A bachelor of science is an undergraduate degree usually awarded to a student who completes a certain number of college-level courses. The requirements for a bachelor of science vary from college to college and from country to country. As its name implies, the degree is typically earned by students studying a scientific field, such as chemistry, mathematics, or engineering. Students who study liberal arts or social sciences typically earn a bachelor of arts degree, though some schools award science degrees to students studying fashion or graphic design.
In the United States, students in an undergraduate program typically must take at least 120 credit hours or about 40 classes before they can earn a bachelor's degree. In some cases, a student can earn an associate of science degree after completing two years of study and then go on to complete a bachelor of science degree. Most students work straight through and earn only the bachelor degree, though.
A student in a bachelor of science degree program usually does not take only science courses. Most colleges in the United States require that students take a certain number of general education or core courses. These courses are usually taken in the first two years of study, before the student begins to focus on a chosen area of interest. Many schools require students to take writing intensive courses, such as a freshman composition course, as well as a few courses in civilization, history, or the humanities.
After a student earns the degree, he is qualified to work in certain positions in his field, such as working as a registered nurse if he majored in nursing or working as a research assistant in a laboratory. In some cases, earning a bachelor of science degree is the first step on the ladder toward a student's desired career. Students who wish to become lawyers or doctors will need to attend law or medical school after they receive their bachelor degree. Other students may find that enrolling in graduate school for business helps their job prospects as well.
The cost of a bachelor's degree varies depending on where the student attends school and how long she takes to complete the degree. Private institutions are more expensive than state or public institutions in the United States. Many universities in Europe offer free courses. A student who earns his degree part-time in the United States will pay per credit and may end up paying more over time. Students who are pressed for time may benefit from earning their degree through an online program.