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A BS Vs. a BA in Sociology

by Cassandra Ifie

A sociology degree provides students with an in-depth understanding of sociological concepts. The difference between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in sociology depends on the policies and requirements of the college or university. Deciding to pursue a B.A. or B.S. degree in sociology is sometimes based on student goals and aspirations beyond their undergraduate career. The B.A. and B.S. degrees in sociology prepare students for advanced-level graduate studies or a variety of professional job opportunities relevant to the discipline.

Sociology Degree

A sociology degree enables students to study society and social behavior as it relates to groups, communities and institutions. Students examine various subject matter including race, class, families, crime and education. The B.A or B.S. degree in sociology prepares students to contribute sociological concepts to their work environment and offers a strong foundation in research and writing appropriate for graduate studies.

B.A. in Sociology

The Bachelor of Arts in sociology is the degree generally awarded to sociology undergraduates in the United States. Many colleges and universities require undergraduates pursuing the B.A. degree in sociology to enroll in additional foreign language courses or social science electives. For example, Clemson University offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology. The B.A. degree path requires students to take additional foreign language courses beyond the general education requirements. Unlike the B.S., the B.A. degree in sociology does not place significant emphasis on mathematics and science. B.A. degree programs in sociology provide students with a firm liberal arts foundation resulting in a well-rounded student knowledgeable in sociological concepts.

B.S. in Sociology

The Bachelor of Science in sociology is geared toward students seeking a more technical approach to the discipline. Most colleges and universities that grant the B.S. degree in sociology require students to enroll in additional sciences and mathematics courses beyond the general education core requirements. For example, according to the University of Minnesota, the B.S. in sociology is designed for students interested in a more rigorous concentration in the applied areas of statistics, mathematics and sciences. The B.S. is not awarded to sociology students as often as the B.A. degree. The B.S. in sociology is a math- and research-focused degree that prepares students for graduate studies.

Considerations

When deciding to pursue a B.S. or B.A. degree in sociology, students should consider their plans beyond college graduation. If you wish to pursue a career with a significant focus on math, statistics or research, a B.S. degree in sociology would be the most appropriate choice. According to Western Washington University, college graduates with a B.S. degree in sociology can secure positions working as market researchers, government data analysts or census research assistants. Students seeking a liberal arts approach to the major should consider the B.A. in sociology. The B.A. in sociology prepares graduates for a wide range of career choices in such fields as nonprofits, public relations, criminal justice and casework.

About the Author

Cassandra Ifie is a librarian living in Richmond, Va. She has also been a writer since 2008. Ifie received her Master of Library Science degree from Texas Woman's University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Rust College.

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