Student Info & Guide

BA or BSc – which subject area of a bachelor degree should you choose?

by on September 5, 2019 | Top Stories

BA or BSc – which subject area of a bachelor degree should you choose? -

The subject areas of a bachelor degree can be offered as a BA or BSc, or both BA and BSc. Which is the right for you?

1. Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • awarded mainly in the areas of social sciences, linguistics, cultural sciences, and informatics and business sciences
  • most common among bachelor degree and it focuses on theoretical knowledge
2. Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • awarded mainly in the areas of natural sciences, humanities, business sciences, engineering, technology, mathematics and informatics
  • focuses on combining theoretical knowledge with research practice
  • in some cases, BSc degrees can be found in study specialisations like business, nursing, medical science, law, hospitality, or architecture
3. BA and BSc

There are also subject areas that are offered as both BA and BSc, for example, psychology, business, geography, architecture, accounting, economics, and others. The difference between the two is that usually, BA means a greater focus on theory, while BSc focuses more on practical skills

Note: Generally, whether you study a subject as a BA or BSc course, you will cover similar core topics. The difference is that with a BA course, your minor or electives are liberal arts courses (e.g. philosophy, writing, language, etc.) while a BSc course would require you to make up the rest of your curriculum with scientific disciplines (e.g. mathematics, statistics, science, research methods, etc.).

4. Specialised bachelor degrees

There are also first degrees in specialised areas such as: law (LLB), engineering (BEng), medicine (MBBS), pharmacy (BPharm), fine arts (BFA), applied science (BAS) and others.

5. Single major, major-minor and double major

You may come across different names in for a particular study area, for example: Bachelor of Economics; Bachelor of Economics (International Economics); Bachelor of Economics with Finance; Bachelor of Economics and Business. If you’re wondering what the differences are or what it all means, here’s a brief description:

  • Single Major: Bachelor of Economics – in this qualification, 70% of the knowledge is covered under the major which is economics in this example. This degree course has single major.
  • Major with specialisation: Bachelor of Economics (International Economics) – in this programme, the major is economics while 25-30% of its knowledge focuses on the specialisation, that is, international economics.
  • Major-minor: Bachelor of Economics with Finance – this programme consists of one major (economics) and a minor (finance) which is from a different field of study. The academic workload for the minor will make up 25-30% of the overall programme.
  • Double major: Bachelor of Economics and Business – there are two main majors in this programme, that is, economics and business. These are two different fields of study with an academic workload of 50%-50% for each major. The duration of study is usually longer than a course with a single major.
  • Double degree – a double degree programme allows a student to study for two university degrees at the same time—either at the same institution or at different institutions (sometimes in different countries). This allows students to complete the double degree in a shorter period than it would have taken to earn them separately. The two degrees could be in complementary subject areas or each with its own field of study. An example is Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Business; or Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Economics.

What to study?


Need help deciding on what to study? Have you heard of the 27 fields of study? Would you like to explore and discover what courses and careers could be a good match for you?

Come and find out at:

Copyright © StudyMalaysia Sdn Bhd/, August 2019

Reference: Study in Malaysia Handbook (11th International Edition)

Related Articles:

You May Also Be Interested In...

Download FREE myCourseGuide