Coursework and Requirements for BA in Biology and BS in Biology
Within your first two years of college, a BA in Biology will offer a similar series of required classes as a BS in Biology in terms of core classes and general requirements like writing, history, social science, calculus, etc.. Let’s compare the degree programs for a BA and BS in Biology from two different schools side by side to better understand the requirements:
|Biology (BA) – Fisher College||Biology (BS) – Tufts University|
General Education Requirements
Elective: Two electives
Advanced Laboratory Course
If you compare between two degrees, they share a similar list of requirements such as:
- General Biology
- Introduction to Biotechnology
- Principles of Chemistry
- Cell and Molecular
- Biology/Molecular Biology
- Public Health & Epidemiology /
- Principles of Epidemiology
- Fundamentals of Biochemistry/Biochemistry I
- Evolutionary Biology
Most schools only offer either a BA in Biology or a BS in Biology, but not both. The majority of Liberal Arts colleges will likely offer a BA in Biology due to its focus on liberal arts education and its integration with other disciplines. More STEM focused universities will typically offer a BS in Biology, or even both. There are exceptions, such as Providence College, a liberal arts college that offers both degrees.
Let’s look at the school’s degrees to compare the differences between the two better.
|Required Courses||BA in Biology||BS in Biology|
|Two semesters of General Biology||x||x|
|One semester of Introduction to Cell and Molecular Genetics||x||x|
|Five additional biology courses, of which three (3) must be laboratory courses (i.e., four credit hours).||Seven additional courses, of which three (3) biology courses with laboratories (4 credits each) and four (4) approved science courses above the introductory level elected from biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and physics|
Regarding the difference between a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Biology, the BS student is required to take more science-related courses, including but not limited to biology. BS students have more variety of courses and freedom to tailor their courses within their degree; however, unlike the BS program, a BA in Biology allows you to take courses outside of your degree program if you wish to combine biology with another subject, such as public health or public relations.
2. Future Outlook
Both degrees can have the similar benefits for pursuing careers or an advanced degree; however, your career options can look vastly different depending on your learning route in college. The BS track is more appropriate for students who want to pursue a research career, graduate school in science – medical or dental, or a job in a specialized field of biology. Students following a BA track can apply to many fields that offer biology or science-related positions. Some universities categorize BS as “pure biology” and BA as “applied biology” to highlight this distinction.
We have seen BA students accept various teaching and educational roles, healthcare management, or jobs in environmental fields. Since BA students tend to have less extensive research experience or in-depth knowledge of specialized topics, they are more likely to work in front-facing roles related to science fields. With the training from colleges, BA students will likely enter the workforce as pharmacists, researchers, or biologists in healthcare organizations or government agencies.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, Biochemists and Biophysicists earn $104,810; Microbiologists earn $91,840; Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists earn $ 70,510; and Biological Scientists, in general, earn $89,910. The overall salary of students who study biology is higher than the national average and always has more room for growth and advancement.