A college degree can increase your salary potential because of the experience you have earned from the classwork and studies. A college degree can open up opportunities for your profession, and it also inspires students to explore new ideas and interact with a larger, more diverse set of individuals who are also pursuing higher education goals.

Depending on where you attend college and what major you intend to pursue, there are a few vital differences between a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree.

Difference Between B.A. and B.S. Degrees

Both degrees have the same foundation of math, English, reading and writing comprehension and a smattering of basic science and social studies. From there, the degrees diverge into more specific areas. The difference between a B.A. vs. B.S. is the major and the minor. A B.S. doesn't allow much room for a minor that doesn't directly relate to the major.

Related Articles

Usually, a Bachelor of Science degree requires more class credits than a Bachelor of Arts. For instance, a school can offer a B.A. and a B.S. in psychology, and the B.S. will require completion of more math and statistics courses.

Courses for a B.A. Degree

A Bachelor of Arts degree covers a large area of interests, mostly chosen by the student and what grabs his attention. Coursework for a B.A. degree covers a wider area than the more focused Bachelor of Science. Students are usually required to take the following courses:

  • Humanities
  • Literature
  • Social sciences
  • Communications
  • History
  • Foreign language

From that core group, students can choose from a diverse list of courses to fulfill the college’s specific liberal arts requirements. The coursework tends to be more diverse, and the student has a more active role in choosing what classes he will take to meet the school’s requirements. It tends to require less credits.

Courses for a B.S. Degree

A more specialized education for your major comes with a Bachelor of Science degree. Once you have chosen your major, you will explore the subject in depth. This makes it harder to fill your class schedule with other interests as you pursue your goal of graduating with a B.S. degree. For instance, a B.S. is usually preferred for careers in technical and scientific areas. However, some colleges offer a Bachelor of Science degree in subjects such as music and art.

Majors for a B.A. Degree

Generally, the Bachelor of Arts degree is based on disciplines that fall under the humanities department. These include languages, arts and music, communication and social studies.

If you plan on pursuing a master's degree or a Ph.D. in your area of interest after graduation, a B.A. may be a better route. It will give you a broader education as a base before you go after a higher degree in the same field. It usually takes three to four years to fully complete.

Majors for a B.S. Degree

A Bachelor of Science degree throws a wide net over the pool of careers available to graduates. Careers in health care and math-related industries such as aerodynamics are expected to expand significantly in the next five years. Majors that Bachelor of Science degree students pursue include:

  • Animal behavior
  • Astronomy and astrophysics
  • Comprehensive design
  • International studies
  • Cognitive science
  • Environmental science
  • Computational linguistics
  • Biochemistry
  • Statistics
  • Speech and hearing services

A B.S. degree can take three to five years to complete.

Career Paths With a B.A. Degree

Depending on your major, the professional field for a graduate with a freshly minted Bachelor of Arts degree is vast. It ranges from journalist to child care worker to probation officer to advertising manager.

Career Path With a B.S. Degree

Again, depending on your major, there are many career paths from which to choose after obtaining a B.S. degree. The STEM field has expanded significantly, and a Bachelor of Science degree can get your foot in the door of some rather lucrative industries.

Careers in engineering, mathematics, computer science and economics all require a B.S. degree.

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.