The Differences Between a BA, BSc, and BBA Degree

Studying abroad offers many advantages to students regardless of their area of interest. Beyond the prospect of gaining academic credentials from some of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the world, there is the opportunity to experience varied cultures and begin building an international network of contacts that could be invaluable in today’s increasingly global community. Of course, taking advantage of all that studying internationally has to offer begins with choosing the best degree and then finding the programs that best fit your budget and interest.

Unfortunately, to the uninitiated, the acronyms used in higher education can be confusing and even differ depending on the country you are hoping to study in. While a complete listing of all the various undergraduate degrees that are now available to international students would literally fill volumes, the basics aren’t that complicated. The three most common types of degree programs offered are Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). But… What are the differences between a BA, BSc, and BBA Degrees? Which one is better? What are your job prospects in the future? Let’s go over this in detail.

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

A bachelor of arts degree is generally associated with the liberal arts such as philosophy, music, literature, history and the social sciences.

These subjects are also often referred to as The Humanities. BAs are intended to give someone a solid foundation of general knowledge and normally offer a student the opportunity to explore a wide variety of subjects beyond their area of focus.

Bachelor of Science (BSc)

Bachelor of Science degree programs are most often focused on the subjects related to the hard sciences such as physics, engineering, computer sciences, natural sciences, technology, mathematics and medicine. But nowadays some schools and universities even offer BSc programs in the fields of Psychology or Business.

Those schools focused on more technical fields are often expressed as having strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs. Students seeking a BSc will spend the majority of their time focused on studying and performing lab work in their particular area of interest with less opportunity for electives.

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)

Bachelor of Business Administration degrees are for students who want an in-depth education into what it takes to have a big impact in the business world.

Many schools also offer a BA or BSc degree in business but they are generally more focused on particular sectors where a BBA gives a broader overview of how business gets done. While students seeking a bachelor of business administration degrees are free to specialize, their core curriculum will most likely include accounting, marketing, operations management, economics, legal administration, public relations and supply chain management.

BA, BSc, or BBA Degree; Which is Best?

While any degree is considered a worthwhile investment being valued in excess of a million and a half dollars (U.S.) in lifetime earnings, it is not to say that all degrees are created equal. The degree level, area of specialty and institution that it is received from all play a role in determining what the ideal choices are for someone to make when deciding what and where to study abroad.

Demand and Growth Potential

One major consideration that should always be taken into account when looking into degree programs is whether or not you will be able to build a career with your degree. Any degree is a plus as it demonstrates dedication and focus. However, many of the fields that require a BSc degree have higher demand and growth potential than those fields in say the humanities.

There are many more bachelor of arts degrees granted each year than any other type and the ‘law of supply and demand’ definitely comes into play in the fields a humanities degree qualifies you for. Demand for BBA degrees at the entry level creates a very competitive market for graduates but superb growth potential for those savvy enough to get their foot in the door. Of course, the particular focus of studies plays a large role in this area.

Potential Earnings

From a purely practical standpoint, earning potential comes directly after the ability to find work when considering the virtues of different bachelor degrees and the two are closely related. As a general rule, the hard sciences, like those associated with BSc degrees have the highest potential earnings both at the entry-level and for lifetime earnings. How much higher is dependent on the particular field of study. BA degrees come in with the lowest prospects and BBA degree holders are facing the highest variability depending on their field of specialty and school attended.

Work Environment

For many, their work environment is of particular interest when it comes to considering their future prospects. The majority of bachelor of arts and bachelor of business administration degree holders can look forward to a life in an office or classroom environment. For those holding bachelor of science degrees, things aren’t so cut and dry. Depending on their field of study, they could find themselves spending the majority of their time deep in the forest, in a lab setting or working in an industrial area.

Carrier Options

In today’s quickly shifting job market a person cannot have too many career options to choose from. This is one area where BA degree holders have an edge. While the positions they qualify for may not be as lucrative or plentiful in terms of narrow focus, their skill set is wider and less specialized making it easier for them to transfer from one field to another with greater ease. To an extent, this is also true with BBA degree holders who can work in virtually any type of business or start their own. BSc holders with their narrower focal points are most vulnerable to disruptions in their chosen industries or fields of study.

There is really no way to give blanket advice on what degree someone should seek. Choosing a degree program is a highly personal process that must take into consideration a person’s interest, personality traits, personal values and ideas of future success. Everyone has to decide on their own what their idea of a fulfilling life is. These are just a few of the more practical considerations that someone should take into consideration when choosing the type of bachelor’s degree to pursue.

Regardless of what field of study is chosen, there are literally hundreds of educational institutions in the world that could and should be considered before making a final decision on where to pursue a higher education. For further assistance with finding the best educational programs to fit your needs and budget, our Study Abroad Guide offers one of the most complete resources available for those wishing to study abroad as an international student. Whether you are looking for a bachelor, master or PhD program we have the latest information on the most popular education destinations in the world.