Bachelor’s Degrees: Overview of Degree Options

Bachelor Degrees

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Bachelor’s degree is a universal term used to describe undergraduate studies taken after high school at a college or university. Bachelor’s, or baccalaureate, programs require completing at least 120 semester credits of college-level coursework. Completing a bachelor’s is your ticket to building a promising, professional career. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree enjoy more plentiful job opportunities in today’s market. The unemployment rate of bachelor’s-level workers is only 2.8 percent, in comparison to 5.7 for high school graduates. Weekly wages are also 67 percent higher for employees with a bachelor’s degree.

Here are the different types of bachelor’s degrees you can earn to maximize your career potential.

Primary Bachelor Degrees:

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) offers an undergraduate course of study that’s strongly built within the liberal arts. Students in B.A. programs are generally required to complete a general core of courses in the humanities, foreign language, and the social sciences. This bachelor’s degree is known for giving learners more flexibility and customization with less specialized courses. Holding a B.A. shows employers that you’ve enriched your critical thinking, writing, and communication skills. Graduates are more liberally and culturally educated for reaching their professional goals. Bachelor of Arts programs offer majors like psychology, education, journalism, philosophy, history, English, and mathematics.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Unlike the B.A., the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) is more strictly focused in a major. More credits are directly linked to the intensive field for less electives and freedom. B.S. programs require few liberal arts courses and skip to natural or life sciences. Taking the traditional two years of foreign language is usually waived too. Students focus on developing critical inquiry, problem-solving, analytical, and research skills. The complex prerequisite structure makes B.S. degree holders more appealing to graduate school, especially doctoral programs. Universities offer Bachelor of Science programs in many STEM-based majors, such as computer science, biology, chemistry, architecture, physics, and agriculture.

More Bachelor Degree options:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) may sound similar to the Bachelor of Arts, but it involves less liberal arts courses and more visual arts education. The B.F.A. is a prestigious, professional degree granted for entry into art and design disciplines. There’s intensive field study with at least 60 credits devoted to a specialty. Along with lectures, B.F.A. programs have practical studio components for learning technique. Students foster their creativity for a lifetime of artistic pursuits. Graduates can also further their training with the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.), a terminal degree. Popular majors are theater, dance, ceramics, painting, photography, and film.

Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.)

Undergraduate business schools may grant a specialized Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) program. This four-year, full-time bachelor’s degree builds on a general business core with math-oriented and analytical courses. It’s less broad than a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Business. Students focus on learning business principles to enter today’s competitive economy in management roles. Within a B.B.A., you’ll build leadership, decision-making, economic, and communication skills. The Bachelor of Business Administration is one of America’s most popular bachelor’s degrees conferred to 367,000 students in 2012. Students select concentrations like accounting, marketing, management, human resources, finance, and real estate.

Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.)

Another sought-after bachelor’s degree is the Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.). This practice-oriented, professional program offers rigorous academics for learning the basics of engineering disciplines. B.Eng. degrees consist of a general science core, engineering major, and technical electives. Due to their intensity, some B.Eng. degrees require five years. Others will combine the bachelor’s program with a Master of Engineering for acceleration. Students focus on developing the teamwork, communication, constructive, and analytical skills to address society’s leading problems. Practical co-operative education is a common feature of B.Eng. programs. Universities grant the Bachelor of Engineering with majors like aerospace, civil, computer, electrical, mechanical, petroleum, and software engineering.

Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)

Students interested in the human services can pursue a Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) program from schools accredited by the CSWE. This professional bachelor’s degree involves a liberal arts base before a major in social work. For four years full-time, the B.S.W. instills the knowledge, skills, and values students need to advocate for social justice. Applied fieldwork is a cornerstone to the B.S.W. Practicum will get students involved with vulnerable populations, such as the mentally ill, physically disabled, homeless, unemployed, abused, or poor. Holding a Bachelor of Social Work is required for initially becoming licensed in most states.

Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.)

The Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.) is another arts-related bachelor’s degree awarded by music conservatories and colleges after three to five years. Its professional curriculum is rooted in music theory and applied performance. Earning the B.Mus. typically requires becoming proficient in one or more instruments. Most NASM-accredited music schools let B.Mus. students gain full-scale experience in studios and theatrical productions. Unlike a Bachelor of Arts in Music, this program won’t develop a broad liberal arts education. Students instead focus on developing the technical skills to succeed in musical professions. Bachelor of Music majors could include music education, jazz studies, percussion, strings, piano, musicology, or vocal performance.

Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.)

Anyone looking to study abroad may encounter this degree. Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) programs are commonly found in countries like England, Canada, and Australia. It’s intended to be the first professional degree for undergraduates wanting to be lawyers. The LL.B. gives greater depth of legal knowledge than a pre-law major in America. Foreign universities may offer majors like constitutional law, tort law, or criminal law. Earning a Bachelor of Laws qualifies you for entering an ABA-accredited law school for a Master of Laws (LL.M.) or Juris Doctor (J.D.). Some states, including New York and Massachusetts, allow LL.B. holders to take the Bar Exam.

Additional Bachelor Degree options:

BASc – Bachelor of Applied Sciene
BArch – Bachelor of Architecture
BComm- Bachelor of Commerce
BCompSc – Bachelor of Computer Science
BD – Bachelor of Divinity
BDes – Bachelor of Design (Visual Design Dicipline)
BEd – Bachelor of Education
BMath – Bachelor of Mathematics
BTech – Bachelor of Technology
BSEE – Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
BSF – Bachelor of Science in Forestry

Unable to pick a major? Hundreds of colleges now offer Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.) programs for interdisciplinary learning. This option gives the greatest flexibility in creating an individual curriculum with multiple minors that interest you. B.G.S. students work closely with a faculty advisor to tailor their studies based upon personal preference. As you can see, there are many different types of bachelor’s degrees to ensure the right higher education for everyone.