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What is the Difference between the B.S. and B.A.?

The answer to this question is twofold.  First, there is a general difference that tends to apply for most bachelor’s degrees regardless of university. Second, there is a curricular difference that impacts the courses you must take for one, but not the other, at Shepherd University.

Generally, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree focuses on building practical skills for problem-solving, like learning how to conduct scientific investigations or learning how to use statistical programs to collect and organize data. A Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree offers a more general knowledge base and relies on the arts and humanities to support knowledge applications.  Because Shepherd University is a COPLAC institution (i.e., liberal arts university), the B.S. and B.A. include a balance of science, art, and humanities courses as part of the core curriculum. However, there are notable differences in the courses that must be completed for each degree.

For the B.S. in Sociology (both concentrations), students must take a statistics course and complete the senior thesis (a “final” paper that demonstrates students’ ability to engage in social scientific investigation).  For the B.A. in Criminal Justice (both concentrations), students must take two years of a foreign language (four semesters) and complete an internship (a work-study course with field experience that includes a “final” paper). Both degrees emphasize creative and critical thinking, problem-solving, and writing.  And, both degrees require a writing-in-the-major course that teaches students technical writing skills for research reports.