Choosing the right degree that will help you the most in your future career is a very important choice, without a doubt. Decisions this monumental often begin before you even leave high school where you are pressured to choose a learning path, either vocational or technical route to your end goal.
If you have chosen to attend a college or university, you will want to first decide what type of degree you want to achieve… as knowing at the beginning of your educational journey will save you time and money.
To begin, you might have questions about what the differences are between a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, or a Bachelor of Science degree in any particular subject. Here, you will learn the difference between these three in order for you to make a well-educated decision as to which one fits your needs the best.
- Is a bachelor of arts a good degree?
- What is the meaning of “visual arts?” What does visual art include?
- What are the defining differences in the terms “humanities” and “liberal arts?”
- What can I do with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree?
- Which bachelor’s degree is best for me if I don’t have a major in mind?
- What if a college offers both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts degree in the same subject?
- Is a Bachelor of Arts degree easier to earn than a Bachelor of Science degree?
- Do employers prefer a BS or a BA degree?
- Which bachelor’s degree holders earn the most money?
Let’s begin with a few important definitions. Understanding about the bachelor of arts degrees and the bachelor of science degree in general is helpful to most.
What is a Bachelor of Arts degree? This is a very common question and relevant for making a sound decision on potential coursework needed for your intended career. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is an undergraduate degree that usually takes up to four years to complete.
With majors through this type of program, students primarily are focused on liberal arts and humanities topics, such as communication, art, languages, literature, music, history, law, politics, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, or religion, to name a few.
Electives can be easily earned in any minor you choose or within the realm of your major. The bachelor of arts degree is very diverse, offers flexibility, and usually requires less credits than the bachelor of science degree.
What is a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree? A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree usually takes four years to complete and focuses primarily on the visual arts.
If you are interested in photography, design or any other type of art form, this prestigious degree will serve you well. Along with your general education courses, you may choose to concentrate on a variety of bachelor of fine arts majors, such as fashion, art, theater, sculpture, or art education… and the list goes on and on!
What is a Bachelor of Science degree? Although the BA and BFA degrees sound very similar, the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree shifts its focus to STEM-related topics, such as needed in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Steeped rich in problem-solving and critical thinking skills, the student in this degree program typically takes four, sometimes five, years to earn their BS degree.
Earning your bachelor of science degree will allow you to focus primarily on the task at hand.. and that is to prepare for a specific career in mind. In this type of degree program, your major dictates your target goal. In addition, your electives will also point to the target goal as well, as opposed to the BA degree where your electives can be any subject you choose.
What is a Bachelor of Applied Science degree? A Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree’s primary focus is sharpening the student’s technical skills in professional management. Most BAS programs require an Associate of Applied Science diploma, which generally prepares the graduate for technical work.
Often, BAS entry students have some professional work experience under their belts and decide to earn the BAS for career advancement or if they are interested in earning a graduate degree as well.
So, now that we have a few definitions to keep in mind, let’s compare a few bachelor programs so you can decide which fits your career aspirations, shall we?
Bachelor of Arts (BA) vs Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
What is the difference between the Bachelor of Arts degree and Bachelor of Fine Arts degree? With a Bachelor of Arts degree, you will learn more skills that fit into commercial work, such as Marketing, for example. If you choose the Bachelor of Fine Arts, you may decide to go into dance or art history, for example. That being said, you can see how they would require different types of coursework.
For instance, classes for the Bachelor of Arts degree track will require that you have many more of the basic Liberal Arts classes, such as English, Math, a foreign language, along with the area of work you plan to go into. With a BA, you will spend more time on the liberal arts, and less time on the visual arts. With a BFA degree, it is just the opposite. You will spend most of your time on the visual arts, and less on the liberal arts side of things. Both of these degrees take four years to complete. The BA gives you a larger knowledge base.
Bachelor of Science (BS) vs. Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Which is best… the Bachelor of Science degree or the Bachelor of Arts degree? As stated above a BS degree will focus on STEM related topics; therefore, you will be required to study scientific or technical areas with this degree option, for example, physics, science, nursing, biochemistry, as a part of your coursework.
Typically, a lot of the same classes that you can take with a bachelor of art degree are also the same courses as required through the bachelor of science degree. The Bachelor of Arts courses leans more toward the student being able to improve their writing and communication skills. In contrast, the Bachelor of Science program coursework teaches more about the understanding of the subject matter in detail, along with improving your analytical skills.
Bachelor of Science (BS) vs. Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS)
“Do I need a BS or BAS degree,” you ask? The BAS is primarily for working professionals interested in honing their leadership skills. The BS, most likely, is the degree for you if you’re more interested in the theoretical approach to your subject matter.
So, which is best? It is subjective. You, of course, will need to do diligent research prior to signing onto a degree program so you will get the most for your money AND meet your end goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a bachelor of arts a good degree?
The bachelor of arts is a very good degree to have as it helps you in a wide array of career opportunities. Its focus also contributes greatly to the betterment of everyday life skills that are particularly helpful when running your own business or coming up with entrepreneurial ideas for future ventures.
What is the meaning of “visual arts?” What does visual art include?
This is an excellent question to consider when earning a bachelor of fine arts degree. Dictionary.com defines “visual arts” as “the arts created primarily for visual perception, as drawing, graphics, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts.” This also could include photography, printmaking, architecture, crafts, or film making and the like.
What are the defining differences in the terms “humanities” and “liberal arts?”
Think of “Humanities” as an umbrella term that includes “Liberal Arts.” Although Humanities are a part of Liberal Arts, not all Liberal Art topics are in the Humanities.
Liberal Art topics can be categorized in four ways: Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics. Typically, Humanities are summed up in five areas: Languages, Arts, Literature, Philosophy, Religion and History.
What can I do with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree?
With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, you can obtain entry level job placement as a Web Designer, an Interior Designer, Art Director, a Graphic Designer, or Fashion Designer, just to name a few. Other careers include that of a Painter, Photographer, or Illustrator.
Which bachelor’s degree is best for me if I don’t have a major in mind?
Definitely go with the bachelor of arts degree, as it will provide you with a plethora of majors to choose from. In fact, some colleges allow you to earn two majors.
What if a college offers both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts degree in the same subject?
There are several topics in which you may find this dilemma. They may include accounting, psychology, business, education, and computer science. In this case, you should compare your school’s class offerings to help you decide which one is sufficient for you.
Is a Bachelor of Arts degree easier to earn than a Bachelor of Science degree?
In some cases, the BS degree will require more credits to graduate. It also requires a more in-depth and theoretical study into the subject matter, typically focusing on math and science. For some, these may be reasons that would make earning a BS degree more difficult for some, but not so much for others.
Do employers prefer a BS or a BA degree?
In general, whichever bachelor’s degree you elect to earn will not be an issue if the job description requires a bachelor’s degree.
However, the answer to this question may strictly depend on the employer and the job you are applying for. For example, an employer searching to fill a computer-related position may hire a graduate with a BS in Computer Science over one with a BA in Computer Science simply due to the focus (of math and science) that the BS degree provides.
Which bachelor’s degree holders earn the most money?
Emolument.com reports that for about the first 10 years of employment, BS holders earn 17% more than BA holders. However, after being in the workforce for about 15 years, BA holders surpass the BS worker in total earnings.
Why is that? BA holders who transition into a technical career often are promoted into professional management positions, therefore, earning more money over the course of time.