A Dubious Distinction? The BA Versus the BS in Psychology

Rory A. Pfund, John C. Norcross, Robin Hailstorks, Leona S. Aiken, Karen E. Stamm, Peggy Christidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Previous studies have documented small differences between the bachelor of arts (BA) and the bachelor of science (BS) psychology degrees in their general education core requirements, particularly mathematics and science courses. But are there differences between the BA and BS degrees within the psychology curriculum? Using data from the Undergraduate Study in Psychology, we examined the psychology curriculum of 329 accredited, nonprofit institutions awarding bachelors’ degrees in psychology. We investigated potential differences between BA and BS programs as well as programs awarding both the BA and the BS. Overall, we discovered relatively few differences. The largest contributor to differences in baccalaureate degrees was not the type of degree but the level of the degrees awarded at an educational institution. Implications center on correcting student perceptions, faculty advising, and curricula planning regarding the differences between the BA and the BS in psychology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-37
Number of pages6
JournalTeaching of Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016


  • baccalaureate programs
  • psychology curriculum
  • teaching psychology
  • undergraduate education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychology(all)


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