What is an AB Degree? 

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Group of students studying on a table.

What is an AB Degree?

What exactly is an AB degree? It’s the acronym for the Latin term “artium baccalaureus,” which translates to Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English. An AB degree, being a liberal arts degree, emphasizes humanities, languages, and social sciences.

Most teenagers find it challenging to adjust to the new college environment after graduating from high school. There’s the stress of understanding terms like “AB degree,” choosing a degree program, and preparing for the move away from home.

After high school, selecting a college and a degree program can be daunting. If you’re uncertain about the distinctions between degrees, such as AB and BA, you’re not alone. Many students find themselves burning the midnight oil, requesting transcripts, filling out online applications, and crafting those all-important personal statements. Naturally, you want to get everything right.

Considering an AB degree but unsure about its specifics? We’re here to help.

View of students typing in their laptop.

Pursuing an AB degree exposes you to a broad spectrum of knowledge across various fields. You’ll meet general education requirements (GERs) alongside your major-specific courses to earn this degree. For instance, if you’re an undergraduate psychology student, your primary courses will delve into the human mind’s theories, behaviors, and emotions. However, you’ll also take mandatory courses in mathematics, physics, English literature, and history.

If you had hopes of evading math by majoring in Comparative Literature or another AB discipline, brace yourself for some algebra and polynomials. At the minimum, you’ll likely enroll in a basic math course.

An integral aspect of an AB degree is the GERs, designed to equip you with diverse, transferable skills that enhance your societal value. These courses also hone your reasoning and critical thinking abilities. The overarching goal is to offer students a well-rounded perspective on life.

What is the Difference Between an AB and a BA Degree?

To tell you the truth, the only thing differentiating the degrees is the sequence in which the letters are written. Despite this, students pursuing either an AB or a BA degree are expected to have successfully finished a post-secondary educational program that spans four years at an institution of higher education that is both recognized and approved. Latin presumably played the same function in the world as English does now until the 20th century, therefore universities that award the Bachelor of Arts degree probably needed their students to master Latin up until that time.

Professor teaching someone using a laptop.

It’s possible to make the argument that an AB has more weight than a BA because famous universities like Harvard and Princeton provide AB degrees rather than BA degrees, but in reality, it’s merely a matter of whether or not the degree is awarded in Latin. They are merely adhering to the customs of the past. Although it may sound a little bit dated, it is what it is.

Difference Between an AB Degree and a BS Degree

Choosing a concentration of study in college can be a challenging endeavor for many people. However, once students have settled on a concentration, they may be required to make a second decision, which is whether to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. Certain universities only provide Bachelor of Arts degrees. or B.S. programs only in particular fields of study, while some provide training in either option. So what is the difference between an AB degree and a BS degree?

According to the recommendations of many authorities, students must consider the destinations they have in mind for their future. In most cases, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) whereas a Bachelor of Arts degree places more emphasis on the arts than a Bachelor of Science degree places more emphasis on the sciences. indicates that an emphasis is placed on science and mathematics.

What is a Bachelor of Sciences (BS) Degree?

Students who earn a Bachelor of Science degree receive a more in-depth and focused education in their chosen field. Because a BS degree is more concentrated on the student’s chosen field of study, it typically needs a greater number of credit hours than a BA degree does. Students are expected to devote more of their attention to studying the subject that constitutes their major.

There are fewer opportunities for students to enroll in classes outside of their major. In most cases, students can get a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in a field that is scientific or technical, such as engineering, technology, mathematics, computer science, nursing, or biochemistry. Although a Bachelor of Science degree is often offered in scientific degrees, several colleges do offer Bachelor of Science degrees in other more specialized subjects.

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So, what’s the difference between these two? The focus of the study is what differentiates the Bachelor of Arts from the Bachelor of Science. The coursework for a Bachelor of Arts degree typically focuses on holistic learning, critical thinking, and communication, whereas the coursework for a Bachelor of Science degree typically emphasizes logic, reasoning, and mathematical skills. Aside from that, there is not a huge amount of difference between the two. Your choice of major (the principal subject concentration of your degree) will, in most instances, be the deciding factor in the kind of degree you ultimately earn.

Having said that, there are some circumstances in which you might be offered a choice of degrees, such as receiving either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. If this is the case, the concentration of your program, as well as, to some extent, the classes that you take, will be determined by the degree that you intend to get. Students who major in psychology have the option of pursuing either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree depending on whether they are more interested in social work, counseling, or laboratory research.

In most cases, earning a bachelor’s degree is considered to be more valuable than earning a specific kind of degree. By the year 2030, it’s possible that seventy percent of job vacancies will call for a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Critical Thinking Logic and Reasoning
Communication Quantitative skills
Holistic Learning Research
Emphasis on Humanities, Social Sciences, and Visual Arts Emphasis on Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Technology

What are the Requirements for Getting an AB degree?

Since we now know what is an AB degree and its nuances, the successful completion of courses in a certain concentration earns students an AB degree. But before that, you are probably aware that you need to initially be accepted into the college in order to work toward earning the degree. So, what are the requirements for getting an AB degree? The following is a list of the prerequisites that you must meet before submitting your application.

Application and Fee

There are some schools, such as colleges, and universities, that have their very own individualized application processes. Others use the Common Application, which allows applicants to submit their materials to several schools through a central hub, thus significantly reducing the amount of time spent on the application process.

According to the findings of a survey conducted by US News, the typical cost of submitting an application to a college is roughly $43. However, colleges in the Ivy League may charge as much as $75 for each application submitted. According to the most recent research, Stanford even touched $90.

Are you unable to afford to purchase those? Many educational institutions will not require you to pay the application fee if you apply by a specified date or if you can provide evidence that you are unable to afford the costs.

Official High School Transcript

You will need to submit an official transcript request to the high school you attended in order to demonstrate that you have completed all of the required coursework and obtained the appropriate grades and credit hours. After you have graduated from high school, you are required to keep your diploma safe because it serves as additional evidence of your credentials.

Recommendation Letters

The majority of institutions require applicants to submit two to three letters of recommendation written by school counselors or teachers. Find someone who is familiar with you and can write about the positive aspects of your character. Do not, and we cannot stress this enough, pick a professor in whose course you performed extremely poorly; we mean it when we say this.

Group of students studying in the stairs of the school.

Keep in mind that universities place a high emphasis on recommendations that indicate aspects about you that cannot be determined from your test results or grades, as well as personal comments regarding your character. Choose a professor whose classes you did well in. Additionally, while asking for recommendations, it is best to do so approximately two months before the application date.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is your chance to provide the admissions committee insight into who you are as a person and what you bring to the table. You might write about what makes you stand out from other applicants and what you have to offer the community on their campus. You might also discuss the significance of your AB degree to both you and your desired line of work in the future.

Get an early start on this, as it is widely regarded as the most challenging aspect of the application process for any college. If you are looking for a step-by-step tutorial on how to compose an impressive personal statement, continue reading. After you have finished writing one, get feedback on your draft from an instructor in whom you have faith. And don’t forget to go through everything again, check it for errors, and do it again! Keep revising your personal statement until you reach a point where you are completely content with it and it accurately conveys who you are.

College Entrance Exam Scores

You will be required to submit official score reports in addition to reporting your SAT and/or ACT results on the application form. Both the SAT and the ACT are responsible for sending these documents directly to the college. In addition, the results of any SAT or Advanced Placement subject tests that you have completed are often required to be submitted by applicants to institutions.

You are ultimately responsible for making sure that all of the requirements are met within the allotted time, despite the fact that other people will be responsible for submitting some components of your application. Make it a point to check in with the professors who will be recommending you as well as your guidance counselor to ensure that they will submit your prerequisites in a timely manner. You can also check the internet portal for the college to see if there have been any recent updates.

Choosing the Right AB Degree

As a student, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is which subject(s) to major in. This is due to the fact that choosing the right AB degree or subject that interests you has a significant role in determining how well you will perform in a certain course.

Examine How You Excel in Certain Areas

Your academic prowess in a certain area will be a major factor in determining how well you do if you decide to pursue higher education in that area. Before committing to a path that will take you years to complete, you should evaluate both your strong and weak points.

Check out the course outlines for each of the classes that are necessary for the degrees that you are considering pursuing. For example, the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies at Harvard College provides a thorough list of all of the specializations that can be pursued within their program, along with course descriptions that correlate to each option.

The course syllabi can frequently be accessed using the links that are provided in these course descriptions. You can download the course syllabi and carefully read through them in order to gain an understanding of the learning goals for each individual class. Ask yourself if the classes will suit both your academic strengths and any future job interests you have.

It may be a bit tedious, especially if you’d rather spend your free time on your hobbies, but doing so can help you acquire clarity on what it is that you actually want to pursue once you graduate from high school.

The transition from high school to college can be challenging, but now that you are familiar with the significance of an AB degree as well as the complexity associated with it, you are more ready to answer those application forms with self-assurance. Keep in mind that the primary reasons we attend college are to pursue our passions and advance our talents. Determine what it is you want to do, then work towards achieving it.

You are about to embark on an exciting journey that will lead you to a prosperous future. Don’t settle for an AB degree if you want to feel like you’ve accomplished something in life. Consider each and every possible educational opportunity.

Pursue Your Passion

Your enthusiasm for a certain AB degree is what will keep you going through the challenging times, even if it appears impossible to accomplish so. On the other side, what differentiates you from the rest of the crew is the fact that you are willing to take on the difficult aspects of the course.

It’s not always easy to strike a balance between doing what you enjoy and being good at what you do. There are some people who are born already knowing what they want to do with their lives, but that is not the case for everyone and things don’t always turn out that way for everyone.

Group of students talking in front of the classroom.

Pursue activities that bring you delight, and look for an undergraduate degree that will enable you to broaden your range of interests. Don’t make things more difficult for yourself by overthinking things. In most cases, your first instinct is correct; therefore, you should act upon it and not second-guess yourself.

Want to learn more about getting your AB Degree? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.



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