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What is the Difference Between a BA and a BS?


By Lauren Abraham
Communications Major, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

If you are a prospective student trying to choose your college degree, you may have wondered what makes a Bachelor of Arts degree different from a Bachelor of Science degree. How much do they have in common? What makes them unique? Continue reading to learn about the difference between a BA and a BS and how to choose which one is right for you.

Bachelor of Arts Degree

A Bachelor of Arts is an undergraduate degree that is typically earned in four years. Instead of taking only courses that apply to a specific area of study, students in a Bachelor of Arts program will take a wide array of courses in liberal arts subjects. This allows them to earn a well-rounded education, giving them the flexibility to cater their education to what they are passionate about (What is the difference between a B.A. and a B.S.,” 2016).

For example, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Communications in order to work in a wide variety of arenas. Depending on their interests, students who study communications can use their degree to become a writer or work in public relations or human resources.

Other focus areas, such as English, music or digital design, can also be studied in a Bachelor of Arts program. These degrees provide students with opportunities to incorporate what they are passionate about into their career.

Bachelor of Science Degree

Like a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Science degree is also a four-year undergraduate program. However, it differs in its subject matter. Bachelor of Science programs require students to take more credits that apply directly to their area of study (What is the difference between a B.A. and a B.S.,” 2016). As a result, students gain specialized knowledge in their field of interest.

For example, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing prepares students to gain the scientific knowledge and skills necessary to become a successful nurse and provide quality care for their patients.

Computer science, engineering and biology are some of the many other focus areas that can be studied in a Bachelor of Science program. Typically, these degrees are more direct in the career path they lead to.

Which One is Right for Me?

Now that you have learned about the difference between these two degrees, you may be wondering how to determine which one is right for you. However, there is no need to worry. Both programs are equal in value, but are different in where they can take you.

In choosing between a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree, it is important to understand yourself and what your passions are. This will determine which type of program will allow you to reach your full potential and thrive in your career.

Do you enjoy being creative and trying different things? A Bachelor of Arts program may be right for you. Do you consider yourself to be an analytical thinker and enjoy paying attention to detail? A Bachelor of Science program may be the right choice.

In the end, there are many benefits to earning your bachelor’s degree, whether it be a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. A four-year degree will equip you with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a career, and can provide a stepping stone to furthering your education by earning a master’s or doctorate-level degree.

Ultimately, in understanding the difference between these two degrees, you can gain a better understanding of the direction you want to go with your education.

Grand Canyon University offers a wide variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. To learn about the majors and programs available at GCU, visit our website or contact us using the Request More Information button at the top of the page.


  • What is the difference between a B.A. and a B.S.? (2016). Retrieved from bestvalueschools.com/faq/what-is-the-difference-between-a-b-a-and-a-b-s/
About Lauren Abraham
Lauren Abraham headshot
Communications Major, Digital Copywriter for GCU Blogs

Lauren Abraham is a junior at Grand Canyon University. She was born and raised in Phoenix and enjoys living here. She has loved her time at GCU so far, as she has made many friendships and discovered what she is passionate about. Currently, she is studying communication with a minor in marketing. She has always loved writing and working with people, and one day hopes to become an editor or journalist. In her free time, she enjoys staying active and spending time with her family and friends.

Read more about Lauren