Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree

A Bachelor of Science is one of the most common degrees awarded to graduates of 4-year programs, and it signifies your achievements in a scientific, technical or professional field. Keep reading to learn more about how this type of bachelor's degree is distinct from others and what completion typically requires. See what you might study and your career options after graduation.

What Is a Bachelor of Science Degree?

The two most common degrees awarded by 4-year postsecondary programs are the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.). According to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (, a B.A. is awarded to graduates of liberal education programs, while a B.S. is awarded to students who complete a science- or application-based course of study. Typically, scientific programs, such as biology, chemistry, computer science, math and engineering culminate in a B.S.

Additionally, you can earn both a B.A. and B.S. in some areas, such as geography. The program requirements for each degree differ slightly. In both the B.A. and B.S. geography programs, you learn how to analyze data; but on the B.S. track, you also learn about acquiring data, using cartographic applications and understanding geographic information systems. You can also earn a Bachelor of Science in humanities-based subjects, such as English, technical writing, history, psychology and more.

Program Types Scientific- and application-based programs
Common Courses Mathematics, humanities, English, general science, history
Prerequisites High school diploma, or equivalent, and possibly satisfactory scores in certain classes to enroll in specific degree programs
Possible Majors Computer science, chemistry, engineering, nursing, accounting
Possible Careers Financial analyst, software developer, and engineer are just a few options

How Do I Earn a Bachelor of Science?

Typically, a B.S. program requires you to take core courses in your area of study, but you take more than half of your courses in general education areas. Regardless of major, most B.S. students take courses in English, general science, chemistry, math, history and humanities. All work can usually be completed in four years.

Some schools and Bachelor of Science-granting programs have prerequisites that you need to complete in high school or prior to program admission. For example, you may need to earn minimum grades in high school chemistry courses in order to begin a nursing B.S. program. Often, you can take remedial courses to make up for any missed prerequisites.

What Are Common B.S. Programs?

Science-based majors include engineering, chemistry, computers, biology, physics and information technology. Applied skills majors include nursing, business management, accounting, sales and sign language interpreting. Professional majors include criminology and law. You can earn a B.S. in some subjects through online programs.

What Can I Do With the Degree?

Bachelor of Science programs prepare you for work in almost any field, depending on your major. In many cases, you can start your career directly after graduation, while other careers require or benefit from postgraduate education. According to, salaries for people who have a B.S. vary widely according to subject matter studied. As of Janary 2016, software developers made a median salary of $68,082, while financial analysts made a median salary of $56,928 per year, according to the same source. Electrical engineers earned a median of $71,100 a year, according to figures from the same time period.

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