What is a Bachelor's (or Baccalaureate) degree?

An undergraduate degree that usually takes about 4 years of full-time study to earn. There are two common types of bachelor’s degrees, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS).

Other bachelor’s degrees are sometimes given as well, such as the Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) or the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Bachelor’s degrees must have a major program of study; they may also have one or more minor programs of study.

While specific differences among degrees can vary by college, the general differences among BA, BS and BGS degrees are outlined below.

  • The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree usually has fewer required hours in the major than a Bachelor of Science degree. The BA typically requires more hours in other areas (General Education).
  • The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree has fewer hours in General Education, with more of the degree’s hours required in the major.
  • The Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) degree is typically interdisciplinary, possibly requiring a minor.