BA vs BS Degree – Difference in Bachelor’s Programs

Prospective college students often grapple with the decision between pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. This blog aims to provide a detailed exploration of the differences between the two, shedding light on the unique characteristics of each and helping students make informed decisions based on their academic and career goals.

Understanding BA and BS Degrees:

BA stands for Bachelor of Arts, while BS stands for Bachelor of Science. The primary distinction lies in the focus and specialization of the curriculum. Generally, a BA is more humanities and arts-oriented, offering flexibility in elective coursework. On the other hand, a BS tends to be more specialized, involving STEM courses, lab work, and fewer elective options.

Majors and Degree Types:

Certain majors are commonly associated with either a BA or BS degree. For instance:

Popular BA Degrees:

  • History
  • English
  • Sociology
  • Foreign Language
  • Studio Art
  • Theater
  • Philosophy
  • Education
  • Communication
  • African American Studies

Popular BS Degrees:

  • Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Nursing
  • Neuroscience
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Common BS or BA Options:

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Psychology

Choosing Between BA and BS:

Neither degree is inherently superior; the choice depends on individual goals and preferences. In some fields, a BS may better prepare students for advanced degree programs, especially in research and academia. The difficulty of each degree varies based on the student’s strengths and interests, with a BS often requiring more major-specific credits.

Examples of Academic Disciplines:

  1. Business:
    • Drexel University offers both BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) and BSBA (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration) degrees. The BBA emphasizes a liberal arts approach, while the BSBA focuses on STEM courses for analytical skills.
  2. Economics:
    • Universities like the University of Washington and Santa Clara University provide both BA and BS options in economics, catering to diverse academic preferences.
  3. Psychology:
    • Stony Brook University offers both BA and BS programs in psychology, with the BS option placing more emphasis on natural sciences and mathematics, preparing students for graduate school.
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BA vs. BS Degree Summary:

  • BA (Bachelor of Arts):
    • Less math/science focused.
    • Involves fewer major-specific credits.
    • Offers more room for electives.
  • BS (Bachelor of Science):
    • Often includes more math/science coursework.
    • Requires more major-specific credits.
    • Offers less room for electives.


As you navigate the decision between a BA and BS, consider your academic strengths, career aspirations, and the specific requirements of your chosen field. Remember that neither degree is inherently superior; the right choice depends on your individual goals and preferences.


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