B.S. Vs B.A. in Math

by Fitzalan Gorman
A B.A. allows students to take a broader range of electives than a B.S.

A B.A. allows students to take a broader range of electives than a B.S.

Many universities, including Yale University and St. John’s University, offer both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in mathematics. The most significant difference between these two programs is that a B.S. degree requires more science or math-related courses than a B.A. program. Your decision to choose a B.A. or B.S. in mathematics should be based on your personal preference and your university’s offerings.

Basic Mathematical Foundations

The foundation of a B.A. and a B.S. degree tend to be similar. Universities require math majors to take courses in algebra, logic and foundations, analysis, geometry and applied mathematics. Many schools combine pure mathematical courses, such as algebra and geometry, with other mathematical and science-related departments, such as statistics and computational and applied mathematics.

Example B.A. Program

A B.A. mathematics degree requires fewer math courses, freeing up more electives. This allows students to study outside fields of interest other than mathematics. At Drexel University, which offers both a B.A. and B.S. degree, the B.A. program allows for greater course flexibility, requires fewer mathematics courses than a B.S. and requires two quarters of science and additional courses in economics, finance, computer science or engineering. The B.A. program allows for so many free electives that students can pursue a second major.

Example B.S. Program

If you want a more in-depth mathematical or science-related study while in college, then a B.S. in mathematics may be a solid choice for you. At Yale University, the basic requirements for the B.S. and B.A. degrees are the same. Students must take vector analysis, linear algebra, a senior math seminar and then courses in algebra, real analysis and complex analysis. Yet, the B.S. majors must take two additional advanced science courses that are not required for the B.A. math majors.

Potential Jobs

In addition to pure mathematical studies, most math programs focus on providing students with a solid foundation in problem solving and analytical thinking. After graduation, these skills can be used to get a job in a business- or finance-related fields or to go on to graduate, medical, business or law school. Math majors also find jobs in computer security, cryptography, statistical modeling and biotechnology. According to Drexel University, the B.A. program is better for students interested in teaching or actuary, while the B.S. degree is better for students interested in statistical modeling, finance, economics or computer science.

About the Author

Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.

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