what does ba stand for college

what does ba stand for college

what does ba stand for college

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what does ba stand for college,

A bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate college degree that can open doors for your career, deepen your knowledge in an area of study, such as psychology, business, and many other fields, or be a stepping stone to furthering your education in a graduate school program.

You’ve probably already noticed that you need a four-year BA, Bachelor of Arts degree, to even apply to many jobs. Earning a bachelor’s degree is one of the most important steps you can take toward increasing your earning potential and job opportunities.

What is a bachelor of arts degree? Which degree should I pursue? What kind of options do I have? These are among the most common questions that we hear from prospective students at National University, so you’re not alone.

Understanding exactly what a bachelor’s degree program encompasses will help you sort through word-of-mouth advice and the facts about earning a college degree. This article addresses many of the most common questions about earning a BA degree and how to take your life and career to the next level.

what does ba stand for college
what does ba stand for college

Exactly What Is a Bachelor of Arts Degree?

If you’ve heard the terms BA, Bachelor of Arts, or undergraduate degree, they all have similar definitions in the United States. Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or any bachelor’s degree is considered an undergraduate degree. Colleges and universities offer undergraduate programs, such as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, in certain disciplines or majors.

The Bachelor of Arts degree is a four-year college degree that covers standard general education requirements and then allows students to specialize in an area of interest.

For example, National University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, which means students in this BA degree program complete core and elective coursework in psychology, in addition to general education requirements for any Bachelor of Arts degree.

BA degrees are designed to prepare you with critical thinking skills, communication skills, and a foundation in the humanities – such as literature, history, language, and religion.

While a Bachelor of Arts degree is one of the most common undergraduate degrees in the country, students who are determined to enter a specific career field can pursue many other kinds of undergraduate programs to prepare for graduate school or a career.

Using National University’s bachelor’s programs as an example, there are other kinds of bachelor’s degrees you can pursue besides a Bachelor of Arts:

Bachelor of Science: prepares students for graduate programs (Master’s and PhD) in science and engineering, or for some STEM careers, such as engineering, lab technicians, and more

Bachelor of Business Administration: prepares students specifically interested in a Master of Business Administration, or MBA, graduate program
Bachelor of Public Administration: prepares students specifically interested in a Master of Public Administration, or MPH, graduate program

Beyond an undergraduate degree, a master’s degree is also called a graduate degree. Students who aspire to earn a master’s degree or continue on to a PhD program in the US must first earn a bachelor’s degree to apply for a grad school program.

what does ba stand for college
what does ba stand for college

What majors are in a Bachelor of Arts?

At Waterloo, most Arts majors are offered by the Faculty of Arts, but the Faculty of Health also offers three BA degrees.

  • Anthropology
  • Classical Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • Economics
  • English
  • Fine Arts
  • French
  • Gender and Social Justice
  • German
  • History
  • Legal Studies
  • Medieval Studies
  • Music
  • Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Recreation and Sport Business
  • Religious Studies
  • Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies
  • Social Development Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Theatre and Performance
  • Therapeutic Recreation

Majors can range from anthropology to women’s studies, depending upon the university. You can view many other BA programs by visiting the Ontario Universities Info website.

What Is a Bachelor of  Science Degree?

A bachelor of science degree typically centers on courses that help students understand the technical aspects of a field. A bachelor of science degree, in particular, is a four-year undergraduate degree with common majors such as science or psychology. Students with a B.S. degree often go on to work in more research-based fields.

Readers should note that certain majors, like psychology, allow students to earn either a B.S. or a B.A. degree. Each degree can lead to a different career trajectory. For instance, a B.S. in psychology may require classes in biology, chemistry,

and mathematics, and can lead students to a career working in a research lab. A bachelor of science may also prepare students for medical school or more technical graduate programs.
Common Majors

Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Psychology
Environmental Science

Career Opportunities for Bachelors of Science Degrees

Health Educator
Wildlife Biologist
Market Research Analyst
Environmental Scientist
Mental Health Counselor

what does ba stand for college
what does ba stand for college

What Is the Difference Between a B.A. and B.S.?

A B.A. degree reflects the liberal arts tradition guiding many colleges,

Schendel says, which emphasizes philosophy, literature, history, social sciences, art and foreign language study. While a B.A. isn’t devoid of math and science, it doesn’t have the same emphasis on these subjects as a B.S.

Depending on the field, a B.A. or B.S. option can set students on different career tracks, says Mark Robbins, professor and psychology department chair at the University of Rhode Island.

For example, he notes that psychology majors in the B.A. degree option often go into counseling while those who earn a B.S. tend to focus on research. For a student interested in earning a Ph.D. in psychology,

a B.S. is a practical first step and will enhance understanding of statistics and research methods more than a B.A., Robbins says.

Another example of how B.A. and B.S. degree options differ is illustrated by the University of Colorado Boulder, which explains the different tracks in its computer science program on its website.

For computer science students interested in becoming engineers, the CU website highlights the B.S. option, whereas a broad range of careers extending beyond engineering are noted for the B.A.

Both tracks produce graduates with desired skills, says James W.C. White, interim dean of arts and sciences at CU Boulder. White says employers are unlikely to split hairs over the degree type,

and that “it’s far more important when you apply for a job to make sure your employer knows what classes you’ve taken and what background you have because that will make a difference.”

White says a bachelor’s degree itself matters more than the initials that come attached to it. He says both degree options offer value depending on what employers are seeking.

“Do you want somebody who has a broad-based education? Or would you like to have somebody who has really drilled down deeply? That’s really an employer decision,” White says.

Schendel says the differences between a B.A. and a B.S. aren’t vast,

which she attributes to how “disciplines have grown and changed and become more complicated.”

Read: How to Get a Bachelor’s Degree Using New Alternatives.

She notes, for example, that GVSU’s writing major has B.A. and B.S. options. The main difference is three courses. For the B.A. option, those three courses are in foreign language study, whereas the B.S. shifts students into classes to build skills in areas such as technology and statistics. She says the focus of that coursework represents the differences between the two degrees at many colleges.

“It’s really not a huge difference in many cases,” Schendel says.

The reason those lines have blurred, White says, is because “there’s really no national standard” for a B.A. or a B.S., allowing colleges to determine what type of degree to award.

He adds that, adhering to a liberal arts tradition, CU Boulder offers more B.A. than B.S. programs. But that doesn’t mean B.A. programs are entirely for the arts,

he notes, highlighting the chemistry major at Colorado, which offers only a B.A. option despite being inherently focused on science.

Robbins says students are unlikely to be shut out of a job opportunity based on the choice of a B.A. vs. a B.S. degree. The CU Boulder website reflects that point,

noting “demand for graduates with computer science skills is so high that employers are not making a distinction” between B.A. and B.S. degrees in the field, and that technology jobs will have a high need for years to come.

Which Degree is Better?

Academically, a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree are equally valued. Both offer the students

who earn them the opportunity to continue their education at the master’s degree level if they are so inclined. But, the two tracks do tend to hone different strengths. The coursework required for a Bachelor of Arts degree generally allows students to sharpen their communication and writing skills.

By comparison, the demands of a Bachelor of Science degree typically foster analytical skills and a detailed understanding of subject matter.

When deciding which degree program is the best fit,

students should think about what types of classes they have enjoyed in the past, what they are currently interested in studying and what future career options they would like to pursue

, advises admissions director Rachelle Hernandez. Understanding the difference between a B.A. and a B.S. can help students choose the degree program that is right for them.

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