Psychology majors will find that their college or university offers two different degrees in psychology, Bachelors of Arts (BA) and Bachelors of Science (BS). Each university’s program may differ, so it is important to talk to your academic advisor about the path that will be right for you. Often the two separate tracks will have slightly different courses, so you may want to choose the path that has classes or professors that you find the most interesting. There are however, some general differences that differentiate the two degrees that we will discuss further. In the end, the decision will come down to personal preference, just like the process that goes into finding the best degree program. If you are looking for an online BA or BS that will work around the restrictions of your schedule, check out our list of the 30 Fastest Online Psychology Bachelor’s Degrees.
In general, a BA in Psychology will allow students to supplement their psychology curriculum with other liberal arts courses. Because undergraduate studies are often designed to expose their students to a wide range of subjects and do not always predict a graduate’s career path, pursuing a BA will give students the freedom to explore other areas of interest. There are many courses outside the field of psychology that can be complementary learning experiences for a psychology major. Anthropology and sociology courses examine human behavior from a macro-level perspective, attempting to understand the influences of the societal system that they live in, and how that influences their life decisions. Political Science courses will examine the legislative process that creates the rules and boundaries that create the parameters that society uses to define human behavior as conforming or deviant. English courses allow you to read and analyze novels that build the personalities of strong characters and examine their choices as they follow a narrative path. Many novels, and especially those that utilize the stream of consciousness technique, can be seen as anecdotal case studies, so psychology majors will bring an interesting perspective to the discussion of literature. For students who are looking to pursue a holistic approach to psychology, a BA is probably a better path for them. Graduates with BA’s in psychology are well suited to become therapists and social workers.
For students who are more inspired by science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects, and are interested in using quantitative as opposed to qualitative data and research methods to understand human psychology, a BS is usually the preferred option. There are many exciting technological advancements that have improved research methods into the human brain, which is the most complex organ in the human body. Highly regarded research institutions like Stanford University use Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging computers to better understand the activity and chemical flow that happens in the human brain under particular circumstances. For students who want to understand psychology using empirical data to make groundbreaking discoveries, a BS is often the best path. Graduates with BS’s in Psychology are prepared to become psychiatrists and medical engineers.