What Is a BS Degree?

A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree is an undergraduate degree typically earned after completing a total of four years at a college or university. In comparison to a liberal arts education, a B.S. degree program usually focuses more heavily on the sciences.

B.S. degrees are available in a wide range of math- and science-related fields, providing the educational foundation necessary for high-paying careers.

B.S. Degree Overview

A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree can generally be earned in four years of full-time undergraduate study. A student can attend a 4-year college or university to earn his or her bachelor's degree, or they may only complete two years of bachelor's-level study at an accredited school after earning an associate's degree from a junior or community college. For some B.S. programs, distance education is also an option. The benefits of earning a B.S. degree are numerous, including increased employment opportunities and possibly higher wages.

Fields of Study

A student can earn a Bachelor of Science in almost any non-arts field. Subjects of study that frequently lead to a B.S. degree include the following:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Business
  • Computer technology
  • Engineering

In contrast, majors such as English, writing and languages typically lead to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). Some subject areas, such as economics, can lead to either a B.A. or B.S., depending on the focus of the degree program. When trying to decide on a school, prospective students may want to determine which type of bachelor's degree would best fit their educational and career goals.

Major Requirements

B.S. programs typically require 120-128 semester credits for graduation. The program is a combination of core courses in the major, elective classes and general education courses, which often include both liberal arts and science requirements. Science B.S. programs (such as health and nursing) may require students to fulfill clinical training requirements. Other programs in fields like business administration and engineering could require internships or capstone projects.

Career Information

As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), individuals holding a bachelor's degree earned a median salary of $70,400 in 2015, while persons without a bachelor's degree could expect to earn a median wage from $21,420 to $50,230 annually. According to the 2016-2017 College Salary Report from, those who pursued courses of study that typically lead to a B.S. degree were among the highest earners. Some of the highest-paying majors were in the following fields:

  • Engineering
  • Actuarial science
  • Computer science
  • Industrial distribution
  • Physics
  • Applied mathematics

Students who are interested in non-arts subjects can enroll in Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs that enable them to pursue their academic interests and prepare for future career success.

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