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What is major AA or BA?

Updated: 10/10/2023
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10y ago

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Associates (Community College Level) vs. Bachelors (Four Year College or University)

Community College Level

An Associate degree (two year community college) is designed as a two year program of study as a full-time student provided the student takes the degree as prescribed by the college. Evidently it would take longer as a part-time student. Within the United States, the associates typically falls into three main categories; Associates of Arts (AA), Associates of Science (AS), and Associates of Applied Science (AAS). An associates of arts (AA), and associates in science (AS) degrees are typically designed for transfer to a four year college or university. Therefore, these degrees have a strong liberal arts emphasis and include a good balance of humanities, social science, and written communication along with the exact sciences especially in higher level math. They also have the foundational course work needed as prerequisites for the higher level courses at the four year institution. The AAS was typically designed as a terminal degree giving the student all the expertise needed to enter the workforce after completion of the degree. However, today, many AAS degree are transferable, but the student should meet with the transfer counselor for appropriate direction when it comes to the AAS degrees. Depending on the program of study and state mandates, the associates can take anywhere from 60 to 64 credits to complete. Some programs of study (usually within the health related fields) may take a bit more in credits.

Four Year College or University Level

The bachelors degree (four year college or university) is designed as a four year program of study provided the student takes the degree as prescribed by the college or university. Again, part-time students will take longer to complete the degree. How long it would take depends on the credit load taken per semester. Basically, within the United States there are two common categories; Bachelors of Arts (BA), and Bachelors of Science (BS). It depends on the institution and department within the school as to which focus they prefer.

The BA has a broader scope, with a strong emphasis on the humanities, theoretical and general knowledge in a recognized discipline, interdisciplinary field, or of a professional study.

The BS is more of a focused approach with a science base to include a balance of liberal arts, technological knowledge, math and computer oriented skills, and practical skills needed for a particular discipline within the field.

The number of credits required depends on the program of study. In general, the bachelors can take between 120 and 128 credits to complete. Some programs of study may take more. For example, architecture. The following are some differences between community colleges, and four year colleges and universities.

Community College

Many individuals start at the community college level for a variety of reasons to include:

  • Community colleges are less expensive to start out with. You can cut the cost of a four year degree almost in half by starting at a community college first, and then transferring to four year college or university to finish up the last two years.
  • There are typically smaller classroom sizes at the community college with a better professor to student ratio, which means more individualized attention.
  • Some students do not meet the entrance requirements of the four year college or university, thus they start at the community college first, then transfer later.
  • The community colleges are typically more family oriented, with a strong sense of community.
  • Some students like to be close to home, thus they start at their home county community college.

Four Year Colleges and Universities

  • Four year institutions are usually larger, with a number of activities not offered at the community college level. For example, fraternities, and sororities, College Football, etc.
  • Some colleges may have top name lecturers, within large lecture halls which are preferred by many students.
  • Some individuals like the four year institutions environment (the university atmosphere).
  • There are students who can major in special program curriculums not offered by the community college.

In the end, it is a matter of preference. Do you like being a big fish in a little pond, or a little fish in a big pond? Whichever you choose, you must be happy with your school, its offerings, the services provided, and environment. If you're not happy, you will not fair as well.

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15y ago
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9y ago

BA and BS are 4-year bachelor's degrees and AAA and AS are two-year associate's degrees.

Associate degrees fall into three main areas.

  • Associates of Arts (AA)
  • Associates of Science (AS)
  • Associates of Applied Science (AAS)

Each of the above degrees is designed to be completed after two years of studyas a full-time student and provided the student takes the degree as prescribed by the college. In addition, most every community college requires that every incoming student be placement tested before they register for their first semester (unless they fall into an exemption category). This test is not an admissions test and has no bearing on a student's acceptance to the college. In fact, most students have already been accepted to the school before they take the test. It is not a test that is passed or failed, but simply to determine whether an individual needs to take some refresher courses before entering college level coursework. This is to ensure the student has the appropriate basic skills to succeed at the college level.

The test is broken down into four parts; two parts English and two parts mathematics. The English includes grammar (sentence sense), and reading comprehension. The math includes computation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, fractions, square roots, and percentages), and the equivalent of a high school algebra I. If the student scores low in any these areas, then they will be required to enroll in the indicated remedial course/s starting with their first semester.Thus, the two year degree plan may turn into a two and a half year, or possibly a three year plan depending on how much remedial work is needed. To limit this time, students have the option to enroll in summer session courses.

Now let us look at the inherent differences between the degrees:

Associates of Arts (AA)

The Associates of arts is really designed as a fully transferable degree to a four year college or university for those pursing a Bachelors degree. It serves to complete most of the four year institutions general education cluster area, which amounts to the first two years of a four year program. It also serves to complete any perquisite courses needed for the four year institutions curriculum major and minor requirements. Students are admitted to Junior level status provided they have completed the matching associate's level degree. In other words, Business AA to Business BA, Engineering AS, to Engineering AS etc. Thus, within this degree students will be required to have a well rounded educational foundation to include, English literature, history, social science, laboratory science, humanities, math, communications, etc. These courses are in addition to the student's major field of study.

Associates of Science (AS)

Within the AS degrees a student will notice there are less general education requirements, and more career oriented course work. You will find this in curriculums to include, Nursing, Engineering, some Computer Science and Allied Heath fields. Still, these programs should be fully transferable to four year institutions provided the degree matches that of the four year college or university's program of study, as mentioned above under AA degrees.

Associates in Applied Science (AAS)

The AAS degrees are very career oriented and designed to give the student all the expertise needed for entry level positions upon completion of the degree. Therefore, the student will notice most of the AAS degree is made up of professional phase courses particular to a specific field, and a very limited number of general education courses. This has promoted the myth, that all AAS degrees are not transferable to four year colleges and universities. I will admit, as the degree was originally designed; transferability was not the original intent of this type of degree. Therefore many AAS degree fields of study did not transfer to four year institutions very well. In fact, in some categories it was almost like starting over. Today this is not so. Community Colleges today have what is known as Joint Admissions or Dual Admissions articulations with four year institutions, where if the student completes the agreed upon program of study successfully, the four year institution will take the degree full faith in credit and grant the student Junior level status. This includes AAS degrees. However, it is strongly recommended that a student who is seeking to transfer to a four year institution at a later date, make an appointment with a Transfer Counselor at the Community College for the pros and cons of AAS transfer as well as and more detailed information.

The Bachelor's of Arts degree (BA) has a broader scope, with a strong emphasis on the humanities, theoretical and general knowledge in a recognized discipline, interdisciplinary field, or of a professional study.

The Bachelor of Science degree (BS) is more of a focused approach with a science base to include a balance of liberal arts, technological knowledge, math and computer oriented skills, and practical skills needed for a particular discipline within the field.

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16y ago

They're all university/college degrees. BS is Bachelor of Science, BA Bachelor of Arts, and I think AA is and Associate of Arts.

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If you have an AA in one field do you need to go to school for four more years to get a BA in a different field?

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If you have a ba degree how long much longer would it take to get an AA degree?

If you are applying to a community college to take an AA, most have a transfer credit limit. They may transfer anywhere from 32 to 40 credits if they are usable toward the AA which could be 60 to 64 credits to complete. Still, I'm wondering why you would want to obtain an AA after already completing a BA. The AA degrees are typically designed to transfer to a four year college or university to pursue the BA or BS. Their are many with a BA and BS that take an associate in applied science being that it is very career oriented. In other words, nursing, physical therapy, etc., but rarely do I ever see someone taking the AA after having a BA or BS. Well, you most have your reasons.


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