Electing to pursue a four-year degree is a life-changing decision countless Americans make every year. Identifying the most appropriate program of study and subject matter makes finding a suitable college or university much less of a daunting task. Although myriad factors likely will play a role in the ultimate decision, understanding the integral differences between a BA versus BSC acronyms will provide a valuable steppingstone.

Nationally Recognized Standards

American universities and colleges typically award degrees according to nationally recognized standards. Post-high school educational awards usually begin with a certificate of completion.

An associate's (AA) generally necessitates two years of study and can be completed at any accredited institution, including a community college. A bachelor's degree, also called an undergraduate degree, typically consists of four years of study. A contender for a bachelor's does not have to possess an AA.

Bachelor's degree-level courses must be taken at an accredited four-year institution. Contenders may choose to pursue their bachelor's via one of two routes. A Bachelor of Arts (BA) favors those who wish to pursue a subject that falls within the arts or humanities disciplines. A Bachelor of Science (BS) is awarded to students who show academic proficiency in science-related disciplines. The acronym BSC is simply an alternative way some schools choose to refer to the Bachelor of Science.

The BS and BSC are generally indistinguishable. In addition, both the BA and BS (or BSC) demonstrate the same level of academic achievement. Neither is more or less highly regarded.


Although the BA and BS (or BSC) typically recognize different abilities in different subject areas, they do share certain commonalities. Both a BA and BS (or BSC) require approximately 180 hours of coursework. Both provide an in-depth of knowledge in a given academic or professional field. Both arm students with a basic university-level education in core areas, namely math, science, English, social sciences, arts and humanities. Both also allow a student to pursue elected courses in line with personal career or subject preferences.

Unique to the BA

Students awarded a BA degree typically complete a series of courses in the following fields: arts, humanities, foreign languages, natural sciences, social sciences, behavioral sciences and quantification.

Unique to the BS (or BSC)

Students pursuing a BS degree complete coursework more closely focused on natural and social sciences. Contenders for a BS degree delve less into liberal arts-related subjects and more into subject-specific classes, namely computer programming, engineering, business administration that prepares them for a career in a specific field. Those wishing to pursue a medical degree often opt for a BS major and complete pre-med classes (courses required for admission into medical school) during the undergraduate degree phase.

Admission Requirements

Although admission to BA and BS degree programs likely will vary among universities, certain basic criteria remains standard. Most colleges and universities accepting students to a bachelor's program will mandate proof of a high school diploma or GED certificate. SAT scores also will play a key role in the admissions process. Transcripts denoting high school grades also are required as is an application essay outlining your career goals and professional aspirations. Most universities also ask prospective students to include a letter of recommendation from at least one person familiar with their work.

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