Pursuing Bachelor of Arts? Here’s What You Should Know

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High school graduates often face two major decisions that shape their future: their area of study and their choice of college or university. Selecting a major can be a daunting task for some, as their decision can determine how much they’ll earn and what their work environment will be like.

Once a student has settled on a college major, they’re faced with yet another decision: choosing a specific type of bachelor’s degree. The two common options out there are Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science.

This article will focus on the B.A. college degree. We’ll talk about what this degree involves, the common majors that you can choose and the career options possible for Bachelor of Arts holders. If you’re interested in pursuing this direction after getting your high school diploma, continue reading this article.

What is Bachelor of Arts?

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree will study various areas of humanities, including literature, history and religion. | Photo by Twanda Baker via Flickr Creative Commons

Bachelor of Arts is a college degree that covers standard general education and enables students to specialize in a particular field of interest. It offers students a more expansive education and usually requires fewer credits directly linked to a specific major.

Those pursuing a B.A. degree will need to earn credits in a wide range of liberal arts subjects. Depending on the university, students have the option to choose from an array of courses to meet these requirements, giving them greater flexibility to tailor their education to match their individual preferences and goals.

A Bachelor of Arts degree will help hone your communication and critical thinking skills. You’ll also gain knowledge on the various areas of humanities, such as language, history, literature and religion.

How Does Bachelor of Science Differ from Bachelor of Arts?

The main difference between these two college degrees is the focus of the coursework. The courses in a Bachelor of Science degree usually focus more on the subject matter. The degree requires more credits linked directly to the student’s chosen major.

A person pursuing a B.S. degree will need to focus their academic energies on mastering the practical and technical facets of their field. What’s more, they are unable to venture to topics outside or unrelated to the subject of their major.

Is Bachelor of Arts Right for Me?

The answer depends on you. If you want to pursue a Bachelor of Arts route but aren’t sure if you have what it takes to succeed, answer the following guide questions:

What are your career interests?

Your motivations in life, as well as the kind of career you’re looking to pursue, will help guide your decision-making process. Take the time to reflect on your aspirations and goals post-graduation. Determine the field you want to pursue, then match it with the appropriate bachelor’s degree.

What types of classes have you enjoyed in the past?

If you’re interested in writing, fine arts and concepts related to humanities, earning a B.A. degree may be the right move for you. On the other hand, you could pursue a B.S. degree if areas, such as science, technology, math and engineering, fascinate you.   

What is your dream job?

Which type of jobs (or graduate programs) will you pursue after obtaining your college degree? Do your homework by searching for open job listings in the places you’d like to work. Then, take inventory of the degrees often required by companies for the jobs you prefer.

Common Majors in a Bachelor of Arts Degree

Geography is one of the majors you could pursue when you enroll in a Bachelor of Arts program. | Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

Your Bachelor of Arts major is your chosen specialization. You’ll develop a comprehensive understanding of your preferred major study area from first to fourth year.

Note: some schools won’t require you to select a major on day one. During your first year in college, you may have the opportunity to explore the subject areas you like. By the time you’re required to select your major, you’ll have all the information you need to make a well-informed decision.

Some of the majors you could pursue when you’re enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts route are the following:

Creative Writing

Students enrolled in this major can explore their creative potential and extend their work to cross-genre, avant-garde and experimental forms of writing. They’re encouraged to test the influence and creative implications of contemporary philosophical and theoretical schools of thought in all forms of writing. Also, they can pursue areas of specialization, including fiction, non-fiction, writing for performance and autobiography.

Geography

This Bachelor of Arts major gives students the opportunity to understand and investigate the dynamic relationships between environments and societies. Specific pathways within this major are dedicated to the study of environmental geography, development geography, cultural geography and urban geography.

History

This curriculum allows students to study the past, reflect on the making of the present and develop the skills to think critically, discover information, communicate effectively and analyze evidence. The discipline provides excellent range and in-depth attention to particular themes, times and places. Students taking up this major can expect to learn their country’s history, the medieval world, the great empires of the past and the latest developments in historical research.

Media and Communications

This B.A. major equips students with an excellent understanding of the constantly changing global media technologies and landscape. Students can look forward to learning professional and core research skills valued across various media industries.

Students enrolled in this major will study new communication technologies, key developments in the media sector, and the impact of media on culture, society and politics.

Philosophy

This curriculum explores the most fundamental aspects of value and reality. Students taking up this Bachelor of Arts major will learn contemporary and traditional approaches to individual topics in Philosophy. They’ll get the opportunity to apply the crucial skill of advancing informed and cogent arguments of their own.

Politics and International Studies

This college major allows students to develop an understanding of important political policies, issues, actors, ideas and institutions that dominate global, national and local agendas.

Students can look forward to studying the following:

  • Community and Identity
  • Power (and How People Exercise and Contest It)
  • War and Conflict
  • Political Movements
  • Public Policy
  • Governance
  • Political Theory
  • Political Economy
  • International Relations
  • Comparative Politics

Psychology

Students taking up this intellectually fascinating and broad scientific discipline will study experience and behavior in humans. Also, this major will give students a strong grounding in basic psychological theories and concepts in the areas of clinical, social, developmental, cognitive and biological psychology.

Career Options for Bachelor of Arts Holders

A librarian is just one of many career options you could pursue with a Bachelor of Arts degree. | Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Translating your Bachelor of Arts degree into a well-paying, exciting, fulfilling and rewarding career can be an intimidating prospect. Many soon-to-be and recent college graduates feel anxious about the perceived lack of employment prospects for B.A. holders.

Don’t fret, though. Hundreds of career options are available for Bachelor of Arts degree holders. Pursuing this degree helps develop invaluable skills, such as independent judgment, creativity, effective communication and conceptual skills. These traits make you valuable to employers.

A few jobs you could pursue with this college degree are:

Communications Consultant

If you’re holding a B.A. degree with a major in communications, you could pursue this consultancy role. Your goals are to assist organizations in developing a branding strategy, work with marketing and communications personnel on specific projects and performing media analysis for a client.

Librarian

History majors can take on this career track. This job involves finding media and literary resources to satisfy the informational needs of a school, organization or community. If you love books and enjoy helping others explore and learn information, this may be the dream career for you.

Political Researcher

You could put that political science degree to good use by applying as a political researcher. Typical job responsibilities include undertaking relevant political analysis and research, liaising with government officials and related agencies and retrieving relevant information from online and paper-based sources.

Becoming a Bachelor of Arts degree holder is an option you can take after high school graduation. If you need further guidance on what’s best for you and your future, don’t hesitate to approach a career counselor.

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