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BA vs BS in Business: What’s the Difference?

BA vs BS in Business: What’s the Difference?

Certain majors have a clear degree path. For example, if you plan to pursue English, history, communications, or art, you will need to earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. On the other hand, if you want to enter the field of biology or sports medicine, a Bachelor of Science (BS) is the most common starting credential. But what about a degree in business administration? You may be surprised to learn that you can choose either a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration or a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration to prepare for a career in business. What’s the difference between the two? Let’s do a BA vs BS comparison.

What is a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration?

As their names imply, the primary difference between the two degrees is their emphasis. The Bachelor of Arts degree is generally broader in its educational approach and stays within the 120-credit hour requirement.

Through the BA in Business Administration program at Ottawa University (OU), students develop practical managerial and decision-making capabilities necessary to compete in today’s challenging business environment. They also increase their understanding of the various business functions and their interconnections.

Unlike some other business programs, however, OU’s BA in Business Administration is grounded in the liberal arts. It is designed to enhance current business acumen beyond technical proficiency and job-specific hard skills to include more interpersonal skills that are less quantifiable in nature. These are often referred to as soft skills. In addition to the foundational knowledge of business practices, the degree emphasizes these practical skills that employers seek, such as excellent written and oral communication, data analysis, critical thinking, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. Furthermore, the degree program focuses on the ethical manager and teamwork collaboration, along with the important use of technology within a business setting.

Coursework for BA in Business Administration

Ottawa University’s BA in Business Administration encompasses a broad range of business training through the following courses:

  • Accounting for Business Operations
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Business Mathematics
  • Business Statistics
  • Business Ethics
  • Applied Field Practicum - a minimum of 40 contact hours with an employer
  • Foundations of Finance
  • Behavior in Organizations
  • Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
  • Quantitative Analysis for Managerial Decision-Making
  • Marketing Management
  • Human Resources Administration
  • Introduction to Management of Information Systems
  • Business Simulation and Strategy – 8-week application of practical knowledge within a business environment

What is a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration?

A Bachelor of Science degree takes a more targeted educational approach, with a deeper dive into the science or technical expertise behind the subject. It may include additional courses or requirements for program completion, which sometimes boosts the number of required credit hours.

OU’s accelerated, online BS in Business Administration is tailored to produce administrative services managers who work throughout private industry and government and have a wide range of responsibilities, experience, earnings, and education. The degree equips students with a broad understanding of business and management principles, along with an understanding of the core functional areas of a company.

Through rigorous case study and practical application, students examine the challenges and opportunities facing existing companies, as well as new ventures. They learn to analyze and evaluate business systems in terms of their efficiency, effectiveness, productivity, and profitability, and they learn to make convincing presentations to all levels of business management. Students also discover how a business can achieve its objectives in a competitive environment while maintaining a culture of sound and ethical principles and practices. Finally, students gain an appreciation of how responsible business practices can improve economic standards, social stability, and international trade.

Coursework for BS in Business Administration

While the core courses are the same for the BA and BS in Business Administration (the first six listed above), the degrees diverge on many of the remaining courses. As you can see, the BS focuses more on the administrative and functional side of business while also developing skills in leadership, interpersonal communication, strategic thinking, and problem solving through courses such as:

  • Financing and Investing Activities
  • Accounting for Business Operations
  • Microsoft Essential Solutions
  • Operations Management
  • Management
  • Business Law
  • Principles of Marketing
  • Human Resources Administration
  • Foundations of Finance
  • Accounting for Business Operations
  • Project Management
  • Strategies and Policies Capstone - explores the integration of functional areas of a business firm and analysis of mission and objectives, external environment, and internal strengths and limitations of an organization

Add a Concentration for Targeted Skills

Adding a concentration to your BA or BS in Business Administration will give you a greater edge and make you more marketable upon graduation by gaining more targeted knowledge and skills. That’s why Ottawa University offers the following concentrations to further augment your management competencies:

  • Actuarial Science
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Health Care Management
  • Human Resources
  • Educational Business Services
  • Leadership and Management

BA vs BS in Business Administration

So, which do you choose? The BA or the BS? They are equally credible degrees, and it may seem a bit like comparing apples to apples. However, when examining the coursework for each, you will likely land on the side of gaining an overarching, big picture understanding of business in the context of other subjects (the BA) or the narrower, more technical nuts and bolts side of business (the BS). There is not really a wrong answer. It simply depends on your particular interests and focus. By adding a concentration to either, however, you will be well-positioned for a career in business within a diverse, global market that has a place for diverse degree holders.

What Jobs Can I get with a Business Degree?

Whether you choose to pursue a BA or a BS in Business Administration, you are likely asking, “What jobs can I get with a business degree?” It’s important to note that professionals with a BA or BS in Business Administration understand how business works and possess a knowledge of the intricacies and interdependencies of each business discipline. They are able to use integrative critical-thinking skills to execute informed decision-making and strategically apply their business acumen to drive an organization’s goals toward economic and missional success. That’s why a bachelor’s degree in business administration is a valued credential that opens the doors to a large selection of business careers in both for-profit and non-profit private entities, as well as in the government sector. So, what jobs can you get with a business degree? Here are some of the more in-demand and popular career options

  • Actuary
  • Advertising Executive
  • Business Consultant
  • Business Developer
  • Cost Estimator
  • Entrepreneur
  • Financial Analyst
  • Franchising Manager
  • Health Care Manager
  • Human Resources (HR) Specialist/Manager
  • Loan Officer
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Municipal Manager
  • Office Administrator
  • Procurement Officer
  • Sales Manager
  • Sports Operations Manager
  • Training and Development Specialist

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in business occupations is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030, resulting in about 750,800 new jobs. And encouragingly, the median annual wage for business occupations was $76,570 in May of 2021, which was much higher than the average of $45,760. Keep in mind that in larger organizations and for higher-level positions, a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) may be required.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Business Degree?

Ottawa University offers convenient 8-week terms, which allows the average working adult to complete his or her online degree more quickly. While the BA program is comprised of 120 credit hours, the BS entails an additional 6 credit hours because of its narrowed focus. If you opt to pursue a concentration, it will add another 15 credit hours to either degree. So, how long does it take to get a business degree? Depending on how many courses you take each term, OU’s business degree can be completed in 2-4 years. Or perhaps much less.

Ottawa University offers a generous credit transfer policy. So, if you previously took college courses, OU recognizes and values the time and investment you have already made. Through the University’s Transfer Advantage Program, you can transfer as many as 80 credit hours, which can significantly reduce the amount of time (and cost) needed to finish your degree. Our enrollment advisors will perform a transfer credit evaluation for you free of charge to help you determine how your transfer credits will be applied to your BA or BS in Business Administration.

Start Growing Your Career Today

It’s time to make a sound business decision for your future – it’s time to take action. Enrolling in OU’s accelerated, online BA or BS in Business Administration will allow you to realize your dream of a career in business or advance within your profession. Our enrollment advisors can help you decide which degree is right for you!

See Also:

The Highest Paying Jobs for Your Business Degree

What is an MBA?

5 Pieces of Career Advice for Business Majors

Posted: 10/12/2022 by OU Online
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