What’s the Difference Between a B.A. and B.S. Degree?

Posted by IPFW Admissions Team on 12/15/15 8:00 AM

Don mascot in full graduation garbIf you’re confused about programs that offer a Bachelor “of Science” and Bachelor “of Arts” degree, don’t worry—both of them hold academic merit.

Both degrees typically offer the same core curriculum—math, science, English composition, and so on—and both are valued by employers in terms of getting a job after you graduate.

Colleges typically offer one or the other, depending on the major. Occasionally, you’ll have the choice of which degree to pursue within the same field. So what’s the difference?


Bachelor of Arts

A Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree usually has fewer set-in-stone requirements, which leaves more room for students to pursue free electives. You can think of a B.A. as your traditional “liberal arts” degree, which will encourage you to take courses in subjects outside your major to give you a more well-rounded education.

Majors such as English, French, History, and others are often offered as Bachelor of Arts programs.


Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees typically focus more on the major of choice, with coursework in related or supporting areas and fields. B.S. degrees often have more requirements in specialized study, but less flexibility in terms of choosing electives outside of your major.

Majors in the physical sciences and engineering fields are often offered as B.S. programs.

Both degrees hold the same academic value and neither one is “better” than the other. When it comes down to it, the choice is merely how structured and focused you want your studies to be: do you want to be concentrated on your major (B.S.), or are you looking for a broader liberal arts education (B.A.)?

(Don’t sweat it—most of the time, the major you choose will determine which degree you’re working towards).

And remember, exploring degrees and majors is just one part of the college research and application process. 

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Topics: Choosing a Major





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