you pursue your post-secondary degree. Which school will you attend? How will you pay for tuition? What type of degree will you pursue? As you plan your four year degree, consider the options available and choose wisely.

Know Your Degree

As you begin to look at degrees to decide your major, you will come across two varieties; a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA), or a Bachelor of Science degree (BS). A BA degree is a liberal arts degree which means that it emphasizes social science, languages and humanities. It provides the student with general knowledge in a wide variety of subjects and further emphasizes critical thinking and reasoning. A Bachelor of Science degree (BS) is a more specialized degree which is reserved for more technical or science related fields. Students who wish to pursue a BS rather than a BA degree should understand that they will likely be required to take more courses because of the specialized courses that will need to be taken in addition to general education requirements.

Common Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degrees

  • English
  • Art
  • Theater
  • Communications
  • Languages (Modern and Classical)
  • Music
  • American/ African American Studies

Common Bachelor of Science (BS) Degrees

  • Computer Science
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Nursing
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Biology

Selecting Your Career Path

Some students know immediately which career field they want to enter. Other students will take some time and effort to decide. If you are undecided, begin by taking general education requirements first. Then pursue specialized coursework. Each state has minimum requirements that must be met by all students. These can often be completed within the first year or two of a four year degree track. If you are uncertain about your career, consider talking to a career counselor. They can assist you in determining your strengths and weaknesses, and then selecting a career based on those attributes.

Choosing Your Degree

When deciding between a BS and a BA, you will need to determine what career field you will enter after graduating college. If you want to become an engineer, architect, or physician, a BS degree would be the appropriate degree type. Many colleges have career counselors who can help you select the most appropriate degree track depending on your talents and inclinations. It would be wise to meet with a counselor immediately upon enrolling. Then you will not waste time and money on courses that won’t go toward your degree. Typically a major must be declared by sophomore or junior year, and then more focused coursework can begin.

When it comes to selecting a BA or a BS degree, neither is better on its own merits. Determine your career field first, and then pursue the most appropriate degree.

DQ Staff

Updated June 2020

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