What Is a Bachelor of Science Degree?

Students who complete a 4-year degree in a field related to math or a natural science usually receive a Bachelor of Science degree. This article explains the requirements for earning a Bachelor of Science degree.

Bachelor of Science Definition

A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) is an undergraduate degree awarded to those who study mathematics or a natural science. Most Bachelor of Science degree programs require students to take between 120 and 133 semester hours, or between 40 and 42 classes. It usually takes students four years to earn a B.S. degree. These programs provide a focused education in a students' major and often require fewer general education courses than do other undergraduate degree programs.

Curriculum

Many B.S. programs, like the ones offered by the University of Texas, www.utexas.edu, require students to take 37 to 51 semester hours in their major. The number of courses required for the major depends on the field of study. In addition to major classes, students must complete general education courses in subjects like history, literature and government. Most B.S. programs require students to choose a minor, which is a secondary area of study, though schools may be flexible about the hours needed for this requirement.

Common Majors

Most undergraduate programs in the natural sciences or mathematics award Bachelor of Science degrees. Common natural science majors include physics, chemistry and biology. Natural sciences, however, are not the only fields that award a Bachelor of Science. Engineering, business and computer science are also among the fields that typically award a Bachelor of Science. Some schools allow students majoring in a social science, like psychology, to choose between a B.S. and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. A B.A. is similar to a B.S., but requires fewer major classes and more general education classes.

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