Picking your college major can be tough. But even after you’ve chosen the degree you want, you’re faced with another important decision — do you want a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS)? Many colleges, especially those that have business or marketing degrees, offer both options and, though they share a lot of similarities, there are some important differences. We’ll look at a few of the major ones here. 

Differences Between A BA And BS In Curriculum

The most marked difference you’ll notice between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science is in the curriculum. In a Bachelor of Arts program, the coursework is more in line with the liberal arts philosophy. That means you’ll take classes in a wide range of disciplines and especially ones in the humanities including courses that cover topics like philosophy, world history, literature, fine art and even political science. The idea is to give students a broader, more diverse education. Many programs even include a curriculum that synthesizes these disciplines with business, looking at how business and, say, sociology, influence one another, for instance.

A Bachelor of Science, on the other hand, is often considered more focused, with a curriculum that largely addresses business topics. Those that do include more topics outside of business typically have coursework in math or science disciplines such as calculus, statistics, biology and chemistry. 

For instance, the University of Florida in Tallahassee offers both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. Students in the BSBA program take coursework in algebra and the physical sciences alongside business-related courses like economics, entrepreneurship and strategic management. Students in the BABA program take interdisciplinary courses and can even choose to pair their business degree with specializations in sociology, anthropology and mass communications. 

Differences Between A BA And BS For Further Education

If students want to pursue a master’s degree in business, both of these degree types will work, as long as they’re from accredited schools. However, there may be slight differences. Let’s take a marketing degree as a for instance. Since a Bachelor of Arts is more interdisciplinary and academic in nature, a BA in Marketing may be better suited as a launching point into a graduate degree. Conversely, since a BS is laser-focused on more technical skills, a Bachelor of Science in Marketing might be better for someone who intends to start looking for work after they graduate. 

Differences Between A BA And BS For Career Choices

Both degrees are designed to prepare students for careers in business and employers aren’t likely to get picky about whether you have a BA or a BS. That said, if it comes down to a choice between two candidates, some employers might ask themselves, “Do I want someone with a broad, diverse education or someone who’s drilled down on one topic?” 

Also, career paths might differ slightly. Someone with a Bachelor of Arts might be more likely to end up in a position that requires people skills, analysis or an understanding of the bigger picture. These roles might include human resource managers, fundraisers and market analysts. A Bachelor of Science grad, on the other hand, might use his or her expertise in more technical, numbers-focused roles like accounting, auditing, cost estimating or logisticians. 

Is a BA Or BS Better?

In the old days, a BA might have been considered the more prestigious degree of the two. However, this has long since changed and it’s important to note that neither degree is better than the other. Much more important is the quality of the curriculum, the quality of the school and the dedication you put into it. 

Instead of asking which degree is better, you should ask yourself which fits you better. What career would you like to end up in? What do you enjoy learning about? What kind of academic experience do you want to have? How do the degrees line up with your goals? Keep in mind, also, that curriculum can vary from school to school. One school’s BA might look like another school’s BS and vice versa. Check out the coursework and decide how it aligns with who you are and what you want to accomplish.