A bachelor of arts (BA) is typically a three or four year degree granted by an institute of higher learning. The course and length of study can vary from country to country, and some bachelor of arts degrees taking as little as two or as many as six years to complete. As it is typically an undergraduate degree, a wide variety of subjects may be studied in both the sciences and humanities. If a rigorous course of science and mathematics is studied, a bachelor of sciences (BS) degree may be awarded instead. Another variant is the bachelor of fine arts degree (BFA), which may place a larger focus on performance or studio art.
There are a wide variety of different majors that can be associated with a bachelor of arts degree. Many bachelor's degree programs involve a two year course of general study followed by a further two years of focus on a particular major. During the period of general study, subjects such as math, language, science, and history may be explored. Regardless of the degree program, some level of study in these basic categories will often be required. In some cases, this can be seen as a more advanced extension of secondary eduction, where a broad range of subjects are often studied as well.
Each bachelor of arts major may have different course requirements. After the general study portion has been completed, a student will often advance to higher level courses in the arts and humanities. If an English degree is pursued, then advanced composition and literature courses may be taken. Journalism majors may focus on courses that involve honing the craft of writing, while performance art and music majors will have their own curriculum. It is sometimes possible to earn a bachelor of arts in math, though most majors with a heavy scientific focus will award a bachelor of sciences degree instead.
Due to the fact that a bachelor of arts is typically earned through an undergrad program, these degrees are often a prerequisite to pursuing a graduate course of study. Obtaining a bachelor of arts degree may be an end in itself, or it can be a stepping stone to studying for another degree such as a master's or doctorate. Some students may pursue an advanced degree immediately after earning their BA or BS, while others may instead enter the work force before beginning a new course of study at a later time.