Choosing a BA or BS Degree

Many majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) have the option of obtaining either a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) or a Bachelor of Science degree (BS). For some students the type of degree they will pursue has already been determined by their choice of major, e.g., international relations majors must obtain a BA degree. Other majors may have different degrees entirely. For example, music education students will obtain a BME degree, and those students pursuing an Art major might choose a BFA.

If you have the choice between a BS or a BA, it is helpful to understand the requirements of both.




Degree Requirements

• Requires a group of three or more science-related courses that may involve statistics, a computer course, logic, or research methods courses. 

• Requires a 3rd semester proficiency (through the 201 level) in one of the classical or modern languages offered by the Classics or Modern Languages and Literature Departments.

Course Sequence

• To find out what your group of courses are for your BS degree, check the course catalog, see your faculty advisor, or see a CLAS academic advisor.

• If you are new to a language, the typical sequence of courses is 101, 102 and then 201.

• Placement tests are available to students with a pre-college competence in a foreign language who desire advanced placement or waiver or the foreign language requirement. 

Things to Consider Before You Make a Decision

• Will you be doing scientific research in graduate school or your career?

• Do you want to be able to understand research reports?

• Do you want to learn to think more logically and to analyze information?

• Does your graduate program favor a background in science? 

• Are you interested in doing humanities research in graduate school or your career?

• Are you interested in improving your cultural competency in an increasingly global and diverse world?

• Will you need to develop written and communication skills to pursue your field?

• Are you interested in developing flexibility and adaptability through critical thinking and problem solving skills?

• Do you want to build connections that will be important for your future professional career on a community, national, or international level?

• Do you want to improve your ability to understand the roots of the English language, or terms relevant to medicine or law (Latin or Greek)?

Students with this choice often ask which degree (BA or BS) will look better on their résumé as they go into the job search after graduation. The truth is, both degree options have benefits that can be highlighted on a résumé, and either can lead to a fulfilling and rewarding career. We encourage you to consider several factors when trying to make this decision.

Don't forget to speak with your faculty advisor to see if they feel that there may be a benefit of one degree over the other.

The advising staff in the CLAS Academic Advising Center is always willing to help you explore your options.