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What Is the Difference Between a B.A. & a B.S. for Graduate School Anthropology?

by Cassandra Ifie

An undergraduate degree in anthropology allows students to explore such topics as linguistics and human evolution. The Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Bachelor of Science in Anthropology are different based on the curriculum, policies and requirements of the academic institution a students chooses to attend. Earning a B.A. or B.S. degree in anthropology can jumpstart a student's career aspirations and goals beyond college graduation. The B.A. and B.S. degrees in anthropology prepare scholars to pursue graduate studies or secure professional opportunities related to the field.

Anthropology Defined

Anthropology is the study of humankind, from early civilization to the present, according to the American Anthropological Association. Anthropology focuses on four subfields: cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology and biological anthropology. Students studying for a B.A. or B.S. degree in anthropology seek professional positions in a variety settings including academia, nonprofits, government agencies and public education. Both degrees offer a solid foundation for the extensive research and writing skill standards of graduate schools.

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology

The Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology features more liberal arts courses in the discipline. Many academic institutions granting the B.A. in anthropology require students to incorporate additional foreign language courses into their degree plans. Grand Valley State University in Michigan expects all students working toward a B.A. in anthropology to possess three semesters of foreign languages courses. Grand Valley State University also offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology which requires only two semesters of foreign languages, however; students must complete a one-year sequence in the natural sciences. At the University of Kentucky, anthropology majors enrolled in the B.S. degree program must complete course work in the biological, physical, mathematical and computer sciences, while the B.A. degree requires additional foreign language and upper-level anthropology courses.

Bachelor of Science in Anthropology

The Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology highlights coursework related to the natural and mathematical sciences. The B.S. in anthropology degree at Kent State University offers a concentration in archaeology and biological anthropology. Anthropology students at Kent State University enroll in 17 to 18 credit hours of sciences or field research courses. Anthropology students with a strong natural sciences background have high acceptance rates to medical and dental school. The University of California Davis suggests the B.S. degree in anthropology effectively prepares students to handle the rigors of medical and dental school.

Graduate Degree Considerations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for anthropology majors will increase by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020. A graduate degree is required for most professional positions in the field. Undergraduate students seeking entry-level jobs should base their decisions on earning a B.A. or B.S. in anthropology on their career goals and academic interests, especially if they go on to study anthropology in graduate school. The job market for anthropology majors is competitive, and the most academically qualified graduates will rise above the competition and land a rewarding position in anthropology.

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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