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View Full Version : B.A. or B.S.?



ChesleyFan
2005-Mar-02, 02:53 AM
Okay guys, I'm in my thrid year of college and by this point should've delcared my major. I've decided it will be geology (right now I'm rather interested in paleontology) but my school offers either a general option that ends in getting a B.A., or a option geared toward geophysics that ends in a B.S.

My problem: right now I'm struggling through my second semester calculus class. I'm rather good with lesser mathematical concepts, but calculus drives me nuts. I think I'll make it through this semester, but I'm not sure if I can make it to the next level, which is, I think, calculus/analytic geometry (shudder!).

The B.S. option requires that I take two more higher level math classes in addition to the one I'm taking now. The B.A. option doesn't.

The question: should I slug it out for another year with math for the B.S., or should I just end it here and go for a B.A.?

To me it just seems kind of silly to get a Bachelor of Arts degree for a science major... and I wonder if it would be any different when attempting to get into graduate school, whether a B.S. looks better than a B.A.(?)

Opinions?

Normandy6644
2005-Mar-02, 03:29 AM
Some schools (mine included) only offer a BA, but I think when applying to grad school what matters it what courses you took. If you think you can do the math, go for it. What other courses would you need to take?

ChesleyFan
2005-Mar-02, 03:39 AM
Basically the rest of the courses for both the B.A. and B.S. are the same... a lot of 300+ geology courses, which I'm really looking for to diving into come next semester.

Normandy6644
2005-Mar-02, 04:34 AM
What higher math would you have to take for the **?

Jpax2003
2005-Mar-02, 07:17 AM
I have a friend who graduated with a degree in geology, but I don't know if it is a ** or BA. He tells me that the market is saturated with unemployed geologists. Right now he's doing engineering/construction site support which pays less than $30,000 a year.

From what I am told it is almost always better to get a **. Even if you end up in marketing or sales or some unrelated field, math skills will be seen as an advantage. Anymore these days a baccalaureate degree is simply seen as proof that a person is trainable... the implication being that they will learn what the need to know elsewhere in business.

I would recommend going for the ** if you can handle it. I wish I had done it, although I not fond of higher mathematics. I even had a friend offer to take all our classes together so that she could help me out over the next four years, but stupid me opted out. As a matter of fact we were interested in degrees in meteorology. She later received an award from the governor for women's achievement in science at that university. If you think you might want to get a Masters or Doctorate in a science, then I think a ** might be the better course of study.

archman
2005-Mar-02, 07:57 AM
Okay guys, I'm in my thrid year of college and by this point should've delcared my major. I've decided it will be geology (right now I'm rather interested in paleontology) but my school offers either a general option that ends in getting a B.A., or a option geared toward geophysics that ends in a B.S.

The B.S. option requires that I take two more higher level math classes in addition to the one I'm taking now. The B.A. option doesn't.

You can't get a B.S. in general geology, only geophysics? That's odd. I've got a B.S. in biology from Texas A&M, requiring only 2 semesters of math. They're just "harder" math courses than those the B.A.-biology folks take. We take a bunch of other science courses, too.

Geology's a "harder" science, and I wouldn't think it would rate as a B.A., EVER. It sounds like your school's "B.A." might be on a par with other schools' "B.S.'s", and if that's the case, I'd go with the one with just the two math classes. You can tack on another geology class then!

pumpkinpie
2005-Mar-02, 02:33 PM
Geology's a "harder" science, and I wouldn't think it would rate as a B.A., EVER.

Don't forget about the Liberal Arts schools that *only* offer a B.A. I have a B.A. in Physics! And anyone who got a degree in Geology from my school got a B.A. too. But since that's all we had, I don't know the finer details of a school deciding when to give a B.S. vs. a B.A.

ngc3314
2005-Mar-02, 02:50 PM
Geology's a "harder" science, and I wouldn't think it would rate as a B.A., EVER. It sounds like your school's "B.A." might be on a par with other schools' "B.S.'s", and if that's the case, I'd go with the one with just the two math classes. You can tack on another geology class then!

Indeed, the meanings of BA and ** (umm, around here I'd best make that B.A. and B.S.) depend on the particular school. When I was an undergrad, I was surprised to find that the B.A. was considered the more complete and rigorous degree; the B.S. requirements were noticeably more relaxed. In that case, the grad-school track would be a B.A. even in the "hard" sciences. However, I can also attest from being on the other side of the process that if you're interested in graduate study, the admissions committee will be looking at what courses are on your transcript and quite likely never so much as notice whether that's a A or an S on the degree.

teddyv
2005-Mar-02, 03:19 PM
Obviously there is some difference between Canadian and US school degrees, as I'm pretty sure all anyone in Geology up here has a B.Sc. One of the reasons I ended up in geology was the fact only basic calculus was required and little to no physics.

I originally planned to go into physics, but crash-and-burned big time.

Matherly
2005-Mar-02, 03:29 PM
I've got a B.S. in biology from Texas A&M


Ahem
WHOOP Gig'em Ag!

archman
2005-Mar-03, 05:03 AM
I've got a B.S. in biology from Texas A&M


Ahem
WHOOP Gig'em Ag!


Yes, AGGIES are everywhere. We're like a global plague. :P

swansont
2005-Mar-03, 12:41 PM
I have a BA in Physics; there was no option for a ** - the school wasn't accredited for it. I got into grad school, so it didn't seem to be an impediment.

The only problem is going to be if you actually need the math for grad school, or to do your job, whatever that ends up being, if you decide to go to work out of college. Employers will look at you transcripts anyway. I don't think they care so much about the differences between the degrees.

If you have an idea of where you might apply for grad school, see if they have any requirements that might dictate the coursework you need.