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How do I decide between a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics

I have to decide to take more math classes. #physics


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Don (Bull)’s Answer

In my work in Telecom and in applying for my M. Eng degree, I've never been held back by having a BA in Physics instead of a BS. Some university programs out there might look down on a BA vs. a BS if you are looking to get an advanced Physics degree, though. It depends on your goals. I would suggest that, if you are looking at getting a BA and going directly into the workforce, take some time to consider pursuing something specific (like a minor) instead of taking those additional upper level math and physics classes that a BS requires. If an interviewer does make a point of you having a BA, it would be great to be able to say, "Yes, I felt I needed this business/computer science/biology minor to be a more valuable, fully-rounded employee, and the BS program didn't allow for that flexibility" instead of "Well, I didn't want to take any more math."

If you do want to further your education in Physics past a BA, you will probably want to look for working with some of your professors on some of their research. Perhaps even more than the other Physics students at your university. Your faculty usually have work for undergrads to do and they can provide valuable networking with other university programs.

Don (Bull) recommends the following next steps:

Decide if you feel drawn to an advanced Physics degree. Some programs will penalize you for having a BA instead of a BS.
If you still feel that you want to get a BA and pursue an advanced degree, look for opportunities to do research work with your University Physics department.
If you want to go straight into the workforce, look at opportunities to pursue a minor that you can defend as providing value in an interview.

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David’s Answer

It depends largely on what you want to do with your physics degree. Are you looking to go into a technical field after graduation? (Engineering, Graduate school in science) If so you should take the extra math classes and go with the BS. If you think you'd like to do something else after your undergraduate career is over you could go for the BA, (such as physics education at the high school level)
especially if this frees up your schedule to take other courses that interest you and are relevant to your intended field.

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Rupam’s Answer

Academically, a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree are equally valued. Both offer the students who earn them the opportunity to continue their education at the master’s degree level if they are so inclined. But, the two tracks do tend to hone different strengths. The coursework required for a Bachelor of Arts degree generally allows students to sharpen their communication and writing skills. By comparison, the demands of a Bachelor of Science degree typically foster analytical skills and a detailed understanding of subject matter.


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Keith’s Answer

Regardless of the name, which tends to vary from program to program, I would advise you to take as much mathematics as possible. Your ability to do math will determine how far you can go in any discipline, and how easily you can move between fields. Because math is so fundamental to so many fields, knowing it will let you easily pick up new knowledge.


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