Go Beyond Abbreviations - Choose a Suitable Bachelor's Degree Decide what to study

When deciding on which international Bachelor’s degree is right for you, it’s essential you have a clear picture of the many, many different types of undergraduate programmes.

What do abbreviations such as B.Sc., BBA, BFA, or B.A. mean? What’s the difference between Bachelor’s degree titles? Which one will you choose?

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B.A. Bachelor of Arts degree

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is the most common among undergraduate degrees and usually takes three to four years to complete. It is mainly awarded to students following a programme in the Liberal Arts or in study fields that are covered in Humanities and Social Sciences, such as:

  • Languages
  • Communication
  • Journalism
  • International Relations

However, this doesn’t mean you dodged the bullets of Mathematics, Economy and other more exact subjects. Many B.A. studies include them as well, but the curriculum is lighter. Point in case, the main thing about a Bachelor’s of Art programme is that it’s focused on theoretical knowledge.

Exception: B.A. in the UK

In the UK, for instance, traditional universities such as Cambridge or Oxford, Bachelor of Arts degrees refer to all fields of study, including the scientific ones. Confused? Here’s some examples:

Don’t mistake a B. A. for a B.F.A. degree!

Unlike a Bachelor of Arts which is an academic degree, a Bachelor of Fine Arts programme is a professional degree. In a B.F.A, most part of the coursework is dedicated to either visual or performing arts and only around one third of the course work involves studying Liberal Arts (history, literature, psychology, etc.).

B.Sc. Bachelor of Science degree

The Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) is a type undergraduate degree that focuses on combining theoretical knowledge with research practice. The Bachelor of Science is mainly awarded to students of Natural Sciences, Engineering& Technology, Mathematics, Computer Science& IT. The study duration of a Bachelor’s of Science programme is also three to four years.

In some cases, B.S. or B. Sc. degrees can be found in study areas like:

Read more about the difference between Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science.

Browse through 100,235 Bachelor's programmes

BAS – Bachelor of Applied Science degree

Depending on the country, a Bachelor of Applied Science can have a different meaning. In many cases, a Bachelor of Applied Science refers to a study course that has extensive practical applications; a clear example would be a degree in Nursing.

In Canada and the Netherlands, a BAS is a professional degree and is equivalent to a B.Eng. – Bachelor of Engineering programme.

In colleges and universities from the United States, a BAS is a technical professional degree that is often considered an applied baccalaureate. Students that usually apply to a Bachelor of Applied Science are experienced professional adults that hold professional certifications and are interested in advancing their technical skills for the workplace.

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B.Eng. Bachelor of Engineering degree

The Bachelor of Engineering (B. Eng. or BE) is granted after studying one of the Engineering sciences. Depending on specialisation, it can last between three and five years.

A Bachelor of Engineering is academically equal to a Bachelor of Science degree and allows consecutive Master studies. Due to the numerous possibilities for specialisations in the area of Engineering, there are further degree types such as:

  • the Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.Sc. in Eng.)
  • the Bachelor of Business Administration and Engineering (BBAE)
  • the Bachelor of Business Engineering (BBE).

B.B.A – Bachelor of Business Administration

The less known little brother of the MBA degree, the BBA degree offers you an overview of all the subjects related to Business Administration, to help you understand how a company works. Typical courses are Accounting, Economics, Management and so on and so forth.

BBAs are usually the most comprehensive management degrees in terms of business theory and practice.  If you want to focus on a specific aspect of running a business you can go for one of the following types of BBAs:

  • BBMs, or Bachelor’s in Business Management, teaching you the leadership and management part of running a company;
  • BSBA, or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, teaching you the math and analytical sides of the business.

LL.B. – Bachelor of Laws degree

The Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) is awarded if your studies are in the area of Law.  Compared to other Bachelor degrees such as the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) or the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), the Bachelor of Laws is not that widespread, yet.  It doesn’t exist in the U. S. for example. Most popular in the UK, such a degree paves your way to becoming a lawyer, provided you get practice experience and pass bar exams. 

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Joint degree

Also known as dual/combined degree, the Joint degree is a collaboration between two universities not necessarily located in the same country. That means you’ll get the chance to live in not one, but two countries. To get a clearer picture, here’s  one example of a Joint degree programme:

The joint degree has the same duration as a regular programme and, usually, the two diplomas you’ll get at the end are on the same subject. However, there are cases when you can also study two different subjects. 

AD Associate degree

The Associate Degree (AD) is especially common in North America and is awarded after a 2-year study. Many colleges offer a so-called 2+2 programme where after completing an Associate Degree, students can complete a Bachelor’s degree quicker, in just two years.

Except for universities in the UK, Ireland and France, for most Europe, the Associate Degree is usually not considered a higher education degree, but a professional certification needed for acquiring specific practical or technical skills.

Preparation or foundation degree

A university-preparatory course also known as a foundation degree aims at preparing students for college or university education. In most European countries, prep schools are a supplement to the general education system and are typically designed to increase the chances for a good university placement. They are great if you lack the required qualification to be admitted to a foreign university. 

Find the programme that suits your education level, learning and career goals and start your study abroad adventure today!  Also, find out more about graduate-level degree abbreviations

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