What is an AB Degree and How to Apply for It? - Through Education (2023)

Transitioning from high school to college is a difficult adjustment for most teenagers. Before you can even pack up your bags and leave the comforts of your home (and your mom’s cooking), you have to face the stress of choosing your degree program.

Choosing a college and the degree program after high school is a huge undertaking, especially if you’re still confused about the meanings of different degrees such as AB (Bachelor of Arts). With the many late nights, you’ll spend requesting transcripts, filling out online applications, and writing those sleep-depriving personal statements, you want to make sure you get things right.

If you have plans on taking up an AB degree but you’re not entirely sure about its meaning, we’re here to guide you through its complexities.

What is an AB degree?

AB is the abbreviation of “artium baccalaureus,” which is the Latin name for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. It’s a liberal arts degree, so it emphasizes the humanities, languages, and social sciences fields.

An AB degree will provide you with general knowledge in a wide range of subjects. Aside from your majors, AB degrees require the completion of general education requirements (GERs) that will expose you to various academic disciplines.

For instance, if you choose to pursue an AB degree in psychology, most of your majors will tackle concepts and methods regarding the human mind, behaviors, and emotions. But, on the side, you’ll also be taking a set number of classes in math, science, English literature, and history. So, if you were trying to avoid math by choosing to major in Comparative Literature or any other AB degree, I’m sorry to say that there’s no escape from algebraic equations and polynomials. At the very least, you’ll be taking the lowest math class level.

GERs are designed to teach you diverse and essential skills that develop you into a useful member of society, regardless of your chosen field. They will also help shape your reasoning and critical thinking skills. It has its utopian connotations but at the end of the day, the good thing is you’ll become better-rounded.

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What is the difference between an AB degree and a BA degree?

To be honest, there’s no difference between the degrees except for the order of the letters. Universities that grant the AB probably required their students to learn Latin up until the 20th century, as Latin served the same role in the world that English does now.

One could argue that an AB has more weight, since prestigious institutions such as Harvard and Princeton grant AB degrees instead of BA, but it’s really just a choice of granting the degree in Latin. They’re just keeping up with tradition. It sounds a bit outdated, but it is what it is.

What about AB vs BS degree?

You might have heard of your classmates taking up BS instead of an AB degree, and it’s got you thinking, “Hmmm, maybe a BS degree is a better choice.”

If you’re stuck between getting an AB vs a BS degree, you’ll have to choose wisely as the two are completely different from each other.

BS Degree

A BS or Bachelor of Science degree offers students with more specialized education in their chosen major. They require more credits that are strictly focused on their subject matter, so you’ll be expected to spend your late nights and academic energies on mastering the practical and technical facets of your field.

You’ll also have plenty of laboratory work, so if you love donning white coats and spending hours on experiments, this path might be the one for you.

AB Degree

As mentioned before, an AB degree program will offer you a broader education in your major. You’ll be required to take liberal arts courses such as literature, communication, history, social science, and a foreign language. To complete each liberal arts requirement, you can choose from a varied list of subjects. This allows you greater flexibility to customize your education and match it to your goals and interests.

Simply put, AB degrees are for abstract thinkers – for those who stay up late at night thinking about concepts and ideas. AB students love exploring how the world works, instead of finding ways to run the world like a well-oiled machine.

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Are there overlaps between the two?

Some subjects like business, psychology, and accounting are typically offered in both AB and BS degree programs. In this case, you can choose whether you like the tightly-focused approach of a BS track or you prefer the broader sweep of an AB degree.

For instance, AB Psychology students take fewer psychology courses and more classes outside the major field area. On the other hand, BS Psychology students have more courses in science, math, and psychology.

What are the requirements to getting an AB degree?

Are you one of the world’s abstract thinkers? If you answered, “Heck yes!” to that question, then you’re definitely better suited for an AB degree.

Here are the requirements you’ll need when filing your application.

  1. Application and fee

Some colleges and universities have their own unique application forms. Others use the Common Application, which will save you significant time as you can apply to multiple schools through a single portal.

According to a study by the US News, the average cost of a college application fee is approximately $43. However, Ivy League schools can charge as much as $75 per application. Stanford even reached $90 in the latest analysis.

Are those too expensive for you? Many schools waive the application fees if you apply by a certain date, or you submit proof that you can’t afford the costs.

  1. Official high school transcript

You will need to request official transcripts from your high school, which lists all of the classes you’ve taken as well as the grades and credits you’ve earned. Once you receive your high school diploma, you’ll need to hold on to it as it also shows proof of your credentials.

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  1. Recommendation letters

Most colleges require 2-3 recommendation letters from your school counselors or teachers. Choose someone who knows you well and can write about your strengths. Don’t — and we say this with full conviction — choose a teacher whose class you were particularly bad at. Remember that colleges value recommendations that reveal things about you that your test scores or grades can’t, as well as personal opinions of your character. Pick a teacher who remembers you fondly instead of someone whose tests you flunked.

Also, when requesting a recommendation, ask about two months before the application’s deadline.

  1. Personal statement

Your personal statement is your opportunity to tell the admissions committees what you’re made of. You can write about what makes you unique and what you can bring to their campus community. You can also highlight what your AB degree means to you and your future career.

As this is considered the toughest part of any college application, start early. If you need a guide on how to write a killer personal statement, Owl Purdue has a comprehensive guide. After you finish writing one, ask a teacher you trust for feedback on your draft. And don’t forget to revise, proofread, and repeat! Don’t stop editing your personal statement unless you’re absolutely happy with it and it truly represents you.

  1. College entrance exam scores

Aside from listing your SAT and/or ACT scores on the application form, you will be required to submit official score reports. These must be sent directly to the college from the SAT or the ACT. Many colleges also require you to submit results for the SAT or AP subject tests you’ve taken.

Even though several elements of your application will be submitted by others, you’re still ultimately responsible for making sure that all of the requirements arrive on time. Be sure to check in with both your recommending teachers and guidance counselor to ensure they submit your requirements before the deadline. You can also check the college’s online portal for regular updates.

Guide to choosing your AB degree

We can’t really decide which AB degree you should pursue, but we can help you get through some major points to make your life easier.

Do a little soul-searching

Finding the balance between what you like and what you’re good at can be hard. Sure, there are people who were born knowing what they want to do with their lives, but it doesn’t always work out like that for everyone.

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If you’re still on the decision stage, take a deep breath and think.

What do you do best in your friend group? Do you love spending your free time reading books and writing short stories? Or are you into photography and making films?

Follow what you enjoy doing and find an AB degree that helps you expand on your interests. Don’t make your life hard by over-thinking. Usually, your first instinct is right, so follow it and don’t look back.

Do your homework

We don’t mean the homework assigned to you every day. We’re talking about research. Specifically –research about the various AB degrees available.

Check out the course descriptions for each of the classes required in the degrees you’re eyeing. For instance, Harvard College’s Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies has a comprehensive list of all the concentrations they offer with corresponding course descriptions.

These course descriptions often contain links to course syllabi. You can download the syllabi and read through them carefully to understand the learning objectives for each course. Ask yourself if the lessons complement your academic strengths as well as your potential career interests.

It might be a bit tedious, especially if you’d rather spend your free time on your hobbies, but doing so will help you gain clarity on what you really want to pursue after high school.

Transitioning from high school to college is hard, but now that you know the meaning of an AB degree along with its complexities, you’re better equipped to answer those application forms confidently. Remember, we go to college to follow our interests and develop our skills. Figure out your goals and work towards them.

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You’re about to take your first step into a bright future. Don’t settle for an AB degree where you won’t feel accomplished. Make every single learning opportunity count.

Have fun and good luck!


What does AB mean degree? ›

The first thing that you will notice about the two undergraduate degrees offered by Princeton is that one, the A.B., is titled in Latin, standing for Artium Baccalaureus, or Bachelor of Arts.

What is a bachelor's degree explain how do you get this degree? ›

A bachelor's degree is an academic degree. In this program, students are usually expected to complete 120 semester credits. This is roughly 40 college courses. Students typically take about four years to complete their undergraduate degree. A bachelors degree is considered the most traditional college level degree.

Is AB the same as BA degree? ›

Bachelor of arts (BA or AB; from the Latin baccalaureus artium, baccalaureus in artibus, or artium baccalaureus) is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate program in the arts, or, in some cases, other disciplines.

What does AB stand for in high school? ›

Also Known As: Alternating Block | Alternating A/B | 4x8 A/B | 4x8 Alternating | Odd/even Days. Students take up to eight courses at a time where every class meets during a block period that typically lasts 80-110 minutes.

What is better AB or BS? ›

Neither degree ranks as better than the other, but one might better suit specific career goals. For example, students interested in technical careers may need a BS for graduate school applications. In some majors, undergrads choose between a BA and a BS. Many psychology programs, for instance, offer both options.

Is BS better than AB? ›

A Bachelor of Science degree offers students a more specialized education in their major. Generally, a BS degree requires more credits than a BA degree because a BS degree is more focused in the specific major. Students are required to focus on studying their major at a more in-depth level.

What is a bachelor's degree in education called? ›

A bachelor's degree in education, sometimes referred to as a bachelor's degree in teaching, is a four-year degree that can prepare you for a career in teaching and administration.

What are the 3 main types of bachelor degrees? ›

The three most common bachelor's degrees offered by the universities in the US are: Bachelor of Arts (BA degree) Bachelor of Science (BS degree) Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA degree)

What are the 4 types of degrees? ›

There are generally four categories of college degrees: associate degree, bachelor's degree, graduate degree, and doctorate or professional degree. Each category comes with its own particular subcategories, and there are some subtle differences between a doctorate and a professional degree.

Why is AB not the same as BA? ›

The ray AB is not same as ray BA, due to the different directions.

How many subjects are there in BA course? ›

FAQs. How many subjects are there in BA? A student pursuing BA Hons. is likely to have 4 core and 2 elective subjects in their curriculum. However, a student studying general BA has the option to select all 6 subjects.

Does the difference between A and B mean AB or BA? ›

To denote the DIFFERENCE of A and be we write: A-B or B-A. A-B is the set of all elements that are in A but NOT in B, and B-A is the set of all elements that are in B but NOT in A. Notice that A-B is always a subset of A and B-A is always a subset of B.

Is AB in school good? ›

B - is still a pretty good grade! This is an above-average score, between 80% and 89% C - this is a grade that rests right in the middle. C is anywhere between 70% and 79%

Why did you choose AB English course? ›

It is fulfilling and interesting because one can also learn from the people he encounters every single day. Advice to people who are thinking of studying this course: If you want to improve your communication and writing skills, specifically in English, choose AB English.

Which is harder BA or BS? ›

In short, no. There's no type of bachelor degree that's seen as "better" or harder to earn by all employers and grad schools. Both BA and BS degrees require hard work and skills across multiple areas.

Do jobs prefer BS or BA? ›

The short answer is no. Employers and graduate school admissions officers rarely care which type of Bachelor's degree you were awarded. They care far more about which major you pursued, where you went to school, the fact that you have a bachelor's degree at all, and how you performed in your classes.

Does a BA or BS make more money? ›

Bachelor of science graduates earn more—at first

The technical skills often associated with a BS are in high demand. For the first 10 years of experience in the field, BS degrees have the edge. Over time, however, the gap closes—then goes the other way.

In which field BS is best? ›

10 Best Bachelor of Science Degrees
  • Computer Science. Computer science degrees focus on things like programming and web development. ...
  • Finance. ...
  • Information Technology. ...
  • Biology. ...
  • Mechanical Engineering. ...
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Chemistry. ...
  • Mathematics.

What is the hardest BS degree? ›

Introducing the 13 Hardest College Majors
  • #8: Biochemistry or Biophysics. ...
  • #7: Astronomy. ...
  • #6: Physics. ...
  • #5: Cell and Molecular Biology. ...
  • #4: Biomedical Engineering. ...
  • #3: Aero and Astronautical Engineering. ...
  • #2: Chemical Engineering. ...
  • #1: Architecture. Average Hours Spent Preparing for Class Each Week: 22.20.
10 Feb 2021

What level is a Bachelor's degree in education? ›

A bachelor's degree (from Middle Latin baccalaureus) or baccalaureate (from Modern Latin baccalaureatus) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to six years (depending on institution and academic discipline).

What is the difference between BS and BA in education? ›

Degree. Generally, a Bachelor of Arts focuses on the humanities and arts while a Bachelor of Science emphasizes math and science. June 18, 2021, at 9:51 a.m.

What level of education is a degree? ›

A Bachelor's degree is the most common of university degree levels – and can be studied straight after finishing higher education. It's classed as a level 6 qualification.

What are the 5 most popular bachelors? ›

The 10 Most Popular College Majors
  • Business.
  • Social Sciences and History.
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
  • Communication and Journalism.
  • Computer and Information Sciences.

What is the highest degree in education? ›

Doctoral degree. The top of the academic degree hierarchy, a doctoral degree represents the most in-depth education within a discipline. Upon completion of a rigorous program, doctoral students are designated as authoritative experts in their field.

What is the best degree to get? ›

Most In-Demand Degrees
  1. Pharmacology. For a lucrative career helping people, pharmacology is at the top of the list for in-demand degrees. ...
  2. Computer Science. ...
  3. Health Science. ...
  4. Information Technology. ...
  5. Engineering. ...
  6. Business Administration. ...
  7. Finance. ...
  8. Human Resources.

What is a 3 year degree called? ›

Associate's Degree - an award that normally requires at least 2 but less than 4 years of full-time equivalent college-level work. Bachelor's Degree - An award (baccalaureate) that normally requires at least 4 but not more than 5 years of full-time equivalent college-level work.

What is a 8 year degree called? ›

For some professional roles, it is required you earn a doctorate degree, such as practicing psychology or becoming a professor. A doctorate degree typically takes anywhere from four to six years to complete. On average, a Ph. D. is earned within eight years.

What is a 6 year degree called? ›

The 6 Types of Degrees at University (Associate to Doctorate)
#Type of DegreeAverage Length (Full-Time Study)
3Masters2 years
4Doctorate6-9 years
5Professional Degree4 years
6Honorary DoctorateN/A
2 more rows
9 Sept 2021

Can we write AB as BA? ›

there cannot exist any B such that AB = BA.

Is AB the same as BA in maths? ›

AB and BA have same minimal polynomial when any one of A or B is invertible. If A is invertible, then (A inverse)(AB)A= BA, i.e. AB and BA are similar.

Is BA and AB the same in algebra? ›

The like terms are abc and acb; ab and ba. Note, abc and acb are identical and ab and ba are also identical. It does not matter in what order we multiply – for example, 3 x 2 x 4 is the same as 3 x 4 x 2.

What are the 5 compulsory subjects in BA? ›

BA Subjects List
  • English.
  • Sociology.
  • Journalism and Mass Communication.
  • Philosophy.
  • Psychology.
  • History.
  • Political Science.
  • Education/Physical Education.
2 Nov 2022

Is BA 4 years now? ›

Students will be awarded with a certificate after completing 1 year (2 semesters) of study in the chosen fields of study, a diploma after 2 years (4 semesters) of study, a bachelor's degree after a 3-year (6 semesters) programme of study, a bachelor's degree with honours or research after a 4-year programme.

What are the jobs after BA? ›

Top 10 Career Options After B.A.
  • Pursuing a Degree in M.A. ...
  • Become a Software Developer. ...
  • Specialize in Business Analytics. ...
  • Become a Data Scientist. ...
  • Digital Marketing. ...
  • Enter the Insurance Industry. ...
  • Become a Manager (MBA) ...
  • Human Resources Specialist.
3 Oct 2022

How do you solve AB sets? ›

To find the difference A - B of these two sets, we begin by writing all of the elements of A, and then take away every element of A that is also an element of B. Since A shares the elements 3, 4 and 5 with B, this gives us the set difference A - B = {1, 2}.

What is a degree in math called? ›

BA in Mathematics

The Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics provides a strong general mathematics background while still allowing students to create a program tailored to their interests. This is extremely useful for students pursuing careers in teaching or in the actuarial profession.

What is the element of AB? ›

SymbolElementAtomic #
51 more rows

Does AB matter in college? ›

Getting straight A's in college may look good on paper, but getting B's while taking the time for professional and personal growth is just as valuable. While a 4.0 GPA may help achieve your career goals, employers will consider a number of factors, including character and experience with internships and activities.

Can AB student go to college? ›

Finding the right school can be stressful for students and families, but you don't need perfect grades or test scores to get into a quality college. The U.S. News A-plus Schools for B Students list includes highly ranked National Universities that admit high school students with a B grade average.

What is the GPA of AB average student? ›

B GPA. A B letter grade is equivalent to a 3.0 GPA, or Grade Point Average, on a 4.0 GPA scale, and a percentage grade of 83–86.

What is the best answer for why did you choose this course? ›

Include information about your skills and natural talents in your answer. Consider mentioning how your skills align with the subject matter. Focus on your unique strengths that could contribute to your success in the course. Discuss the skills you hope to further develop through the course.

What jobs can I get in AB English? ›


Business and industry jobs, such as public relations, advertising, and documentations. Media and publishing occupations, such as hosting, writing, proofreading, translating, and editing. Government and diplomatic service, such as law, foreign service, and tourism.

Why should we choose you for this course answer? ›

Explanation: By highlighting your experience with a particular skill that the position requires, describe in detail what that experience looks like and how you have used it previously. This gives the hiring manager the chance to see some of your work and determine if it fits what they are looking for in a candidate.

What does AB and BS mean in college? ›

Two Types of Bachelor's Degrees

Both the B.A., or Bachelor of the Arts, and the B.S., or Bachelor of Science, are four-year undergraduate degrees. The primary difference between the two types of degrees is the focus of the coursework students are required to complete in order to earn them.

What is the lowest degree in college? ›

In terms of level of study, the college degree programs in order are:
  • Associate degree.
  • Bachelor's degree.
  • Master's degree.
  • Doctoral degree.
31 Mar 2022

Is AB in a college course good? ›

A+, A, A- indicates excellent performance. B+, B, B- indicates good performance. C+, C, C- indicates satisfactory performance. D+, D, D- indicates less than satisfactory performance.


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