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Psychology: BA vs. BS?

zpmqxonwzpmqxonw Posts: 1,052Registered User Member
edited August 2008 in Parents Forum
Hi parents,

I've received great advice here in the past and was hoping you guys might be able to help me again with another decision about my undergraduate career.

For background, I'm a student (senior standing) at a public flagship. I've really enjoyed the experience here and have done okay academically (3.9 in-major GPA, 3.6 overall). I was a pre-engineering major for a while, but then decided to switch to psychology at the beginning of this year because I enjoyed my classes in the subject so much.

Outside of school, I have a part-time position in the research division of a well-known hospital. I recently switched to a different research group and have talked with them about the possibility of a full-time position after graduation. I love my job now and would love to graduate soon, so that I can get more involved with the research.

Which brings me to my current dilemma, I suppose. The BS degree program at my university is a little more rigorous than the BA. I've completed almost all of the requirements for a BS, except for a two-quarter statistics course that is only offered twice a year (which I planned to take this Fall). I also have run into a little problem logistically because my research now is psychological, but because it is at a Children's hospital, it currently counts as pediatrics research credit (instead of psychology). If I decide to pursue the BS degree option, I would probably graduate next June.

I am starting to think it might be easier for me to just go for a BA. The statistics class this Fall is a challenge for me scheduling-wise (it is only offered in the middle of the day, but I would need to take it then since it is offered infrequently). The research credit problem would also be avoided (it's not needed for the BA), which would be nice. If I decided to pursue a BA instead of a BS I could still take the classes that interested me, but I would be able to have more flexibility with scheduling and such, which I would like.

I feel like the BA option might be a better option for me, but I am afraid of jeopardizing my chances for graduate school in the future. I'd like to go to graduate school eventually, but I'm young (just turned 19). My plan right now is to take a few years to get more research experience and save money for school in the future. I feel like I still need time to grow up a little and find what I'm really interested in, instead of just jumping into graduate school immediately after graduation.

I guess what I am wondering about is whether it would be "worth it" for me to jump through a few more hoops to get the BS? I have gotten the general impression that BAs are more prevalent in the psychology field (most of my coworkers earned them), so I'm not sure how much of an added advantage (if any) it would provide. I have completed many math and science courses (calculus, physics, chemistry, logic, etc.), so I don't think it would be too much of a challenge for me academically, although it may be a challenge logistically. I will definitely talk with my parents, advisers, and friends about this decision, as well, but I'd really appreciate your input here on CC. Thanks in advance ;)
Post edited by zpmqxonw on

Replies to: Psychology: BA vs. BS?

  • DougBetsyDougBetsy Posts: 5,828Registered User Senior Member
    It's my understanding that grad school is essential for anyone who wants a career in psychology. So I'd suggest looking around at grad schools to see what they require/prefer. They probably won't indicate a type of degree, but hopefully you'll see a list course pre-reqs.

    At the risk of over-simplifying, I think I heard that GENERALLY speaking, BS leans more toward research, while BA leans toward counseling.
  • zpmqxonwzpmqxonw Posts: 1,052Registered User Member
    Thanks for the reply, DougBetsy :)

    I guess I probably should clarify, I'm not sure that I would pursue a PhD in Psychology. At this point, I'm leaning more towards a degree a master's in public health (MPH). I don't know if that changes things.
  • tenisghstenisghs Posts: 3,955Registered User Senior Member
    @ zpmqxonw

    If you want to go to graduate school in psychology (PhD level especially), pursue the degree that will help you reach that next step. That's what I recommend.
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