What’s the difference between BA and BS degrees?

As if filling out a college application wasn't confusing enough, after finding a major that they are interested in, some seniors may find that the same subject is offered as both a bachelor of arts (BA) and a bachelor of science (BS). Although the course content may be similar, these degrees are quite different, and you should know the differences before making a decision during your college search.

In most cases, a student's choice of major will play a large part in determining whether the degree awarded is a BA or BS. BA degrees tend to focus on majors taught by the humanities department of a university, including literature, comparative studies, film, art and history. Some schools offer BA degrees in majors where the subject matter is not vocational, which means that there is no clearly defined career path for graduates of these programs. History and chemistry are both good examples of this kind of major, as they can lead to a wide variety of jobs after graduation.

BS degrees tend to focus on scientific or technological curricula. Majors such as physics, nursing, computer science, biology and math all fall into this category. While some schools do not offer BS degrees in some majors, others focus exclusively on this type of qualification.

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