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Difference between B.S. and B.A.?

powerabe13powerabe13 Posts: 399Registered User Member
edited September 2012 in Other College Majors
Hello. I plan to major in biological sciences, but found out that there were two types: B.S. and B.A. I'm an incoming freshman in college for Fall 2006, and I wasn't sure about this. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Post edited by powerabe13 on
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Replies to: Difference between B.S. and B.A.?

  • mol10emol10e Posts: 445Registered User Member
    For many majors there is literally no difference between a BA and a BS. Different colleges will grant a BA degree for the same curriculum that another college will grant the BS. If a school offers a BA and a BS in the same major then any difference between the two is likely due to different requirements. In terms of getting into graduate school or getting a job it makes very little difference. It should not really factor into any decision about schools you apply to or attend.
  • redstaplerredstapler Posts: 167Registered User Junior Member
    It varies with each college. But usually with the sciences, the BS has more requirements, suited to be a broad sampling of the subject, and the BA has less requirements, making it a good choice if biology is a second degree or paired with a humanities degree.
  • powerabe13powerabe13 Posts: 399Registered User Member
    Thanks for your responses! I suppose I can look into it for specific colleges/universities.
  • DRabDRab Posts: 6,107Registered User Senior Member
    Even though they are quite similar, I thought that the BA tends to have more broad requirements in all fields and represents a broader overall education, whereas the BS tends to be more focused towards one particular field or area of study.
  • celebrian25celebrian25 Posts: 15,373Registered User Senior Member
    B.A.- more broad, takes less courses, don't take as many advanced classes, more time for electives, easier to double-major.

    B.S.-much more difficult to double-major, more advanced topics, more suitable for those planning on becoming professionals in it (like a chemistry b.s. becoming a chemist, etc), more research oppurtunities, more courses
  • mol10emol10e Posts: 445Registered User Member
    Differential requirements from college to college do not allow these kind of generalizations regarding BS and BA. To say that BA candidates don't take as many advanced classes as BS students doesn't make any sense particularly when you take into account that in the typical liberal arts college more departments grant the BA than the BS. That means that the majors in the BA departments wouldn't take the advanced classes in their own major?
  • celebrian25celebrian25 Posts: 15,373Registered User Senior Member
    No. I'm talking about colleges that offer BOTH the B.A. and the B.S., not when a college only offers one. When only one is offerred, they are much more alike, but when both are offerred, there are som differences.
  • mol10emol10e Posts: 445Registered User Member
    The BA and BS within the same department or different departments?
  • DRabDRab Posts: 6,107Registered User Senior Member
    Perhaps there is a trend that students are required to take a larger number of advanced classes in the specific field for a BS and less so for a BA.
  • undecidedundecided Posts: 2,029Registered User Senior Member
    I've always thought the difference was a lot in the semantics, but I attended a school that had both and looked at a few others.

    Generally speaking, the B.S. has more "core" requirements -- more advanced requirements in math and (since I'm speaking about biology) organic chemistry. The B.S. is the one that requires you to take the "Physics for [Physics] Majors" series instead of the "Physics for Science" series, for example.
  • celebrian25celebrian25 Posts: 15,373Registered User Senior Member
    Well something else I've noticed is that at some schools, it's better to take the B.A. and take additional/fill your electives with some of the B.S. clases to get accredidation or just to take some more advanced classes, but still have a lot of movement in the curriculum
  • Teach2005Teach2005 Posts: 228Registered User Junior Member
    I can only speak for where I went to school....

    B.A. degrees did not vary in prestige from B.S. degrees. They varied in the requirements. A B.A. degree (Bachelor of Arts) had more of a liberal arts focus. Many areas lend themselves to this degree such as English. It tends to have more required classes in those liberal arts areas, regardless of major. A B.S. (Bachelor of Science) has more of a science focus. Students receiving this degree, regardless of major, will be required to complete more science hours.

    This varies from school to school though. Look into the individual programs and see what the differences in requirements are for them. Sometimes the differences are surprisingly small. (For example: I have a master's degree in education, an M.Ed. At the conclusion of my program I took a 3 hour comprehensive exam. If I had wanted an M.S. in education rather than an M.Ed., I would have taken the exact same classes, but would have written a thesis rather than taking the comprehensive exam. That was the only difference in the two programs at the school I attended.)
  • tenisghstenisghs Posts: 3,955Registered User Senior Member
    BA = more liberal arts oriented
    BS = more pre-professional oriented

    I'm getting a BS in Education and Social Policy, however I still had somewhat of a liberal arts foundation (i'm a double major in a liberal arts major). It's just that I'm concentrated more focusly on educational policy, civil rights policy and urban studies rather than taking a broad array of courses.
  • kcal19985kcal19985 Posts: 125Registered User Junior Member
    At UC Berkeley, the major that I am interested in Molecular and Cell Biology Major is a B.A., but others like Environmental Biology and Nutritional Sciences are B.S. degrees. Dunno why it works this way.
  • DRabDRab Posts: 6,107Registered User Senior Member
    At Berkeley, it's about the collegs. The College of Letters and Sciences only grants Bachelors of the Arts degrees. MCB is in L and S, hence, MCB majors get a B.A. degree. Environmental Biology and Nutri Sci are in the College of Natural Resources, hence, they don't only grant B.A. degrees. Maybe the college of natural resources almost all or only grants BS degrees.
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