Speech pathology is the study of communications disorders, from issues in the throat that prevent swallowing to speech, hearing and language. Speech pathologists work to diagnose and rehabilitate people with these disorders. When studying speech pathology, you can choose between a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. Both programs will give you a similar understanding of speech pathology, though there are a few differences.

BA in Speech Pathology

While BA courses generally tend to be more flexible than BS courses, the BA in speech pathology at St. John’s University is particularly flexible. The program is designed to be completed in three years with an expectation of two light summer semesters -- one of which can be taken abroad. The degree features 18 elective courses, including music and arts electives in addition to general electives from any department at the college. This offers speech pathology students the opportunity to find other areas of interest to which they might apply their knowledge.

BS in Speech Pathology

Standing in stark contrast to the BA from St. John’s University is the BS in speech pathology from the University of Santo Thomas in the Philippines. Santo Thomas’s BS program takes five years to complete but includes a one-year clinical placement. Though the program offers electives, too, most of them are science electives to build a complete scientific knowledge related to the field on speech pathology.

Points of Interest

Speech pathology is not the only course you can study as either a BA or BS. The choice between the two types of study really have more to do with what kinds of electives you’ll be interested in. If you plan to take mostly science courses, then a BS might suit you, since BS programs tend to have electives that deepen your scientific understanding. BAs, on the other hand, offer a wide range of elective courses, some of which may not relate to your degree at all.

Making the Choice

According to Sweet Briar College, most employers or graduate schools won’t pay attention to which kind of degree you have but will instead focus on your knowledge through interviews and will study your transcript. The college recommends making the choice between a BA and BS based on what you like and what you want to do later in life. A BS, Sweet Briar says, can lead to a research career or pave the way for medical school; a BA is helpful when you don’t have a strong interest in other sciences or if you want to get a double-major.