BS vs BA | Major Differences Between Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts

Just like there are different colleges and universities for students to choose from, there are BS and BA majors to choose from too.

While programs might be the same, the degrees to be awarded might differ. In this post, we’ll place side by side, the two degrees: Bachelors of Arts Vs Bachelor of Science.

But before I tell you what you want to know about these two degrees, it is important you note that the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science are all four-year undergraduate degrees but the main difference between these two types of degrees is the frame of the coursework students are required to complete in order to earn them.  

In this article, I will show you the differences you would want to know between a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of sciences degree. Stay on to learn more.

What is a Bachelor of Arts Degree?

The B.A. is a bachelor’s degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally takes three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. It is usually tagged to undergraduate studies such as Languages, Arts& Music, Communication, & the majority of the areas from the Humanities field.

A Bachelor of Arts degree program is about theoretical knowledge on certain subjects also it’s the perfect option for students who intend to later follow a Master’s or Ph.D. degree in precisely the exact same field – especially if they’re thinking about pursuing a career in research or teaching.

A bachelor of arts program tends to give you a broader understanding of the field you’re majoring in, providing you with courses in the key subject areas and supplementing them with a strong foundation in the humanities—requiring courses in social sciences, communications, history, language, and English. BA programs may also require more elective credits, allowing you to explore a related field, pursue a minor, or study additional topics that interest you

The following are examples of countries with four years’ Bachelors: U.S., Japan, Spain, Greece, Ireland, and Turkey while these are countries with three years’ Bachelor: all of the EU states, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Norway.

Below are some of the pros and cons you may need to consider before choosing which degree to pursue.

Disadvantages of B.A DegreesAdvantages of B.A Degrees
Generally, fewer of your credits are in your desired field. (However, you may be able to use electives to compensate for this.) A bachelor of arts degree may be the better option if you know the field you want to get into, but don’t have a particular career in mind.
There are usually fewer specialization options. Courses in the humanities can make you a better communicator, improve critical thinking and creativity, and provide other benefits that broadly apply to many careers.
It’s often easier to add a minor—or even another major—by using your electives to meet the criteria for another program.

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What is a B.S. or B.Sc (Bachelor of Science)?

A bachelor of science degree is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years, or a person holding such a degree.

Before the Bachelor of Science was invented, all the undergraduate programs were referred to as a Bachelor of Arts, no matter the specialization. However, since the British always would like to be special, ” the University of London thought to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in 1860. And they are everywhere. A bachelor of science program is typically more specialized. They tend to offer some sort of concentration, specialization, or emphasis option that takes the place of most (if not all) of your electives. (Some BA programs offer these as well, but it’s more common in BS programs.)

This tends to be a more technical degree, with more advanced courses in your field of choice and more in-depth education in a particular area. A bachelor of science may also offer a more clearly defined path than a bachelor of arts, with a larger portion of required courses.

The Bachelor of Science is more like the title for degrees in sciences (Computer Science, Engineering, Health Sciences, and you name it). But when you think closely you may possibly locate some B. Sc. in Business, Nursing, Law, or Architecture. What sets such a level aside from the B.A. is its own technical orientation, including laboratory work and practical experience or exercises.

Just like a Bachelor of Arts program, a Bachelor of Science usually takes three to four years to finish, depending on the country, the university, and the subject area. In the USA and Canada as an example, most B.S. programs usually last four years.

Below are some of the pros and cons you may need to consider before choosing which degree to pursue.

Disadvantages of B.Science Degrees Advantages of B.Science Degrees
Fewer electives and less flexibility mean you could have less freedom to pursue other subjects that interest you.A BS degree could be the better option if you know exactly what kind of job you want. The specialization options let you focus your curriculum on the part of your field that matters to you.
Some BS programs may actually be so specialized that they require you to already have a degree of some sort before you can enter the program (this is relatively rare though). Some people appreciate having a more clearly defined path to a degree. A bachelor of science can sometimes provide a straightforward course schedule, letting you comfortably progress through the program.
Since this is generally a more technical, specialized degree, having a BS instead of a BA on your resume could give you an edge against other candidates for jobs.

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The only major similarity between a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science is that they are BOTH four-year degree courses, also there may be plenty of overlap or similarities in the courses you take.

Both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree courses offer the exact same value and recognition after completion. They both can pave the way into your Master’s level.

Areas of Study where B.A and B.Sc.Degrees Overlap?

There are degrees that are now being presented in both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science tracks by some universities. If you should be interested in pursuing one of those subjects which are naturally linked to the sciences (math, physics, or chemistry), in the majority of universities you’ll have the choice to choose a Bachelor of Science program.

The source of this combination between both kinds of subjects goes back all of the way to Ancient Greece. Fields such as Psychology, Accounting, and Business are courses that may occasionally be offered in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science programs. In this case, the only difference between the two programs is their course outline. Bachelor of Arts focuses on theory while courses in the sciences focus on practical skills (B.Sc.).

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What is the difference between BA and BS? ||B.A. or B.S. which one to choose

The primary difference between the two types of degrees is majorly the focus of the coursework that students are required to complete in order to earn them.

Though a B.A. degree will probably be dedicated to developing writing and communication skills while a B.S. will concentrate more on assisting you to view things from an analytical and practical outlook.

Also, a BS degree requires more credits than a BA degree because a BS degree is more focused on a specific major. Students are required to focus on studying their major at a more in-depth level. Nevertheless, none of the degrees is better than the other.

Tips for deciding between a BA and a BS

Obviously, you may now see you have got no problems pursuing any career of your choice. The difference between a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science probably isn’t going to affect you in your career pursuit. That being said, if you need help deciding between these two four-year degrees, here are some tips you may need.

Before you really consider the pros and cons of a BA vs. a BS degree, you should have some idea of the kind of career you intend to pursue after school. Ideally, you should figure this out before you start taking classes. But even if you’re already well into your college education, focus on your end goal.

Do you want a more specialized role in an organization? Are you interested in holding a leadership or management position? These kinds of questions should help you decide which kind of degree is most likely to give you the skills and expertise you need to be successful in that field.

If you’ve already chosen a school or started attending classes, you probably won’t even have to think about choosing a BS or a BA—just choose your field. You’ll receive whatever designation your school offers for that degree.

Most schools are stronger in certain programs than others. And some schools have a regional, national, or even international reputation for producing exceptional students in a particular field. A degree of any kind from a school with a good reputation in that field is going to have a bigger impact than whether that degree is a BA or BS.

If your school offers both a BS and a BA in your desired field, take a look at the course requirements to see how each program would actually affect your education. Here are some questions that might help you decide:

  • Does one provide specialization options? Do you want those?
  • Does one appear to be more challenging than the other?
  • Do you want to pursue a minor or double major? Which degree gives you the flexibility to do that?
  • Are some courses only available in one program? Do you want to take those courses?
  • Does one program include internships or other opportunities that could help you land a job?

A BS probably isn’t going to give you a huge advantage over other equally-experienced job candidates with BAs, but if a hiring manager is going to favor one degree over the other, they’re almost sure to favor a BS. Again, choosing a quality school and having a degree in the right field is probably going to have the biggest impact besides your relevant work experience, but people are more likely to be biased in favor of a BS than a BA in a technical field.

I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but since the differences between a BS and a BA are so dependent on your school, you probably want to talk to someone who’s intimately familiar with the two programs—or who can connect you to someone who is. You can probably get a good enough feel for the programs by exploring them online, but if you have questions, ask them.

Choosing a degree is a big decision, and if it’s going to affect the next several months or years of your life, it’s worth taking the time to choose wisely.

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Before you opt in for any of these degrees, simply ask yourself whether you really would rather learn lots of novels and eventually become a master in article writing or if you’d like to contour your technical abilities and also obtain more associated with lab and research work. This will help you make your choice.


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