What is the Difference Between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science?

B. Miller
B. Miller
It usually takes four years for a student to earn either a B.A. or a B.S. degree.
It usually takes four years for a student to earn either a B.A. or a B.S. degree.

The differences between a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degree (abbreviated B.A. and B.S., respectively) are important to consider when selecting a degree program. In general, a B.A. is a more well-rounded degree and is offered for programs in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. A B.S. is a more specialized degree, usually given in the sciences, mathematics, or technology, and it is typically intended to get students ready for a specific career. Both degree categories typically take about four years to complete, but this can be longer depending on any additional requirements set by the individual university.

Choosing to pursue a degree is one of the most important steps an individual can take in furthering his or her career; each of these degrees has a number of advantages, though one may be better suited than the other. A B.A. typically features a wider variety of classes, such as language, arts, and literature, to name a few; this is why this degree is often recommended for students who will likely pursue further study, such as toward a master's or doctoral degree, rather than entering a specific career immediately upon graduation.

A B.S. often includes more specialized courses, with a number of hands-on classes designed to give students specific career skills. This can make it easier for a student to immediately enter a specific career after graduating. Of course, this is not to imply that students who pursue the other type of degree are not also career-ready upon graduation, or that students with a B.S. never pursue advanced degrees. This determination depends on the specific type of degree pursued and the individual student's goals; some students also choose to double degree, and get both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degree at graduation.

In general, either of these degrees will take four years to complete, on average. Some might each require an internship or other applied learning experience, but this is more common in the science degrees. Students may find that a bachelor of science degree will take a bit longer to complete, but this largely depends on the specifics of the particular program, as well as on the student and the amount of time he or she has to devote to coursework and additional applied work in a lab, which is required in many science degree programs. Double degree programs may also take a year or two longer.

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    • It usually takes four years for a student to earn either a B.A. or a B.S. degree.
      It usually takes four years for a student to earn either a B.A. or a B.S. degree.