Historically, the only distinction between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science is that the Bachelor of Arts degree, originally known by its Latin name artium baccalaureus, required the recipient to have studied Latin during his course of study. Those who didn’t study Latin received a Bachelor of Science degree; historically known in Latin as scientiæ baccalaureus.
The distinction between the two programs today is much more flexible but still retains the same basic structure. A Bachelor of Arts tends to focus on theoretical and general knowledge. The B.A. degree is also known as a liberal arts degree. This degree generally requires courses in humanities, math, English, sciences, social sciences, and languages.
The Bachelor of Science degree generally does not require as many liberal arts or humanities courses. It may prepare people for careers in accounting, engineering, and education. A B.S. focuses on technical or hard sciences such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. Like the B.A., it also requires general courses in math, English, sciences, and social sciences.
A Bachelor of Science degree is recommended for people who wish to enter a technical or technology-oriented field, often with a specific discipline in mind. A Bachelor of Arts degree is more generalized, using theoretical knowledge such as English, art or music theory to gain wide understanding about a broad topic. Bachelor of Arts programs also usually require the student to take a foreign language.
Bachelor of Science programs are usually very specialized. The subjects tend to be specific and quantifiable, resulting in heavy lab time and experiments over the course of the program. Bachelor of Science classes also are generally more technology-focused, gathering skills and knowledge needed for a specific discipline. A Bachelor of Arts program has classes that are more general, creating a well-rounded level of education for a general field but not a specific discipline.
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