What Are the Different Types of BA Degree Requirements?

Micah MacBride
Micah MacBride
A student receiving a BA.
A student receiving a BA.

A BA, or Bachelors of Arts degree, represents the successful completion of what is generally a three or four year program of study at a college or university. The knowledge which students acquire over the course of this program typically qualifies them for jobs that require such a degree, as well as preparing the student to pursue graduate studies. BA degree requirements vary from institution to institution, but can include any combination of coursework, internships, and research projects.

Universities that require internships for graduation generally have partnerships with businesses and organizations located nearby.
Universities that require internships for graduation generally have partnerships with businesses and organizations located nearby.

Every student pursuing a BA picks a subject matter on which he or she will take the majority of his or her classes. This is generally called a major or specialization. Each major's BA degree requirements dictate a specific set of progressively more difficult courses in that subject area which the student must successfully complete. These usually consist of lower division courses, which introduce the fundamental concepts of the field, and upper division courses, each of which tackles an advanced subject within the field in great detail.

In the United States, BA degree requirements usually include what is referred to a core curriculum or general education. To fulfill this requirement, students have to take courses in subjects outside their major. A chemistry major would have to take courses in the humanities, such as philosophy, and a philosophy major would have to take courses in math and science. Institutions usually require this to ensure every graduate has a broad and interdisciplinary education in addition to his or her specialized major.

Some universities prefer that graduates have practical experience in their area of study before they graduate. These institutions have BA degree requirements that students must spend time interning with a business, organization, or government office in which they can use the material they are learning in the classroom. Universities that require internships for graduation generally have partnerships with businesses and organizations located nearby. This ensures that students who cannot get such positions elsewhere can still fulfill all their graduation requirements.

Senior projects are another way that some universities work practical experience into their BA degree requirements. These both give graduating students something to put on their resumes, and afford students the opportunity to pull together and apply the different concepts they have learned over the course of their undergraduate education. The exact focus of the project often depends on the individual student's major: an engineering student could make a vehicle with a novel power source; a chemistry student could conduct a laboratory experiment on the behavior of a particular substance; and a political science student could undertake a research project on voter behavior in a particular election.

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    • A student receiving a BA.
      A student receiving a BA.
    • Universities that require internships for graduation generally have partnerships with businesses and organizations located nearby.
      By: Jenner
      Universities that require internships for graduation generally have partnerships with businesses and organizations located nearby.