In today’s world, a communications degree can open many doors and lead to exciting careers in fields like public relations, marketing, journalism, advertising, and more. But one question that often comes up when deciding to pursue this versatile degree is: will I earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communications?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Communications degrees are usually awarded as Bachelor of Arts degrees because communications is considered a liberal arts field. However, some colleges offer Bachelor of Science degrees in Communications as well, especially if the program focuses on quantitative skills.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key differences between BA and BS degrees, look at Communications program curricula, and help you determine which type of degree is the best fit for your interests and career aspirations.
Understanding the Difference Between BA and BS Degrees
When it comes to pursuing a communications degree, one common question that arises is whether it is classified as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). To understand the difference between these two degree classifications, it is important to consider factors such as the focus of the degree, required coursework and skills, and the potential career paths available.
Liberal Arts vs STEM Focus
The primary distinction between a BA and a BS degree lies in their respective focuses. A BA degree typically falls under the umbrella of liberal arts, emphasizing a broad range of subjects such as humanities, social sciences, and fine arts.
On the other hand, a BS degree tends to have a more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) focus. While a communications degree can be classified as either a BA or a BS, it often leans towards a BA due to its emphasis on developing critical thinking, writing, and interpersonal communication skills.
Required Coursework and Skills
Another aspect to consider when distinguishing between a BA and a BS degree is the required coursework and skills. A BA in communications typically includes courses in media studies, public relations, journalism, and interpersonal communication.
These courses focus on honing skills such as writing, public speaking, and analyzing media content. In contrast, a BS in communications may include coursework in areas such as data analysis, research methods, and digital media production, which are more aligned with technical skills necessary for careers in areas like marketing analytics or digital communications.
It is worth noting that the specific curriculum and coursework requirements can vary between universities and programs. Therefore, it is essential for students to review the course catalog and program requirements of the institution they are interested in.
Both a BA and a BS degree in communications can lead to a variety of career paths. With a BA in communications, graduates may find opportunities in fields such as public relations, journalism, advertising, or corporate communications.
They may work in roles such as media coordinator, content writer, or public relations specialist. On the other hand, a BS in communications can open doors to careers in data analytics, market research, digital marketing, or social media management.
These roles often require a strong understanding of data analysis, research methodologies, and technical skills related to digital media.
It is important to remember that while the distinction between a BA and a BS degree can provide some insights into the focus and skills of a communications degree, it does not limit the potential career paths a graduate can pursue.
The skills developed during a communications degree, such as effective communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving, are highly transferable and valuable in a wide range of industries.
For more information on degree classifications and specific program requirements, it is always recommended to visit the websites of reputable universities or consult with academic advisors.
Communications Degrees are Predominantly Awarded as BAs
When it comes to obtaining a degree in communications, the majority of programs award a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. This is because communications is considered to be a discipline that falls under the umbrella of the liberal arts.
Liberal Arts Foundation
One of the main reasons why communications degrees are predominantly awarded as BAs is due to the liberal arts foundation of the field. Communications is a multidisciplinary subject that encompasses a wide range of topics such as journalism, public relations, advertising, and media studies.
By earning a BA in communications, students gain a well-rounded education that includes courses in social sciences, humanities, and fine arts. This broad foundation allows graduates to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills that are highly valued in today’s job market.
Flexible and Interdisciplinary Skills
Another reason why a BA is the predominant degree in communications is the flexibility and interdisciplinary nature of the field. Communications professionals need to have a diverse skill set that includes writing, research, public speaking, and interpersonal communication.
A BA degree allows students to explore various areas of communications and tailor their coursework to their specific interests and career goals. This interdisciplinary approach prepares graduates to adapt to the ever-evolving communication landscape and pursue careers in a wide range of industries.
Preparation for Communications Careers
Obtaining a BA in communications provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue careers in the field. Whether it’s working in public relations, marketing, journalism, or digital media, a BA degree equips graduates with a solid foundation in communication theories, strategies, and practices.
Employers often value the critical thinking and problem-solving abilities that come with a liberal arts education, making a BA in communications a valuable asset in the job market.
When a BS in Communications Might Be a Better Fit
While both a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communications can provide a solid foundation for a career in the field, there are certain situations where a BS in Communications might be a better fit for an individual’s career goals and interests. Here are a few reasons why:
Stronger Focus on Technical Skills
One of the main differences between a BA and a BS in Communications is the level of emphasis on technical skills. A BS program often includes a stronger focus on technical skills such as graphic design, web development, data analysis, and multimedia production.
These technical skills can be valuable in today’s digital age, where technology plays a significant role in communication strategies and platforms.
For example, a student pursuing a BS in Communications might take courses in coding languages like HTML and CSS, learn how to use design software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, or gain experience in video editing software.
These skills can be highly sought after by employers in various industries, especially those involved in digital marketing, social media management, or multimedia production.
More Quantitative Coursework
Another aspect that distinguishes a BS in Communications is the inclusion of more quantitative coursework. In addition to studying communication theories and strategies, students pursuing a BS might also take courses in statistics, research methods, or data analysis.
These quantitative skills can be advantageous in fields such as market research, public opinion analysis, or data-driven marketing.
By developing a strong understanding of statistical analysis and research methods, individuals with a BS in Communications can effectively gather and interpret data to make informed decisions and develop evidence-based communication strategies.
Pathway to Technical Communications Roles
A BS in Communications can also open doors to technical communication roles that require an understanding of both communication theories and technical knowledge. Technical writers, for example, are responsible for translating complex technical information into user-friendly content.
This requires not only strong writing and communication skills but also the ability to understand and explain technical concepts accurately.
With a BS in Communications, individuals can develop the technical knowledge needed to excel in technical writing roles. They can gain expertise in areas such as software documentation, user manuals, or instructional materials.
These skills can be highly valuable in industries such as technology, engineering, or healthcare.
Choosing Between a BA and BS in Communications
When it comes to pursuing a degree in communications, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is whether to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). Both degrees can provide you with a solid foundation in the field of communications, but there are some important factors to consider before making your choice.
Analyze Program Curricula
The first step in choosing between a BA and BS in communications is to carefully analyze the program curricula offered by different universities. While the general focus of the degrees may be similar, there can be subtle differences in the courses and requirements.
For example, a BA program may place a greater emphasis on courses in humanities and social sciences, while a BS program may include more technical courses such as data analysis and research methods. Consider your own strengths and interests, and choose a program that aligns with your goals.
One useful resource for comparing program curricula is the Example University website. They provide detailed information about the courses offered in each program, including course descriptions and prerequisites. This can help you get a better understanding of what to expect from each degree.
Consider Your Career Goals
Another important factor to consider when choosing between a BA and BS in communications is your career goals. Take some time to research the types of jobs that are available in the field of communications and determine which degree is more aligned with your desired career path.
Some careers may require a specific type of degree, while others may place more importance on practical skills and experience.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for communications professionals is expected to grow by 4% over the next decade. This means that there will be plenty of job opportunities for individuals with both a BA and BS in communications.
However, it’s important to note that certain industries or positions may have a preference for one degree over the other. For example, if you’re interested in pursuing a career in marketing or public relations, a BA in communications may be more suitable.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in data analysis or research, a BS in communications may be a better fit.
Talk to Academic Advisors
Lastly, don’t underestimate the value of talking to academic advisors at the universities you’re considering. They can provide valuable insights and guidance based on their knowledge of the programs and industry trends.
Academic advisors can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each degree option and how they align with your career goals. They can also provide information on internships, networking opportunities, and other practical experiences that can enhance your education and future job prospects.
Remember, choosing between a BA and BS in communications is a personal decision that should be based on your individual interests, strengths, and career goals. By analyzing program curricula, considering your career goals, and seeking guidance from academic advisors, you can make an informed decision that sets you on the path to success in the field of communications.
When deciding between pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Communications, it’s important to weigh factors like your interests, skills, academic strengths, and career aspirations. Though BA degrees are more common, BS programs offer more technical coursework that can prepare students for communications roles in STEM fields and technology companies.
By evaluating program curricula and requirements, thinking about your ideal career path, and speaking to academic advisors, you can determine if a BA or BS is the best degree choice for you. With either degree, you’ll gain valuable expertise to succeed in today’s communication-driven workplace.
The most important thing is finding the program that fits your personal goals and helps you maximize your talents.