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What are the Different Types of Bachelor's Degrees?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 20, 2024
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A bachelor’s degree is usually interpreted as signification that a person has completed studies at a four-year university in a particular field. When a person earns this degree it is usually earned with a specified major like literature, history, biology, business, or plenty of others. Bachelor's degrees are most commonly either Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS), but there are a few other types people can earn depending on their course of study and the university they attend.

Bachelor's degrees that are BAs tend to be more focused on liberal arts studies. Most liberal arts degrees are BA types but this doesn’t mean that the BA is exclusively earned in fields like the liberal arts or business. Some schools award BA degrees in the sciences, technical studies, or in mathematics.

On the other hand in scientific and technical studies the BS could be earned instead, and the difference between BA and BS isn’t always completely defined. Sometimes schools will offer the option of pursuing either degree in a particular subject. In these instances it is likely that earning the BS will mean taking a few more upper division technical classes, and the BA will be a broader and more generalized field of study.

Some suggest that the BA degree in a science is better suited for students planning to double major. Yet when it comes to applying to graduate schools, there may be very little difference between the two degrees. Some students might need to take an upper division class or two they’re lacking, so they meet all entrance requirements for grad school. Others won’t have a problem.

There are a number of other bachelor's degrees that may indicate study in a particular field, and again, what a degree is called could vary greatly from school to school. Students can get bachelor's degrees like a BRN or Bachelor in Registered Nursing, which may be contrasted to a BSRN or Bachelor of Science in Registered Nursing. Some students earn a BSW or Bachelor in Social Work, and others might get a BFA or Bachelor in Fine Art.

Additionally, bachelor's degrees that could be offered at some universities include the BMus (Bachelor’s in Music), the BASc (Bachelor of Applied Science), or the BPharm (Bachelor of Pharmacy). These simply indicate specialty a little more than do BS or BA degrees. It also isn’t always necessary to earn these specified degrees if majoring in these fields.

What should be remarked about the variation in bachelor's degrees is that in almost circumstances they indicate completion of a four-year program. Whether this in the arts, sciences or in some other designation, such degrees are proof of graduating from college. The best way for students to find out if they require a specialized degree, especially to get employment or progress to grad school is to begin asking this question of academic advisors. As each school may define its degrees in different ways, it may be more fruitful to find out minimum requirements for employment or grad acceptance and use these to shape choices of which classes to take or degree to pursue.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By seekinfo2 — On May 14, 2011

What is better, a BA or a BS? I am more interested in the arts, but it seems like the science jobs pay more and are in more demand.

By meandcoffee — On May 11, 2011

I am currently pursing a Bachelor's degree so I can become an HR manager in the future. There are a lot of career opportunities in human resource management. All I need is the right education and to establish some contacts while I am in school. I am also going to do an internship in my last year of studies.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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