As the world becomes more complicated, specialization is becoming more necessary. The broad choice of college degrees reflects this fact. Before you can understand the intricacies of the individual degree fields, you must first understand the basics of the types of degrees. Given the limited acronyms available, many degrees either share the same acronym or share one that´s very similar. A Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) are two examples.


A Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) is a general degree type that one generally earns in about four years. Most students begin the program right out of high school. In general, requirements include a high school diploma, satisfactory grades and the completion of a standardized college admissions test such as the SAT or ACT. An MBA is an advanced degree, generally requiring the student to have completed a Bachelor's degree such as a BA. MBA students usually have several years of practical work experience before entering an MBA program. Some colleges require prior work experience while others just prefer it. Prosepective students usually must also complete the General Management Admissions Test (GMAT) before being accepted into a program.

Completion Time

A BA Degree generally requires four years of study to complete, though it is possible to finish in less. A few degrees require up to five years to complete. MBA programs generally require about two years to finish. The time required to complete an MBA degree is somewhat rigid, since the program is very specific and students ussually can´t accelerate their studies.

Course of Study

The specific area of study, or major, for a BA program are too varied to list. Majors range from biology and genetics to art and women´s history. MBA programs are generally much more specific, although some programs do offer a certain degree of specialization, such as finance or management. The main purpose of the degree is to train students to be better business communicators, leaders and managers.


Upon completion of a BA Degree, the graduate should have a well-rounded education as well as a certain amount of specialized knowledge in a particular field. Most colleges and universities have strict requirements for classes a student must complete to earn a BA degree. These often include classes in literature, foreign languages and mathematics, regardless of the student´s major. While many MBA candidates enter MBA programs with a BA or BS degree in business, many others hold either BA or advanced degrees in another subject. For those already holding business degrees, the MBA provides further education, often in a specialized are of business. For those with little business education background, the MBA prepares them to move into executive and managerial positions in their chosen field.