Guest blog post by Viktor Zdraveski
The type of degree you choose will have a significant influence on your future life, career, and earning potential. For that reason, you should think carefully: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science – which one is better?
Let’s learn about the difference between a BA and a BS degree.
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
BA degree programs provide a more expansive education. They typically include courses in English, foreign languages, humanities, and social sciences. Students can choose from a wide array of courses, which allows them great flexibility to customize their education to match their individual interests and life goals. BA degrees are commonly offered in fields such as art, music, communication, English, and modern languages.
Bachelor of Science (BS)
BS degree programs are more strictly focused on their subject matter. Students are expected to focus on mastering the practical and technical aspects of their field and there aren’t many opportunities to explore topics outside of their major. BS degrees are offered in scientific and technical areas such as mathematics, computer science, physics, biochemistry, and nursing.
How Are BS and BA Different?
In general, the main difference between these two types of degrees lies in the coursework. Many subjects, such as Engineering and Psychology are offered in both BA and BS. However, it is safe to say that BA is more focused on the humanities (ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, history, law, politics, religion, and art), whereas BS tends to be more focused on science and mathematics.
In most cases, the choice of the subject matter will define the type of degree you choose. For instance, only a small number of schools offer a BA in Chemistry, whereas finding a school that offers a BS in English is practically impossible.
On the other hand, certain subjects, such as business, psychology, and accounting are often offered in both BA and BS degree programs. In that case, students can choose between the more tightly focused approach of the BS track or the broader sweep of the BA track.
How to Figure Out What Degree You’ll Get
In most cases, once you declare, you will immediately figure out what type of degree you’ll receive. However, if the school you’re attending allows for both a BS and BA in a certain subject, things can be somewhat complicated. In that case, it’s best to consult your college advisor.
Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science: Which One Should You Choose?
As mentioned before, the type of degree you choose will have an influence on your future career. Some of the best colleges to consider include the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley, Dartmouth College, etc.
But how will you know if you’re making the right choice? Here are several important factors you should consider before making a final decision.
The first thing to consider is the standard in your field. If there are many people in your field with BA degrees, then you should also opt for a BA. There’s usually a good reason why it is the case, so going against the tide would not be wise.
If there is no standard to adhere to, go through the program’s requirements. If your plan is to move on to a master’s degree in the future, check if that degree requires a BS or a BA. For instance, if most people in your field go for an MSc, it’s best to get on the path early on by choosing a BS. People who are successful in your field should always serve as your exemplars.
Don’t forget to take into consideration your own preferences and capabilities. If you are good at writing and research, chances are you will be happier with a BA program. However, if you prefer developing theories or you are interested in applying science in the real world, you should opt for a BS. Choosing a subject you hate or you simply don’t understand will make you miserable and prevent you from succeeding.
Which Degree Do Employers Prefer?
There’s no universal answer to this question. Some employers’ requirements are quite specific when it comes to the type of degree, whereas others have no preferences. The best way to find out what is best is by doing research.
Generally speaking, employers are concerned whether your degree is relevant, not whether it is a BS or a BA. In other words, if the field you are looking at is appropriate, the type of degree won’t matter.
Understanding the difference between a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree can help you choose the program that is right for you.
Academically, BA degrees and BS degrees are valued equally. Both degrees offer students opportunities to continue their education at a higher level if that is their inclination. However, the coursework required for a BS degree generally fosters analytical skills and requires a more detailed understanding of the subject matter. On the other hand, a BA degree typically encourages students to sharpen their writing and communication skills, as well as broaden their horizons by creating cognitive baggage from various subjects and aspects of life.
When deciding which type of degree you’re going to choose, think about your personal preferences and strengths. What type of classes did you prefer in the past? What are you interested in studying at the moment? In addition, consider what career options you’d like to pursue in the future.