Choosing the college degree to pursue can be a difficult and confusing decision. One choice is the different course of study required for a Bachelor of Arts degree and Bachelor of Science degree. In general, a B.S. degree offers a more focused course of study than a B.A. degree.
Bachelor of Arts Degree
Although the B.A. degree originated in the liberal arts, this degree is commonly given in the sciences, including biology, chemistry and physics. The B.A. curriculum includes a broad subject base exposing students to literature, history and social and laboratory sciences before they specialize in their area of study. The first two years of a B.A. program are usually broad general studies.
Bachelor of Science Degree
Unlike most B.A. programs, B.S. programs commonly require you to determine your specialization upon entering or after the first year. Those working toward a B.S. degree in biology would begin taking biology classes upon entering the program and spend the majority of their study on biology coursework. They will also be required to take courses other than biology during B.S. study. Many of these additional courses will be in other technical disciplines such as chemistry, physics and statistics.
Advantages of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology
Many advanced courses in the biological sciences -- computational biology, molecular biology, neurobiology and others -- require a series of prerequisites to obtain skills required to succeed in the course. A B.S. program allows more time to obtain prerequisites and take a variety of advanced coursework. B.S. curriculum favors a career specializing in areas of advanced biology such as scientific research or biotechnology.
Advantages of a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology
Not every career in biology and medicine requires an understanding of only biology. Business, finance, social sciences and other courses present in the B.A. but not the B.S. curriculum can improve management and interpersonal skills. These skills can be as important as knowledge of biology in biotechnology and medicine. Not every biology major ends up as a scientist, medical doctor or nurse. Careers in health insurance, hospital management, biotechnology management, pharmacy and health care consulting are open to biology majors.
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