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Programs Difference between BA and BS

  1. Apr 1, 2016 #1
    I know that this question has been answered before, but what is the difference between a BA and a BS in physics? Specifically in reference to UC Berkeley. Berkeley only has a BA in physics, but it is not like this is a second rate degree, considering that Berkeley is known for its physics program. So this leads to my question. Why does Berkeley only have a BA? Why do other schools have the option of either BA or BS? Is BS better than BA (more focused)?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2016 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    It depends on the school. MIT, for example, gives a BS in music.
     
  4. Apr 1, 2016 #3
    So the fact that Berkeley only offers a BA doesn't mean much? It's just semantics?
     
  5. Apr 1, 2016 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    Do you see Berkeley grads having trouble moving on? So don't worry about it.
     
  6. Apr 1, 2016 #5

    jtbell

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    That's one possibility. The BS may be aimed at people going on to grad school, while the BA may be for people who want to teach high-school physics, or who want to double-major with something else. The BS would be "better" for some purposes, the BA "better" for others. But if a school offers only the BA, that doesn't mean it's garbage. Berkeley is one obvious counterexample. I went to a small college that offered only BA's in everything. It wasn't anything near the stature of Berkeley, but it was good enough for me to get into Michigan for grad school, and the other three physics majors in my graduating class also got into grad school at various places.

    At the school where I work now, some departments offer BA, and others offer BS. In the past, the difference was in the general education requirements. Now there's no difference, the gen eds are the same for everyone, but the names of the degrees are still different.

    There's no national standard that I'm aware of, that distinguishes between the two degrees.
     
  7. Apr 2, 2016 #6
    Also I see that Princeton and UChicago only offer BA's in physics, so I doubt that there's much a distinction in these scenarios.
     
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