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BS or BA?

  1. Mar 17, 2005 #1
    Just wondering, when applying for a job, do employers want people with a BA or BS in physics? Because I am a physics and philosophy double major aiming for law school. But a BS in physics is way too much work, as I need a lot of different courses for pre-law. So please let me know.
     
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  3. Mar 17, 2005 #2
    Well, the BS shows more skill in the major than the BA. The BA is usually an easier program and flexible enough to allow for another major. I guess the answer depends on your commitment and level of interest. I'm not certain how you could tie in a degree in physics with law (resource management maybe?), but an employer definitely wants someone who's competent and well-rounded.
     
  4. Mar 17, 2005 #3
    Are you planning on being a lawyer? I think the BA/BS distinction will be largely irrelevant, even if you plan on becoming a patent lawyer. There are far more important things to a law firm - such as law school grades, law review participation, quality of law school, etc.

    A pre-law major sounds pretty bogus and unnecessary to me.
     
  5. Mar 17, 2005 #4
    Well, there is no pre-law major here, so I just did something I was interested in. I think that despite the difficulty I am experiencing in physics, I am still going to stick with it. But in terms of careers in physics, do employers want a BS more than BA?

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  6. Mar 17, 2005 #5

    jtbell

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    Just out of curiosity, what is the difference between a BS and a BA in physics at your school, in terms of course requirements? Where I went to college (thirty years ago), they offered only a BA (in all fields). Where I teach now (a very similar small college) we offer only a BS in physics. But the course requirements are pretty much the same, as far as I can remember.

    If you have a choice between BA and BS, and the requirements are significantly different (probably more math and/or physics for the BS), and if you were going to grad school in physics or some other science or engineering field, I would prefer the BS simply because having more math and science courses would prepare you better for grad school. But if you're going into law, I'd think that law-school admissions people would tend to favor people with a broad background, in particular more of the liberal-arts stuff like English etc.

    Where I teach now, it used to be that the only difference between BA and BS was that a BA required you to take a foreign language, whereas a BS required you to take some math. But several years ago we made the general-education requirements uniform for both degrees. Most departments offer either the BA or the BS only.
     
  7. Mar 18, 2005 #6

    Pengwuino

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    I thought the BA is for when you want to get your teaching credentials on that subject (so you dont need much training) and the BS is when you actually want to pursue a career in it.
     
  8. Mar 18, 2005 #7

    Chronos

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    That's probably as good as any explanation. Back in the day, graduate schools preferred a BA to a BS. One of the major [a collateral pun] differences was a BA required proficiency in a foreign language. Back in those days, the GSAT had a second language option and part of the test would be administered in the language you applied for. According to my niece [a very bright girl], that is now just a quaint custom. I don't regret it though, I can now cuss people in two languages.
     
  9. Mar 18, 2005 #8
    Oh, no wonder. My advisor has a BA in physics.

    The difference between BA and BS is that the BS requires me to take a chemistry course, a programming course, computational physics, and one semester of undergraduate research.
     
  10. Mar 18, 2005 #9
    What? I have a BA in Mathematical Sciences, so are you saying I'm not as skilled as someone with a BS? If so, THAT'S BS!
     
  11. Mar 18, 2005 #10

    jtbell

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    I think those courses would definitely be worth while for someone going on to grad school in physics or engineering, or straight into technical or laboratory work. For someone with your goals, they're less important than other courses that might help you get into law school.

    If you can see yourself going on to do research or lab work as a fallback from law school, you should consider taking them anyway.
     
  12. Mar 18, 2005 #11
    I had a double major, one in math and the other in physics. Physics is labeled as my primary. The degree is called a "BA in physics."

    A physicist must have a very strong knowledge of mathematics, But either way my major is a BA, not a BS. So to fill up my coursework to fill in for the second major in physics so I took some good math courses. One of which was complex anaylsis. A another was mathematical-computation

    One might get the idea that this knowlwege wouldn't come to use. However, and to my surprised, My work required working with all that I mentioned above.

    If I were you I'd take on the course whose outline I liked and not worry about the "BA" or "BS". I has never made a difference in my life.

    Pete
     
  13. Mar 18, 2005 #12

    Pengwuino

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    Honestly, if your university follows teh same practices as most universities do, you are not as skilled unless you go 'beyond the call of duty' and take coures not necessary for your BA.

    Or of course you can go have a math war with some BS grads and see who wins out :D
     
  14. Mar 18, 2005 #13

    Pengwuino

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    Haha like one of my professors said, every physicist is half mathematician
     
  15. Mar 18, 2005 #14
    I'll challenge any BS Math graduate to a Math War.
     
  16. Mar 18, 2005 #15

    Pengwuino

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    Im glad the requirements for a minor in math arent too bad at my university or else id probably die too.
     
  17. Mar 18, 2005 #16
    LOL!! You're too quick, man. The post that I edited, is only between you and me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2005
  18. Mar 18, 2005 #17

    Pengwuino

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    hahaha, yup, too quick :D
     
  19. Mar 18, 2005 #18

    Moonbear

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    The distinctions vary from school to school, and are pretty irrelevant. In college, I got a B.A. (in Biology) because I attended the women's college, which required a whole host of other core courses to give us a "more well-rounded" education. Had I walked across the street and attended the Ag School, I'd have gotten a B.S. for the exact same major (requirements for the major were standardized across the university regardless of the college we attended, and the students all took the same classes together, same exams, same everything). So, the only things different were the classes we took outside of our major.

    IIRC, chemistry, physics, and home economics (yeah, really...I never understood that one! :confused:) still were awarded a B.S., and the college never explained why they were different, but since I gave up the chemistry major a few credits short, I never got to find out if I would get both a B.A. and a B.S. if I did a bio/chem double major.

    Anyway, the actual courses you took will be more important than which letters are used.
     
  20. Mar 18, 2005 #19
    sorry to interupt the flow of this forum, but I just have to know.

    what does IIRC stand for? I've seen it all over the place but haven't been able to decipher it.



    PS: I love your avatar MoonBear :Laughing:
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2005
  21. Mar 19, 2005 #20

    Chronos

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    - if i recall correctly. Moonbears current avatar is her way of breaking free from the convent. She was once a nun.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2005
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