What Is a Bachelor of Arts Degree?

A Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program offers instruction in the humanities, social sciences or liberal arts. These programs are commonly offered at most colleges or universities. If you are interested in pursuing a broad liberal arts education, read on to find out about B.A. degrees. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Bachelor of Arts Degree Program Overview

A Bachelor of Arts is a broad interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program encompassing general education, electives and major area of study courses. As opposed to a Bachelor of Science program, B.A. programs generally give you more flexibility in choosing your courses and are less specialized. By taking courses in the arts and humanities, you can deepen your cultural understanding and awareness, in addition to developing analytical, critical thinking, written and communication skills.

After completing several general education courses, you can choose a major from a number of academic areas, such as social sciences, behavioral sciences and fine arts. A Bachelor of Arts degree may be appealing because of its broad and well-rounded approach, which can offer versatility and options when seeking a career or a graduate degree.

Important Facts About a Bachelor of Arts Degree

Prerequisites GPA and standardized test scores must meet school-based requirements before admission to a B.A. program
Degree Fields Offers vary by school. Examples: English Studies, Humanities, Sociology, Criminology, Languages
Programs B.A. programs often offer study abroad possibilities, online education, and continuing education for advanced degrees
Possible Careers B.A. Degrees are foundational education for lawyers, teachers, architects, and communications professionals

General Education Courses

In a B.A. program, you must complete coursework in several disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, foreign language and fine arts. The flexibility in a B.A. program can let you explore different academic areas and subjects that meet your interests. Typically, you'll spend the first two years of a 4-year B.A. program completing lower-division coursework before moving on to upper-division classes that involve your chosen major.

Major Areas of Study

Your major area of study involves specialized upper-division courses. You will likely have numerous major options to choose from, including literature, history and political science. Many arts and design disciplines also award B.A. degrees, such as art history, creative writing, architecture, theater and music. Other common majors and concentrations available through B.A. programs include:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Journalism
  • International studies
  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Anthropology


Electives are a few courses in a B.A. program that you get to choose; these courses can be either related or unrelated to your major. For instance, if you major subject is political science, you might choose to take a course in psychology just because you are interested. Or, you may decide to use your elective courses to take more courses in your major area.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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