Bachelor’s Degrees: Overview of Degree Options

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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • There are dif­fer­ent types of bach­e­lor’s degrees, includ­ing Bach­e­lor of Arts (B.A.), Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence (B.S.), and spe­cial­ized degrees like Bach­e­lor of Engi­neer­ing (B.Eng.) or Bach­e­lor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.).
  • Earn­ing a bachelor’s degree sig­nif­i­cant­ly improves job prospects and earn­ing poten­tial com­pared to just hav­ing a high school diploma.
  • Bach­e­lor’s degrees can be pur­sued through var­i­ous modes, includ­ing tra­di­tion­al on-cam­pus cours­es or online pro­grams, accom­mo­dat­ing diverse stu­dent needs.

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. Accord­ing to Bloomberg, 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.

General 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.

Specialized Bachelor Degree:

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. 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 Sci­ence
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

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