What Are the BS & BA in Marketing?

Marketers work long hours at the entry level to make sure their company connects with consumers.
... Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Marketers find ways to engage customers in a product – whether through product placement, advertising and information campaigns – or direct sales. Positions in marketing are expected to grow 19 percent by 2024, which is much faster than the average job growth in the U.S. Both the Bachelor of Science degree and the Bachelor of Arts degree can lead to great careers in marketing, but what's the difference? Learn more about the B.A. versus the B.S. when it comes to a degree in marketing.

1 The B.S. Versus the B.A.

Both the B.S. and the B.A. are typical four-year degrees that require anywhere from 120 to 180 credit hours to complete, depending on the school. The key difference between the B.S. and the B.A. is that the B.S. may require more courses within the major, while the B.A. may require more courses in general education, humanities and fine arts. The B.S. will require anywhere from 40 to 90 hours within the major, while the B.A. may require that as much as three-fourths of all learning occur outside the major. Additionally, the B.S. will require that a certain percentage of the courses within the major will be taken at a more advanced level.

2 Advantages to the B.S.

Because the B.S. requires more advanced knowledge of the subject, it can give marketing students an edge. Currently the growth in marketing is being driven by many cutting-edge trends, including social media, “big data” and Internet advertising. B.S. marketing students are more likely to obtain advanced knowledge of these trends, which will leave them well positioned to move into an entry-level job.

3 Advantages to the B.A.

The biggest growth area in marketing currently is marketing analysis, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects will expand by 19 percent. Marketing analysis requires high-level math skills, and because the B.A. requires more courses outside the major, the B.A. can nicely accommodate a dual major in statistics or some other math complementary to this field. Due to the influence technology has on marketing, a second degree or a concentration in computer science might also be a good choice.

The B.A. is also advantageous in that it gives students a broader education in the humanities and social sciences. These fields, which emphasize the “human touch,” are often desirable in MBA candidates who must manage many different types of people. The B.A. also nicely pairs nicely with a minor in a foreign language, which is considered highly desirable in an increasingly globalized economy.

4 Mind the Competition

While the BLS cites marketing jobs will grow “much faster than average,” it cautions that finding a position will remain competitive due to the popularity and accessibility of marketing. Business degrees generally have lower academic standards than liberal arts degrees, and students with backgrounds in English, history and a host of other liberal arts disciplines are eligible for entry-level marketing positions. Despite the growth, if you want to go somewhere with your marketing B.A. or B.S., you need to bring your A-game.

Laura Holland Fletcher has graduate level training in ESL, linguistics and the teaching of writing. She taught ESL and college writing for more than 10 years in both the US and Asia. She also writes for local and national magazines that cover legal, educational and social justice issues.