Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts is an undergraduate degree program which results in a diploma after an average of four years, though some programs can take a year or two longer. The individual student’s schedule and the type of program selected – traditional, accelerated, flexible, etc., will impact the time frame necessary for completing a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Arts and Science Degrees

Undergraduate degrees are divided into two primary categories – the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. Each of these primary degrees is available in a wide range of specialties. The Bachelor of Fine Arts is one example of a specialized arts degree.

The main distinction between arts and science degrees is the course load required for completing each. Students pursuing a science degree will take a higher course load in mathematics, and natural, health and/or social sciences. Those completing an arts degree are generally required to take a foreign language, as well as more English, literature, and arts courses.

Regardless of which degree you pursue, you will be required to complete a core curriculum that consists of classes from an array of academic disciplines. The purpose of the core curriculum is to give students a well-rounded education which empowers them to think, analyze and rationalize no matter the intellectual challenge they encounter.

Basic Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree

Bachelor of Arts

Every college and university structures its degree programs slightly differently. The differences, however, are minimal. The average Bachelor of Arts Degree requires a student to complete a total of between 120 and 130 credit hours. Of those credit hours, about a third of those fall into the core curriculum.

Core curriculum hours for a Bachelor’s Degree are the same no matter which kind of degree you’re completing. Some courses are fixed. Other core requirements can be satisfied from a choice of courses.

In other words, you will need to take a handful of specific courses which are the same no matter which college or university you attend. The other core credit hours are chosen from a list of courses in specific academic disciplines. Any class chosen from the college’s or university’s list of approved courses will satisfy the core requirement.

The core requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree include the following:

  • Humanities – four courses
  • Science – two to four courses, including labs
  • Social Sciences – two to four courses
  • Required core curriculum courses – Introduction to Literature, English Composition, Western Civilization (two semesters, in most cases), and Public Speaking
  • Foreign Language – most Bachelor of Arts programs require between three and six courses in a foreign language for degree achievement

Bachelor of Arts Electives

Every Bachelor of Arts and Bachelors of Science Degree allows students to choose a certain number of electives. While elective hours are required for finishing a Bachelor of Arts Degree, they do allow students to have more control over what they learn and afford you the opportunity to take classes that are of personal interest to you and count them toward your degree.

Colleges and universities typically require somewhere between 12 and 15 elective courses. Many students choose to select electives which will also satisfy the requirements of a major in order to finish their degree sooner, though you can also take classes that are unrelated to your major, if you have other areas of academic interest.

Some students also choose their elective courses in order to finish a minor or a concentration in another academic area. By selecting classes that satisfy elective requirements at the same time as satisfying the course requirements for a minor or concentration, you can also cut down on the duration of time necessary for finishing school.

Not all electives can be counted toward a major and not all courses area allowed to be counted doubly for a minor or concentration either. Every college and university sets its own standards regarding course credits and how those credits may be applied. Academic advisors help students select courses to strategically complete their major(s), minor(s) and concentrations in their goal time table.

Outlook with a Bachelor of Arts Degree

Holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree promotes a stronger career outlook and elevates an individual’s potential earnings, as well. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for most professional positions and only about a quarter of the workforce holds this degree. By becoming a part of that group, you make it easier to obtain the job of your choice and open the door for job promotions and raises.

Options for earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree

There are many ways in which to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree these days. Students no longer need to commit to a stint at a college or university campus if they don’t want to. Of course, the traditional campus education is still an option too, if that’s what you decide is right for you. If not, there are accelerated degree programs where classes meet one or two nights a week at a local college, university or even high school campus. There are also many online Bachelor of Arts Degree programs to choose from that make distance learning and flexible class schedules easier for the non-traditional and working professional student groups.

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