Political Science Ba Vs Bs: Choosing The Right Degree

As a political science major, should you pursue a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree? If you’re pressed for time, here’s the key distinction: a BA focuses more on social sciences and theory, while a BS emphasizes quantitative methods and statistics.

This guide will compare program structure, coursework, career prospects, and more to help you decide which path is right for you.

We’ll analyze the core differences between a political science BA and BS, from philosophical foundations to analytical requirements. You’ll also learn how each degree equips you for careers in law, government, academia, and the private sector.

By weighing the pros and cons of both options, you’ll gain clarity on which degree aligns with your skills and aspirations.

Philosophical Foundations

When it comes to choosing between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Political Science, it’s important to understand the differences in their philosophical foundations. Both degrees provide a solid foundation in the study of politics, but they place emphasis on different aspects of the field.

BA Emphasizes Political Theory

A BA in Political Science puts a strong emphasis on political theory, allowing students to delve deep into the philosophical underpinnings of political systems and ideologies. Courses in political theory explore the works of influential thinkers like Plato, Machiavelli, and Rousseau, helping students understand the historical context and theoretical frameworks that shape political thought.

This degree path is ideal for students who are interested in understanding the ideas and principles that guide politics.

BS Focuses on Political Science as a Social Science

On the other hand, a BS in Political Science focuses on the discipline as a social science. This means that students will take a more quantitative and empirical approach to studying politics. They will learn research methods, data analysis, and statistical techniques to examine political phenomena objectively.

The BS degree is designed for students who are interested in conducting research, analyzing data, and applying scientific methods to understand political behavior and institutions.

It’s worth noting that the distinction between BA and BS degrees in Political Science can vary from one university to another. Some institutions may offer a more flexible curriculum, allowing students to customize their degree based on their interests and career goals.

Therefore, it is important for students to carefully review the curriculum requirements and course offerings of each program they are considering.

For more information about the differences between a BA and a BS in Political Science, you can visit www.politicalsciencedegree.com, a website dedicated to providing helpful resources for students pursuing degrees in political science.

Skills and Coursework

BA Requirements: History, Language, Philosophy

For students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Political Science, the coursework typically focuses on developing a well-rounded understanding of political systems, theories, and ideologies. In addition to core political science classes, BA programs often require students to take courses in history, language, and philosophy.

Studying history provides valuable context for understanding political events and the evolution of political systems. It allows students to analyze past political decisions, their consequences, and the factors that shaped them.

Language courses, on the other hand, help students develop effective communication skills, which are essential for political science professionals. The study of philosophy enhances critical thinking skills, enabling students to analyze political theories and ideologies in a more nuanced and comprehensive manner.

By incorporating these subjects into the curriculum, BA programs aim to equip students with a broader perspective on politics and a well-rounded skill set that includes critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and effective communication.

BS Requirements: Math, Statistics, Research Methods

On the other hand, students pursuing a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Political Science will encounter a coursework that emphasizes quantitative analysis and research methods. BS programs in Political Science typically require students to take math, statistics, and research methods courses.

The inclusion of math and statistics in the curriculum equips students with the necessary tools to analyze and interpret political data. This enables them to make informed decisions and predictions based on statistical evidence.

Research methods courses provide students with the skills needed to conduct empirical research, including designing surveys, collecting data, and analyzing results.

By focusing on these quantitative and research-oriented skills, BS programs in Political Science prepare students for careers that involve data analysis, policy research, and political consulting. These skills are particularly valuable in today’s data-driven political landscape, where quantitative analysis plays a crucial role.

BA Requirements BS Requirements
Core Political Science Courses
Research Methods
It is important to note that both the BA and BS programs in Political Science provide valuable skills and knowledge that can lead to successful careers in various fields related to politics and government.

The choice between the two ultimately depends on your individual interests, strengths, and career goals.

For more information on specific course requirements and curriculum details, you can visit the websites of reputable universities offering Political Science programs, such as Harvard University, Princeton University, or Stanford University.

Career Prospects

BA Pathways: Law, Journalism, International Affairs

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Political Science opens up a wide range of career opportunities in fields such as law, journalism, and international affairs. With a BA in Political Science, graduates can pursue a career in law by attending law school and becoming lawyers.

The strong foundation in political theory and analysis provided by a BA degree equips students with the necessary critical thinking and research skills needed to succeed in the legal profession.

Political Science graduates with a BA can also find exciting opportunities in journalism. They can use their understanding of political systems and policies to report on political developments and analyze the impact of political decisions.

Journalists with a background in Political Science are well-equipped to cover political campaigns, elections, and policy debates.

Another career path for BA graduates is in the field of international affairs. With a BA degree, individuals can work for government agencies, non-profit organizations, or international corporations, dealing with issues such as diplomacy, international relations, and global governance.

The knowledge gained through a BA in Political Science provides a solid foundation for understanding the complexities of the global political landscape.

BS Pathways: Data Analysis, Campaigns, Policymaking

A Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Political Science focuses on the quantitative analysis of political data and provides students with the skills necessary for data analysis, campaign management, and policymaking.

Graduates with a BS in Political Science can pursue careers in data analysis, where they can work with political polling companies, think tanks, or government agencies to analyze and interpret political data.

Political Science BS graduates also have the opportunity to work on political campaigns. With their strong analytical skills and understanding of political systems, they can contribute to campaign strategies, conduct voter research, and assist in shaping campaign messages.

Their data-driven approach can be valuable in developing effective campaign strategies.

Policymaking is another career path for BS graduates in Political Science. With their expertise in data analysis and understanding of political systems, they can work for government agencies, think tanks, or advocacy organizations to develop and implement policies.

Their ability to analyze data and assess the impact of policies can contribute to evidence-based decision-making.

Notable Graduates

Famous Political Science BA Majors

Many successful individuals have graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, leveraging their understanding of politics and government to make a significant impact in various fields. One such notable graduate is former United States President Barack Obama.

After earning his BA in Political Science from Columbia University, Obama went on to become the 44th President of the United States, serving two terms in office.

Another prominent figure is Condoleezza Rice, who obtained her BA in Political Science from the University of Denver before becoming the first African American woman to serve as the United States Secretary of State.

Rice’s political science education helped shape her understanding of international relations, enabling her to navigate complex geopolitical challenges during her tenure.

These examples demonstrate how a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science can open doors to careers in politics, diplomacy, government, and public service.

Famous Political Science BS Majors

While the Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science is less common than the BA, it has produced notable graduates who have made significant contributions in their respective fields. One such individual is Rachel Maddow, a renowned political commentator and television host.

Maddow earned her BS in Public Policy from Stanford University, which provided her with a solid foundation in political theory and quantitative analysis.

Another well-known figure is Nate Silver, a statistician and founder of FiveThirtyEight, a popular data-driven news website. Silver graduated with a BS in Economics and Political Science from the University of Chicago, where he honed his skills in data analysis and prediction models.

His expertise in statistics and political science has made him a trusted source for election forecasting and analysis.

These examples illustrate how a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science can equip graduates with the analytical and quantitative skills necessary for careers in data analysis, research, and policy evaluation.

Choosing What’s Right For You

When it comes to pursuing a degree in Political Science, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). Both degrees offer valuable insights into the field of political science, but there are some key considerations to keep in mind when making this decision.

Key BA Considerations

For those interested in a more broad-based and interdisciplinary approach to political science, a BA degree may be the right choice. BA programs often focus on a wide range of subjects, such as history, philosophy, sociology, and economics, in addition to political science.

This allows students to develop a well-rounded understanding of the political landscape and its connections to other fields.

Additionally, BA programs often emphasize critical thinking, research, and writing skills, which can be highly valuable in a variety of career paths. Graduates with a BA in Political Science may find themselves well-suited for roles in government, policy analysis, international relations, or even law school.

Key BS Considerations

On the other hand, if you have a strong interest in quantitative analysis and a desire to delve deeper into statistical research methods, a BS degree in Political Science might be a better fit for you.

BS programs often focus on the scientific study of politics, including rigorous coursework in statistics, data analysis, and research methodology.

This emphasis on quantitative skills can equip graduates with the ability to analyze complex political data, conduct surveys, and contribute to evidence-based policy-making. As a result, individuals with a BS in Political Science may find themselves well-suited for careers in data analysis, polling, research consultancy, or academia.

Making the Final Decision

Ultimately, the decision between a BA and a BS in Political Science will depend on your individual interests, career goals, and learning preferences. Consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I prefer a more interdisciplinary approach or a focus on scientific analysis?
  • Am I interested in pursuing research and statistical analysis?
  • What are my long-term career goals in the field of political science?

By carefully considering these factors, consulting with academic advisors, and researching program requirements, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your academic and career aspirations.

Remember, both degrees offer valuable skills and knowledge that can contribute to a successful career in the field of political science.


While both degrees offer rewarding paths, choosing a BA or BS in political science depends on your talents and goals. A BA suits students interested in theory, discourse, and qualitative analysis, while a BS aligns with quantitative research and public policy.

Weigh your skills, interests and career aspirations to decide which degree will provide the best foundation for your future.

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