What Is a BA Degree?

A B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) degree demonstrates completion of a liberal arts education at a university or college. Origins of the degree can be traced back to the universities of Europe, China and the Middle East. This article provides information about the history and specifications of B.A. degrees.

B.A. Degrees in the United States

In the U. S., a Bachelor of Arts degree program usually requires a minimum of four years of full-time study beyond secondary school. A B.A. degree program is typically awarded for broad academic studies, rather than more specific, career-focused fields, many of which award a Bachelor of Science. Some of the B.A. degrees awarded in the United States include education, history, communication, philosophy, languages, literature and religion. A bachelor's degree program can include both an academic major and minor subject.

Important Facts About B.A. Degrees

Prerequisites High school diploma or GED equivalent
Online Availability Yes, full and partial options available in a variety of fields
Degree Fields Education, history, communication, philosophy, languages, literature and religion
Continuing Education Graduate degree

B.A. Degree Requirements

Students enrolled in accredited institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, www.ed.gov, must meet minimum matriculation standards before a B.A. degree is awarded. For example, a bachelor's degree in English might require the completion of 49 credit hours in general education, 23 hours in electives, and 36 in English, for a total of 120 total credit hours. In addition, the graduate with a B.A. will have completed a core curriculum of liberal arts. Courses for an academic major include both lower-division and upper-division classes. Additional credit hours needed to reach the minimum degree standards can be selected from elective subjects.

History of the B.A. Degree

The term 'Bachelor of Arts' comes from the Latin phrase, artium baccalaureus. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the oldest continuously operating degree-granting university in the world is located in Morocco and dates back to the year 859. Degrees are offered at all levels, including the equivalent of a bachelor's degree.

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