BA vs BS – How do you identify which degree is better for your preferred specialization or major? There are some common specializations or majors that are included in both degrees. The question that arises here is what is the difference between both the degrees that are offering the same specialization. This blog will help students understand those differences and decide the correct path to follow.
The first step before deciding which degree to pursue is selecting a major or specialization and the career you want to pursue after graduation. The main focus should be on the long-term goal.
What is Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS)?
The Bachelor of Arts is a three-to-four-year degree program that includes courses in humanities, English, social science, foreign language, and history. This degree is best suited for people pursuing fields like English, art, music, modern language, and communication. Students can also pick a major of their interest as per their goals and requirements.
On the other hand, Bachelor of Science is a three/four-year degree program (depending upon the country) that includes technical and science-related courses with an increased focus on subjects like computer science, nursing, mathematics, biochemistry, and physics. It is suitable for students willing to pursue their careers in technical and scientific fields.
Advantages & Disadvantages of BA Degree
It is always easier to make a decision when you are familiar with all possible aspects. Let us have a look at some advantages and disadvantages of a BA degree.
- BA might be a better option if you are uncertain about which specialization or career to choose. Since it is non-technical, you can gain knowledge about the specializations and then choose the path.
- Courses in humanities will assist you in improving your communication skills, critical thinking, and creativity that is an essential skill required for every field.
- It is easier to add a minor or major by using your electives to meet the criteria for another program.
- There are fewer credits in your desired field. However, you can use electives to compensate.
- There are fewer options for specializations or majors as compared to a BS degree.
Advantages & Disadvantages of BS Degree
A BS degree has certain advantages and disadvantages as well. Some of them are listed below.
- BS degree focuses more on the part of the field or career option you are aiming for.
- It provides a straightforward and defined path allowing to comfortably progress throughout the degree till completion.
- Since this is a more technical degree, having a BS degree over BA could give you an edge and more importance over other candidates while looking for a job.
- BS degree focuses more on a particular specialization providing less flexibility and freedom to pursue other subjects of interest.
- There might be certain institutions or universities that would require you to already have a degree in the specialization you want to pursue before you enroll in the program.
Scope and Career Options for BA Graduates
There are two possible options to choose from after completing the BA degree. The first option is applying for the master’s degree based on the specialization of the course and the second is taking up a job. A master’s degree will have more intense coursework in the specialized field of study.
A wide variety of employment opportunities are available for BA graduate students depending on factors such as major or specialization of the course, several sectors offer jobs based on qualification and skills.
Some possible career options in these sectors are:
- Library and Information Science
- Community Service
- Public Administration
- Graphics and Printing Industry
Other options include Business Process Outsourcing units, international relations, social work, media industry, civil services, film editing and direction, writing, and religious studies.
Scope and Career Options for BS Graduates
There are variety of employment options available after completing the BS degree. However, to gain more specialized knowledge, students can further pursue a master’s degree in their specialization. On the contrary, if someone chooses to gain experience by pursuing a career in the profession instead of a professional degree, there are several employment options to choose from various sectors. These include:
- Educational Institutes
- Space Research Institutes
- Research Firms
- Testing Laboratories
- Forensic Crime Research
- Geological Survey Departments
- Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology Industry
Some common job profiles available to pursue after completing the BS degree (depending on specialization) are lab technician, bacteriologist, biomedical scientist, immunologist, scuba diver, nurse, nutritionist, physiotherapist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, assistant geneticist, biostatistician, etc.
Factors to Consider
There are several factors that should be kept in mind while finalizing a degree to pursue.
- Courses offered by the university/college where you wish to take admission and the criteria for admission
- Analyzing skills/talents (taking aptitude tests or consulting a career counselor can help determine skills/talent)
- Searching for job/future possibilities while deciding the degree to ensure achievement of the long-term goal
- Going through the courses/curriculum to determine the ability and interest of pursuing that major
- Discussing possible options with friends/family, and professionals.
BA vs BS: Which Degree is Better?
A major or specialization needs to be selected before the degree because there are certain specializations that are included in both degrees having different career goals. For example, a psychology major in BA will focus more on counseling methods with career options as a psychological counselor. The same major in a BS degree will focus more on technical aspects and study of medicines helping to establish a career as a licensed medical practitioner/psychiatrist.
Another example of specialization or major offered by both degrees is ‘computer science’. Students with the long-term goal of becoming an engineer should go for a BS degree and those having other goals in mind to opt for a BA degree.
The first step is identifying and evaluating your aptitude and interest and then deciding your long-term goals and ambitions. If you are uncertain about your goals and interests, then you can consult a career counselor who will be able to assist you and guide you to the right path.
Also, it is very important to look at the details of the course curriculum of the institution before making a decision.