Wondering if a bachelor of arts (BA) is the right degree for your studies? This guide will explain what a BA is, featured programs and schools for BAs, and the job and salary outlook for bachelor of arts graduates.
What Is a Bachelor of Arts Degree?
A bachelor of arts is an undergraduate, academic degree that generally lasts four years and requires 120 credit hours. A bachelor of arts is one of the most common undergraduate degrees in the United States.
A bachelor of arts is designed to prepare you with critical thinking skills and communication skills, usually in the humanities, such as foreign language, literature, history, psychology, journalism, social work, art, or religion programs.
Plenty of colleges and universities offer great BA degrees and online programs are becoming more and more common, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting a bachelor’s degree online offers students more flexibility, allowing them to meet their responsibilities outside of school.
Bachelor of Arts vs Bachelor of Science
A BA is centred around liberal arts, meaning students are encouraged to earn credits in a broad variety of subjects within the humanities. They are among the most flexible program options for students looking to customize their educational interests. Fields like English, art, music, modern languages, and communication are commonly associated with a bachelor of arts.
A BS is more focused on math, technology, and science, meaning students spend less time studying liberal arts subjects and concentrate instead on more specialized education in the technical and practical aspects of their field. BS degrees usually offer fewer opportunities to explore topics outside of a student’s major area of study, but they do provide students who know what they want more in-depth knowledge of that field.
Whether a subject is considered a science or an arts degree depends on the college. For example, an economics degree may be a BA at one university but BS degree at another. Whether you should pick a BA or a BS is not worth worrying over too much, as employers are usually happy with either bachelor degree as they see them as equal accreditations, including accredited online programs.
Best Schools for a Bachelor of Arts
Below are some schools in the US that offer outstanding bachelor of arts programs.
Top BA Programs: History/Computer Science/Biological Sciences
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is made up of 11 principal academic units, 10 faculties, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The 10 faculties oversee schools and divisions that offer courses and award academic degrees. So as you can imagine, there is a huge range of majors to choose from. Harvard also has online learning options in business, finance, and other programs.
Top BA Programs: Marketing/Journalism/Health Professions
Miami University is a public research university in Oxford, Ohio. Ranked among the top 50 national public universities by US News & World Report, Miami University is recognized as one of the nation’s most outstanding undergraduate institutions. With a student body of nearly 19,000, Miami University effectively combines a wide range of strong academic programs with the personal attention ordinarily found only at much smaller institutions.
Top BA Programs: Social Service/History/Social Science/Psychology
An Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton offers a wide range of degree programs, including BA degrees. As a student, you benefit from extraordinary resources and a low student-to-teacher ratio, meaning you are able to develop close relationships with professors. The curriculum emphasizes learning, creativity, innovation, and collaboration with programs in the liberal arts, humanities, arts, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering.
Top BA Programs: Languages/Theatre and Performance Studies/Biological and Biomedical Sciences
The University of California, Berkeley, is a public research university in Berkeley, California. Ranked the #1 public university worldwide, according to US News & World Report, it offers more than 300 degree programs. Berkeley hosts many leading research institutes, including the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Space Sciences Laboratory.
Where: Ann Arbor
Top BA Programs: Arts and Ideas in the Humanities/Dance/Computer Engineering
The University of Michigan is a public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The University of Michigan has a tradition of excellence in research, learning and teaching, sports, the arts, and more. It aims to create eminent scholars, scientists, artists, writers, educators, and other professionals who can advance their field in significant ways.
Top BA Programs: Art History / Computer Science & Philosophy/ Communication & Media Study
Indiana University Bloomington is a public research university in Bloomington, Indiana. It is the flagship institution of the Indiana University system and, with over 40,000 students, its largest university. It believes that the liberal arts and sciences offer something more substantial and profound. It aims to equip students with the skills needed to question critically, think logically, communicate clearly, act creatively, and live ethically.
Top BA Programs: Arts/ Law/Sports Business
Arizona State University in Tempe was ranked the #1 most innovative school by US News & World Report. ASU offers more than 350 undergraduate majors led by expert faculty. Through an interdisciplinary approach to instruction, students become master learners, capable of learning anything.
BA Graduates: Job and Salary Prospects
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019, someone with a bachelor’s degree will earn a median salary of $1,248 per week. Also, gaining a bachelor’s degree can help students move on to studying a master’s degree, creating the potential to make an average of $1,497 per week. Furthermore, if students then go on to gain a doctoral degree, they increase their potential earnings to $1,883 per week.
Highest-Paid BA Graduate Careers
There is a wide range of prospective careers for bachelor of arts graduates. If your interests lay in computer programming, finance, marketing, human resources, or psychology, there are wonderful career paths for you. Below is a list of the highest-paid careers you can get with a bachelor of arts degree, using information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Computer and Informations Systems Manager: $142,530
- Architectural and Engineering Manager: $140,760
- Marketing Manager: $135,900
- Financial Manager: $127,990
- Natural Sciences Manager: $123,860
- Software Engineer: $123,200
- Compensation and Benefits Manager: $122,270
- Human Resources Manager: $113,300
- Software Developer: $110,000
- Physical Scientist: $107,230
- Psychologist: $80,370
- Historian: $63,680
- Journalist: $62,400
Should I Get a Bachelor of Arts Degree?
As you have seen, a bachelor of arts can open a lot of great career opportunity doors for you. Remember, make sure the school you choose is an accredited college or university.
Although the top careers may all look very similar, there are plenty of opportunities in humanities sectors like music, foreign language, literature, history, psychology, journalism, social work, art, and religion once you earn your bachelor of arts.
If any of these fields interest you, enrolling in a bachelor of arts program may be a good career step for you.