If you are looking at college degree programs, you may have begun to get overwhelmed by the number of choices available. Some of the more common degrees you will see are the BA (Bachelor of Arts), BS (Bachelor of Science), and BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts). Although you may even find some of the following degrees offered at your university as well: BSW (Bachelor of Social Work), B.Eng (Bachelor of Engineering), or B.Arch (Bachelor of Architecture). For the purpose of this article, we are going to stick with the two most common degrees: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science.
Now, you may assume that one would get a Bachelor of Arts degree in an arts or Humanities subject (Music, Art History, English, etc.) and a Bachelor of Science degree in a Math or Science subject (Biology, Statistics, etc.) . However, if you look at your college catalog, you may find that you can get a BA in Biology, or even a BS in Theater … what gives?
Well, in these two degrees, the 'Arts' or 'Science' part does not design WHAT you studied, but instead HOW you studied it. A Bachelor of Arts degree is a liberal arts degree. Generally, out of 120 credits, only 30-40 are in the major. This allows for lots of flexibility, but not a ton of focus on the major. A Bachelor of Science degree on the other hand, requires 50-70 credits in the major and may also require cognates or limited electives. This provides a more focused, but slightly less well rounded degree.
So, how do you decide which one to go for? Well, first you will want to see which degrees your school offers in your major. If they only offer one or the other, then you have no choice. However, if you are lucky enough to have your pick between the two, then you have some choosing to do. Think about how intensely you wish to study your major. If this is something you wish to truly focus on for four years, then go with a BS degree. If you like your major, but wish to undertake a minor, double major, or simply take a lot of electives, then you may wish to take the BA degree.
The next step you should take is to look at your college's catalog and check out the course requirements for each degree. Sometimes different courses are required for each. For example, a statistics course may be required for a BS, but a foreign language course may be required for a BA. Simply look at the requirements and choose the one which excites you the most.