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Maximize Your College Education: Majors, Minors, and More

Graduation cap with red tassel sitting atop three books and a diploma rolled up and secured with a red ribbon

As students begin researching colleges, they may wonder about the differences between majors and minors or between a B.A. versus a B.S. degree. Though the intricacies of degree types and courses of study may seem daunting, here is a breakdown to help students approach their research and applications with an informed mindset.


A major is a chosen course of study in the field you choose to specialize in. A major will decide around one-third to one-half of the courses that a student takes and will be the primary focus of their studies in college. A major may indicate what career a student is hoping to pursue after college, and will provide knowledge to prepare the student for a future in their chosen field. Completion of a college major will typically lead to a bachelor’s degree.

For more information on choosing a college major and major requirements, check out this recent blog post!

Differences between Degree Types

Students should consider their long-term educational and career goals when deciding what degree to pursue. There are generally four types of bachelor’s degrees that students can earn:

  1. A Bachelor of Science or B.S. degree centers around more technical fields and will involve more math and science courses. There will often be a larger focus on lab courses and hands-on work, and requirements for a more specific course of study. A student earning a B.S. degree may have fewer chances to take elective courses and be required to opt for lab work instead.

  2. A Bachelor of Arts or B.A. degree will often be broader than a B.S. and include a larger range of subjects. Students will study a more humanities-based curriculum with classes in philosophy, literature, history, social sciences, art, and foreign languages. A B.A. degree typically allows students to tailor their coursework to their interests and provides greater flexibility overall.

  3. A Bachelor of Science and Arts or B.S.A. degree will provide a more interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary track for students interested in expanding their studies in both science and humanities courses. Students will gain a solid understanding of math and science while also retaining the ability to dedicate coursework for the purpose of gaining a minor or certificate.

  4. A Bachelor of Fine Arts or B.F.A. degree focuses heavily on the arts and includes more intensive coursework to provide students with deeper training in their field. Typically, 65% of the courses a B.F.A. student takes are within their major, ensuring both depth and breadth in their artistic education.  Instead of labs or research, students will be spending time creating in studio spaces or enhancing their craft on the stage.


A concentration, track, or focus is an area of specialization within a student’s declared major. Students are usually not required to pursue a concentration, and it serves as another way to gain experience in a specific area within their major by tailoring their studies to their specific career goals. For example, Computer Science majors at UT can choose a concentration like Cybersecurity or Game Development.


A minor or certificate is a secondary area of specialization that a student can study in addition to their declared major. Completion of a minor requires fewer courses than a major, typically 18 credit hours or five to six classes. Students who complete the necessary requirements for a minor will graduate with additional credentialing, which may give them a leg up after graduation. A minor can be in an area of study related to a student's major, or it can be a completely different course of study. For example, a student could pair a major in Business with a minor in Art History.

Other Degree Options:

  • Double Majors: A student can earn a double major by earning enough credits for two majors in different subjects. A student who graduates with a double major will typically earn a degree where both majors are of the same degree type (a B.A. or B.S.). Double majoring in college can be difficult, considering the increase in required coursework. When applying to schools, students only apply to one major and can decide to take on an additional one if they choose to later in their undergraduate career. 

  • Dual Degrees: A student graduates with a dual degree when they earn credits to receive two separate diplomas. This can include two separate bachelor’s degrees (a B.A. and a B.S.) or a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. This often extends time spent in college, as a student needs to complete the course requirements for both degrees. 

Now, you’re ready to start researching! Based on the degrees and programs offered by each of the colleges on your list, you should now be able to understand what schools might be a good fit for you and what experiences you will gain in each degree!

If you’re wondering what type of degree will be the best option for you, Berkeley2 Academy is here to help. Our ten-week Gateway Program will equip you with the knowledge and expertise to put your best foot forward for college admissions.

B2A’s Steps Program encourages students to start thinking about these decisions throughout high school and prepare them for the best admissions and career choices to get ahead. Contact Berkeley2 Academy today to see how we can help!


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