What Is the Difference Between a B.S. & a B.A. Degree?

by Beth Richards
The difference between a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degree is your major.

The difference between a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degree is your major.

The most common goal of completing four years in college is getting your B.S. (Bachelor of Science) or a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) degree. Either is an opportunity to pursue a career right out of school or continue on in college toward an advanced degree. Understanding the differences between a B.S. and B.A degree helps put you on the right path for both your education and career pursuits.

The Biggest Difference Between B.A. and B.S.

The most significant difference between Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees is what you will be doing after college. Your major helps dictate which degree you pursue. The curriculum for a B.S. degree is focused more on technology and science while a B.A. degree contains more liberal arts curriculum.

The Similarities of Bachelor Degrees

Most schools require that B.A. and B.S. degrees have a reasonable balance of several components. Either type of bachelor's degree should provide a concentrated background and preparation for a professional career or academics and include college level studies in math, social sciences, arts and humanities, science and communication. Each college varies in its specific requirements.

Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts degree usually includes a well-rounded study in history, literature, philosophy, the arts and social studies. Campusgrotto.com notes that the B.A. degree is more popular than the B.S. degree. The B.A. also has more elective hours and fewer specified hours in your major.

Bachelor of Science

The Bachelor of Science degree is focused on technology and science curriculum including math, physics and statistics. You should consider a B.S. degree path if you plan to go into engineering, computer science, accounting, or any math, science or technology-related field.


Each university has unique requirements for degree completion. While most are similar, the school you attend may specify different classes or requirements for completing a B.A. or B.S. degree. Check with your adviser or the school's guidance department to make sure you are taking the appropriate classes for your degree.

About the Author

Beth Richards, a freelance writer since 2002, writes about health and draws from her 25 years as a licensed dispensing optician. She has authored several books, writes for national magazines including "Country Living" and "Organic Family" and is a health and wellness features writer for several publications. She is earning a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland.

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