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

powerabe13powerabe13 353 replies46 threads 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.
edited September 2012
19 replies
Post edited by powerabe13 on
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Replies to: Difference between B.S. and B.A.?

  • mol10emol10e 445 replies0 threads 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.
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  • redstaplerredstapler 163 replies4 threads 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.
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  • powerabe13powerabe13 353 replies46 threads Member
    Thanks for your responses! I suppose I can look into it for specific colleges/universities.
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  • DRabDRab 6047 replies57 threads 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.
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  • celebrian25celebrian25 15085 replies288 threads 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
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  • mol10emol10e 445 replies0 threads 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?
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  • celebrian25celebrian25 15085 replies288 threads 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.
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  • mol10emol10e 445 replies0 threads Member
    The BA and BS within the same department or different departments?
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  • DRabDRab 6047 replies57 threads 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.
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  • undecidedundecided 1973 replies56 threads 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.
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  • celebrian25celebrian25 15085 replies288 threads 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
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  • Teach2005Teach2005 226 replies2 threads 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.)
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  • tenisghstenisghs 3618 replies337 threads 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.
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  • kcal19985kcal19985 120 replies5 threads 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.
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  • DRabDRab 6047 replies57 threads 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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  • zooscopistzooscopist 1 replies0 threads New Member
    now there's new additions, to the tune of "BAS" and "AAS" degrees, too.

    Anyone have an idea what the difference is between BS and BAS? all I can get out of the college is that the credits are more transferrable. These are new since I was in college, and I have no idea what they're good for (if anything).

    ???
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  • Bluechic92Bluechic92 41 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Hey zooscopist.
    BS = Bachelors of Science ( which you already knew) and BAS= Bachelors of Applied Science!
    In some of the schools I have looked at BAS is offered in the engineering school and BS is offered in the ARt and science school or "college of science school".

    The difference really is in the degree.. Applied mathematics vs. mathematics ( honestly though I don't see much differences in the courses other than the couple of engineering courses you take for BAS which you can take as electives...

    In some colleges Computer Science is considered part of Engineering so you might get either a BAS or BSE

    However, Caltech I think offers only BS for all sorts of degree... SO honestly No difference other than the name?

    I seem to be rambling lol ... hope i sort of helped
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  • silence_kitsilence_kit 1822 replies4 threads Senior Member
    BS = bullshyte
    BA = bad-ass
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  • ShooterMcGavinShooterMcGavin 11 replies0 threads New Member
    There is such a minute difference between the degree types that it isn't even noticeable.

    When I attended college, the ONLY difference between the two was a B.S. degree required a year of mathematics, and the B.A. required a year of foreign language. I despised math and studied Polish for one year, thus deferring me to a B.A. degree. Those who earned a B.S. in Political Science only differed from me in their mathematics background.

    In the long run, they are both equal degrees.
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