B.A. – Bachelor of Arts
Among undergraduate degrees, the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is the most common one and normally takes three to four years to complete, depending on the country and the institution:
- Countries with 4-year Bachelors: The US, Japan, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Turkey
- Countries with 3-years Bachelors: all the EU countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway
B.A. is generally awarded to students in the Liberal Arts curriculum or in fields of study covered in the Humanities and Social Sciences, such as: literature, languages, history, journalism, anthropology, sociology, economics, psychology, international relations and more.
Colleges and universities offer different combinations of these disciplines. This is because no one can follow all the tracks, since each specialization covers a number of different topics. Also, once you have completed your BA, you can go into the professional world. The sphere of activity of the professional world covered by BA is immense. For example, if you study sociology as a subject when you finish your studies, you can become a counselor, social researcher, or social worker, etc. As you can see, you are not limited to one profession.
Don’t mistake a B.A. for a B.F.A. degree!
Unlike a Bachelor of Arts, which is an academic degree, a Bachelor of Fine Arts program (BFA) is a professional degree. In a B.F.A, most part of the coursework is dedicated to either visual or performing arts and only around one third of the course work involves studying Liberal Arts (History, Literature, Psychology, Philosophy).
B.Sc. – Bachelor of Science degree
Before Bachelors of Science were invented, all undergraduate programs were considered Bachelor of Arts, regardless of their specialization. The Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) is a type undergraduate degree mainly awarded to students of Natural Sciences, Engineering, Technology, Mathematics, Computer Science. The study duration of a Bachelor’s of Science program is also three to four years. BSc degrees can be found in other study areas like Business, Hospitality, Architecture, Nursing and Medicine.
There are different combinations of disciplines that are offered by universities, and students have to choose these combinations. When it comes to a BSc degree, you will a large number of jobs, provided you successfully complete your degree. Imagine you have a degree in biomedical sciences – you can become a teacher, a laboratory assistant, a senior medical officer, and so on.
WHAT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE BETWEEN BACHELOR OF ARTS (B.A.) AND BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (B.SC.)?
Both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees are valuable and allow you to access a Master’s degree after completion. The B.A. degree will develop your communication, analytical, writing, and critical thinking skills, while a B.Sc. will concentrate more on helping you see things from a functional, mechanical, and pragmatic perspective.
Therefore, the major difference between BA and BSc is the subjects. A bachelor’s degree is a personal choice, and you must weigh the pros and cons of the two before opting for either. We all know someone who fears Mathematics – in this case, they are better off doing a BA rather than a BSc.
Sometimes there is confusion between BSc and BA, because different universities follow different methods when offering a degree. For example, in the U.S., some liberal arts colleges offer only BA degrees, even for the natural sciences. So, you have to check with the university and make sure you they offer courses you are interested in.
Here are some brief advantages and disadvantages of Bachelors of Art and Bachelors of Science to guide you:
|A B.A. may be the best option if you know the field you want to study, but do not have a specific career in mind.||In general, a B.A. requires fewer credits. However, you may be able to take electives to compensate for this, allowing you to explore a related field, pursue a minor topic, or study additional topics that interest you.|
|Humanities courses can make you a better communicator, improve your critical thinking and creativity, and provide plenty of benefits that broadly apply to many careers.||Fewer specialization options|
|It is often easier to add a minor – or even another major – by using your options to meet the criteria for another program.|
|A BSc degree might be a better option if you know exactly what kind of job you want. Specialization options allow you to focus on the field you are interested in.||Less electives and less flexibility, which means you have less freedom to pursue other topics that interest you.|
|Some appreciate that they have a more clearly defined path to a certain extent. A Bsc can sometimes offer a simple course syllabus, allowing you to progress comfortably through the courses.||Some BSc programs may actually be so specialized that you need to already have a certain degree before you can enter the program.|
|Being more technical, specialized degree could give you an advantage over other job candidates.|
HOW TO CHOOSE BETWEEN BACHELOR OF ARTS (B.A.) AND BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (B.SC.)
Choose the field first!
Before you really consider the pros and cons of a BA vs a BSc, you should have an idea of the type of career you plan to pursue after graduation. Ideally, you should figure this out this before you start taking classes. But even if you are already well into college, focus on the ultimate goal.
Do you want a more specialized role in an organization? Are you interested in holding or leadership position? Are you good at interpersonal communication? These types of questions should help you decide what kind of degree is most likely to give you the skills and expertise you need to succeed in this field.
Choose the higher education institution based on the field
Most institutions are stronger in some programs than others. And some have a regional, national or even international reputation for exceptional students in a particular field. A degree of any kind from an institution with a good reputation in this field will have a greater impact than if that degree is a BA or BSc.
Compare the requirements
If your chosen institution offers both a BSc 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 to help you decide:
Are specialization options offered? Do you want this?
Does it seem more difficult than the other?
Do you want to follow a minor or double major? Which degree gives you the flexibility to do this?
Does the program include internships or other opportunities that can help you get a job?
Talk to your counselor
Since the differences between BSc and BA are so dependent on each institution, you probably want to talk to someone familiar with the two degrees – or who can connect you to someone who is. You can probably learn a lot by exploring them online, but if you have questions, ask your counselor.
When you choose a bachelor degree, you should take your time to choose wisely, as it will affect the next few years of your life. What degree do you wish to pursue?