Bachelors of Arts Degree Program Overviews by Specialization

Bachelor of Arts degree programs emphasize coursework in the social sciences and humanities, in addition to courses specific for each major. These programs typically include general education courses such as math, science and English. Common fields of study include literature, religion, sociology and history, to name only a few.

Students can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in many areas of study, each of which has different major requirements and prepares graduates for different careers.

Bachelor of Arts Program Options

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs typically focus on the liberal arts, humanities and social science subjects, as opposed to Bachelor of Science programs, which focus on subjects related to math, science and technology. Bachelor of Arts programs are sometimes confused with Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, which include fine arts majors such as dance, theater, painting, sculpture and acting.

B.A. programs typically take four years to complete and may be offered in a variety of formats including on-campus, online, hybrid and distance learning. Possible fields of study in Bachelor of Arts programs are numerous and include such diverse areas as:

  • Anthropology
  • Creative writing
  • English literature
  • History
  • International studies
  • Organizational studies
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology


A Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology program helps students understand past and present human societies and cultures through the study of topics such as evolution, archaeology and adaptation. Typical major courses include:

  • Culture and gender
  • Religion
  • Human urges
  • Health and medicine
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Epidemiology
  • Various societies and cultures.

Career sectors for graduates include:

  • Medicine
  • Academia
  • Education
  • Nonprofit work
  • Government service

Creative Writing

Creative writing majors in a Bachelor of Arts program learn how to compose, construct and analyze works of poetry and fiction. Major courses include:

  • Poetry
  • Play writing
  • Memoir and short story writing and workshops.

Career options for creative writing majors include:

  • Poet
  • Author
  • Novelist
  • Playwright
  • Screenwriter

English Literature

Students enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature program examine the historical context of English and American literature, as well as specific literary periods, authors and genres. Students might take courses in these topics:

  • English literature
  • Composition
  • Short stories
  • Literary movements
  • Grammar
  • Linguistics.

Career options are available in fields such as:

  • Teaching
  • Publishing
  • Journalism
  • Freelance writing


A Bachelor of Arts in History program teaches students about the past and how the past can affect the present and the future. Typical courses include:

  • American history
  • European history
  • Western civilization
  • Ancient Greece
  • Renaissance
  • Reconstruction
  • U.S. economic history.

Possible careers include:

  • Teacher
  • Historian
  • Preservationist
  • Museum curator
  • Writer
  • Archivist

International Studies

Students completing a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies program examine a variety of issues, such as human rights, poverty, war, the environment and the global economy from both a humanistic and scientific point of view. Many international studies programs require students to study abroad or complete an internship abroad. Some general courses include:

  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • World cultures
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Statistics
  • Politics.

Possible career options can be found in:

  • International affairs
  • Military service
  • Diplomacy
  • Government service

Organizational Studies

Students in a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Studies program learn how to analyze workplace behavior, motivation, leadership, performance and communication. General course topics include:

  • Organization
  • Business management
  • Research methods
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Ethics
  • Gender issues

Career options for graduates include:

  • Human resource planner
  • Recruiter
  • Compensation and benefits analyst
  • Employment specialist
  • Affirmative action planner
  • Safety manager


A Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy program prepares students to examine knowledge and the basis of existence. Philosophy majors learn how to use logic to defend their viewpoints and understand life in general. Course topics can focus on:

  • Ethics
  • Law
  • Morality
  • Greek philosophy
  • Religion
  • Metaphysics
  • Cognition.

Possible career sectors include:

  • Academia
  • Law,
  • Business
  • Healthcare
  • Government
  • Information technology
  • Religion


Sociology majors in a Bachelor of Arts program study the behavior of groups and individuals within a society. Students look at factors that can affect human groups, which can include gender, race and economic status. Typical coursework includes:

  • Statistics
  • Research methods
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Inequality
  • Aging
  • Gender roles
  • Deviance
  • Sexuality
  • Minority groups

Career titles include:

  • Sociologist
  • Teacher
  • Community activist
  • Social worker
  • Health services administrator

Bachelor of Arts programs cover a wide range of topics and prepare graduates for many different careers, depending on the student's major.

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