Understanding the Types of Bachelor’s Degrees

Bachelor’s degrees encompass a diverse array of academic pursuits, each tailored for specialized skills and knowledge, covering various fields such as the arts, sciences, business, engineering, and more. A Bachelor of Arts (BA) often emphasizes humanities and liberal arts subjects, fostering critical thinking and communication. On the other hand, a Bachelor of Science (BS) focuses on scientific disciplines, fostering analytical and technical abilities.

Degrees like the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) equip students with management and commerce proficiency. Engineering disciplines offer Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) or Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) degrees, honing innovation and problem-solving skills. In this article, we will talk about the types of bachelor’s degrees to better understand them.

Components of a Bachelor’s Degree

bachelor's degree students in lecture room

A bachelor’s degree serves as a comprehensive educational journey, comprised of three essential components: general education, core courses, and elective courses. Each of these components plays a distinct role in shaping students’ academic and personal growth, offering a well-rounded and specialized education. Let’s look at factors we need to know for each component.

General Education
At the core of a bachelor’s degree lies general education, spanning diverse subjects that offer students a holistic grasp of the world and varied viewpoints. This facet empowers learners with crucial cross-disciplinary skills, nurturing critical thinking, effective communication, and cultural sensitivity.

Fields such as mathematics, social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences contribute to a comprehensive intellectual base, enabling students to adeptly address intricate societal matters. These subjects are also discussed in an associate degree, but not as in-depth as in a bachelor’s degree.

Core Courses

The heart of a bachelor’s degree program lies in its core courses, which focus on the chosen major or field of the student. These classes explore the subject matter, presenting a well-organized curriculum that gradually cultivates proficiency and mastery in the selected area. Core courses are very important in imparting specialized knowledge, theories, and methods essential for students’ prospective careers, be it engineering principles, literary examination, or scientific inquiry.

Elective Courses

Elective courses infuse a sense of individualization into bachelor’s degree programs, granting students the freedom to delve into personal interests and tailor their learning experience. These classes offer adaptability, allowing learners to explore subjects beyond their main focus or to enhance their expertise within it. Encouraging cross-disciplinary exploration, electives nurture creativity and flexibility by introducing students to a range of diverse subjects, empowering them to build a versatile skill set aligned with their distinct aspirations.

These components are also in an accelerated bachelor’s degree. Want to know more about what an accelerated bachelor’s degree is? Read our article about it!

students of fine arts, one of the types of bachelor's degrees

Most Common Types of Bachelor’s Degrees

Three of the most common types of bachelor’s degrees are Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Arts (BA), and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). These distinctions often determine the academic focus and emphasize areas such as science, humanities, or the arts respectively. In the United States, the options and diversity of bachelor’s degrees is extensive, encompassing a wide array of fields and disciplines.

Before we start with the list, you might want to watch this video. It talks about the top 10 Best Bachelor’s degrees:

Bachelor of Science

A Bachelor of Science (BS) degree is an undergraduate academic achievement that emphasizes a rigorous study of scientific and technical subjects. This type of bachelor’s degree is geared toward fields like mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, and technology, a BS program delves deeply into specialized knowledge and empirical methodologies. Graduates with a BS degree are equipped to get into their next chapter with analytical and problem-solving skills.

Analytical Skills

Pursuing a Bachelor of Science cultivates strong analytical and critical-thinking abilities. Graduates are adept at dissecting intricate problems, conducting research, and employing data-driven methodologies to develop innovative solutions, making them valuable assets in research, development, and roles that require effective problem-solving skills.

Specialized Expertise

A Bachelor of Science degree helps develop specialized knowledge in scientific and technical disciplines, providing graduates with a deep understanding of their chosen field. This expertise equips them to address complex challenges they might face in their chosen careers, which is probably the case in other types of bachelor’s degree.

Career Versatility

The skills acquired through a Bachelor of Science degree can be used in multiple industries and sectors. Whether you choose technology, healthcare, finance, or environmental sciences, the rigorous training in quantitative analysis and scientific principles enables you to navigate diverse career paths and adapt to evolving professional landscapes

student of bachelor of arts, one of the types of a bachelor's degree

Bachelor of Arts

Another common type of bachelor’s degree is Bachelor of Arts (BA). This is an undergraduate academic credential that focuses on humanities, liberal arts, and social sciences. It emphasizes critical thinking, communication, and a broad understanding of human culture and society. 

Adaptability and Critical Thinking

Enrolling in a bachelor of arts program fosters adaptability and critical thinking, empowering graduates to approach challenges with open-mindedness and intellectual curiosity. They learn to analyze situations from multiple perspectives. A bachelor of arts degree can usually make you ready for careers that require creative problem-solving, innovative thinking, and the ability to navigate evolving societal issues.

Communication Skills

Pursuing a Bachelor of Arts usually hones strong communication skills, both written and verbal. Graduates typically excel in articulating ideas, crafting persuasive arguments, and conveying complex concepts to a diverse audience. These skills are vital if you’re trying to purse a career in industries such as journalism, public relations, and marketing.

Holistic Perspective

A Bachelor of Arts degree offers a holistic education that encourages students to explore a wide range of humanities and social science subjects. This diverse exposure cultivates well-rounded individuals with a deep understanding of different cultures, historical contexts, and societal dynamics, preparing them to engage in a complex world.

bachelor's degree students studying

Bachelor of Fine Arts

A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree program focuses on developing artistic skills and creative expression. Fine Arts students usually focus on disciplines like visual arts, performing arts, design, and creative writing. A BFA curriculum emphasizes hands-on experience, artistic techniques, and the development of a personal artistic voice.

Creative Expression

A BFA degree nurtures individual creative expression and the development of a unique artistic voice. Graduates are usually trained and empowered to convey complex emotions, narratives, and perspectives through their art. This makes them contributors to cultural conversations and reflections.

Artistic Mastery

BFA is a type of bachelor’s degree that provides a platform for aspiring artists to refine their craft and achieve a high level of artistic mastery. Through intensive hands-on training, students hone their skills in various creative mediums, enabling them to produce exceptional and impactful works of art. The training a student gets from a BFA program can help further develop their talents to create wonderful and engaging outputs.

Professional Opportunities

Graduating with a BFA opens doors to diverse career paths in the creative industries. From gallery exhibitions and freelance projects to roles in design, theater, film, and more, BFA holders have the skills and portfolio necessary to thrive in professions where innovation, aesthetics, and imaginative problem-solving are essential.

students talking about the types of bachelor's degrees

Specialty Types of Bachelor’s Degrees

Specialty bachelor’s degrees are undergraduate programs that focus on a specific and specialized field of study, often offering in-depth training and knowledge tailored to a particular industry or discipline. These types of bachelor’s degrees are designed to prepare students for niche careers or roles that require specialized expertise. Unlike more general bachelor’s degrees like Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA), specialty bachelor’s degrees narrow their focus to a particular subject area and may include specific coursework, practical training, and hands-on experiences directly related to that specialization.

Bachelor of Nursing (BSN)

This degree is designed for individuals aspiring to become registered nurses. It offers specialized training in nursing skills, healthcare ethics, and patient care.

Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)

BEng is a type of bachelor’s degree tailored for aspiring engineers, offering specialized training in various engineering disciplines such as mechanical, electrical, civil, and chemical engineering.

Bachelor of Education (BEd)

A BEd program is designed for future educators, this type of bachelor’s degree focuses on pedagogical methods, classroom management, and educational psychology.

Bachelor of Criminal Justice (BCJ)

This type of bachelor’s degree is geared towards individuals interested in law enforcement, criminology, and criminal justice policy, providing knowledge about legal systems and crime prevention.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

A Bachelor of Social Work Degree is ideal for individuals interested in social work and human services. Graduates of BSW are usually trained in providing education in counseling, community advocacy, and social justice.

Here is a video about the 8 Highest-Paying Bachelor Degrees to give you more insight about this topic.

Now that you know more about what the types of bachelor’s degrees are, you might want to check out what comes next after it: a master’s degree then a doctorate degree. But if you’re still in the process of considering a bachelor’s degree, you can read more about the types of associate degrees to further expand your options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are bachelor’s degrees in the US?

The three most common bachelor’s degrees offered by the universities in the US are Bachelor of Arts (BA degree), Bachelor of Science (BS degree), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA degree)

How long is a Bachelor’s degree?

Completing a bachelor’s degree usually spans four years, though the duration can differ, especially in the case of online programs. For example, at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), students enrolled in online bachelor’s programs usually undertake one or two courses per term. This flexible approach allows for varying completion times based on individual preferences and commitments.

What is a better degree? Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science?

Neither degree is better than the other; their suitability depends on individual career aspirations. For instance, a Bachelor of Science (BS) might be more suitable for technical career paths and further graduate studies. In certain fields, like psychology, students often have the choice between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree based on their preferences and goals.

Which bachelor’s degree is best for me?

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines are prominent among the college programs that lead to well-paying jobs. Although certain humanities and social sciences bachelor’s degrees may not directly yield high incomes, they can serve as a stepping stone for advanced degrees and potentially more financially rewarding professions.

How do I list my bachelor’s degree?

You have to provide important details such as the university’s name, degree type, major, minor (if any), and the start and end dates of your academic journey. If there’s room for more information, consider including specifics like honors received, GPA, and extracurricular involvement beneath the degree listing. This comprehensive approach ensures a clear presentation of your educational background.

Not what you were looking for? Our Types of College Degrees content talks about all the types of college degrees, including a bachelor’s will help you understand what degree is perfect for you.

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