Psychology: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science?

A basic description of psychology is that it involves the study and research of human behavior and mental processes. Many universities offer a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology or a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Both degrees aim to equip students with skills in research methods and a basic knowledge of areas of psychology, which can include developmental psychology, experimental psychology, social psychology and abnormal psychology.

There is one main distinction between a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in the same subject. The Bachelor of Science degree requirements focus on the major courses in psychology as well as math and science.

The choice between a B.A. and B.S. can center on academic and career goals. A student who earns a Bachelor of Science in Psychology is prepared for graduate studies in psychology or other social sciences. Students who are following an educational path toward medicine or health care may want to consider pursuing a Bachelor of Science because of its emphasis on math and science. Specifically, students who are interested in the following career opportunities should consider pursuing a Bachelor of Science:

• biopsychology
• psychopharmacology
• neuroscience
• psychiatry
• sports psychology
• public health

A Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, on the other hand, prepares students for careers in social work, counseling psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, social psychology and more. A Bachelor of Arts focuses more on the liberal arts, which includes languages, humanities and other social sciences. B.A. in Psychology programs focus more on the social influences of human behavior and psychological function.

Both degrees prepare students for many opportunities after graduation. Academically, they have equal value. The ultimate value of one program over another is up to students pursuing psychology as a career and their goals.