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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Difference between BA and BS degree

A BA/AB degree is a Bachelor of Arts degree while a BS is a Bachelor of Science degree. The main difference between the two is that one deals with the human/social sciences while the other deals with scientific subjects. History, English, Politics and Economics are some common subjects that lead to a BA/AB degree while physics, chemistry and biology lead to a BS degree.
The main characteristic of a BA/AB degree is that it requires studying a core curriculum composed of courses in the arts/humanities area. It is normally the case that a student pursuing a BA has more freedom to pursue courses outside of his or her major field. BS degrees include both scientific disciplines, plus nursing, engineering and business management. A BS degree usually implies taking on more courses that are required to attain the major. This means that a BS degree has fewer changes of pursuing courses outside their chosen field. 

An AB degree pursuer may include in the first year of the AB degree a survey of literature and humanities, and perhaps study of a foreign language. Courses in the second year of an AB degree may include creative writing or history courses as well as starting to pursue the foundation courses required for graduation. In the third year, there might be courses that include advanced study of a foreign language plus courses in literary or psychological theory. The fourth year may include intensive seminars in the field of the major.
A typical curriculum for a BS degree may include a first year introductory course in mathematics, economics and possibly language studies, as well as foundation courses that relate to the major. The second year may include courses in statistics, engineering and archaeology, while in third year; the student is introduced to more advanced courses such as laboratory courses. The fourth year may have in-depth seminars in the field of the major.
Some schools in the US such as St.John’s College and Pomona College only award BA degrees, while other schools such as MIT, California Institute of Technology and Georgia Tech only offer a BS degree. However, larger schools offer both types of degrees. 

Choosing which BA degree or BS degree to pursue determines what time of professional degree the student has the choice of pursuing in the future. It has been the trend that people pursuing AB degrees in the field of arts/humanities go on to pursue professional degrees such as law, for instance. For students who pursue AB degrees in arts, such as English and History, pursuing a professional degree in law is a good choice and a popular option. This is because students who have an AB degree in English or history learn early on the art of writing, analysing and interpretation which proves extremely helpful when they study law as law requires an excellent grasp of the English language as well as the art of interpreting complicated statutes. Meanwhile, studying biology or biochemistry and getting an AB degree in those subjects becomes useful if one opts for a professional degree in medicine as they will already be acclimatised with the various technical concepts used in the field. 

A professional degree is preceded generally by an AB degree and while pursuing these degrees, the degree navigator comes in very helpful to the student to chart the progress of their programme. The degree navigator lets the student know their current GPA and the program requirements they have completed so far. The degree navigator also informs the student how many courses are remaining to be completed. The degree navigator also gives you information on the number of completed credits and the number of credits remaining that need to be obtained by the student.


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