University of Florida Homepage

BA and the BS Degrees

The mathematics major has two tracks; the Bachelor of Arts, BA, and the Bachelor of Science, BS. Many students ask which degree they should pursue. For the mathematics major at UF the difference in these degrees is entirely in the selection of mathematics courses taken.
In mathematics there is no intrinsic difference in the brand of BA or BS, as opposed to a technical or professional degree where the BS is the norm and an employer might expect the graduate to have a BS. Nevertheless, many students seem to think that the BA in Mathematics is an inferior degree. Traditionally, graduates from liberal arts colleges, for example, Harvard College, receive a BA regardless of the major. Try to put the whole branding issue aside and decide which of these degrees will best meet your needs.
The BS track is a selection of courses which will best prepare you for graduate school in Mathematics (as opposed to graduate school in Education, Business or Engineering.) Graduate school in Mathematics is an intense proof-oriented curriculum and the BS track narrows the selection of courses to focus on that target.
The BA track offers the greatest flexibility in the choice of electives and their availability. The BA allows the student to choose up to three courses from the elective list in areas like Computer Science, Industrial Engineering, Physics, and Statistics. Using the guidelines in Course Recommendations you can build a secondary specialty within the BA track. The BA is also the most efficient way for a student to get a dual degree in mathematics and one of these majors.
The student who wants to maintain the greatest flexibility, to have a secondary specialty, but also keep the option of graduate school in mathematics open should choose the BS track.
Students who come into the mathematics program late in their undergraduate career are expected to maintain their graduation horizon. The BA offers more flexibility with course availability and is usually the only feasible option.