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Arts or Science: Which is the Better Criminal Justice Degree?

When pursuing a degree in criminal justice administration, you'll probably run into the question of B.A. v. B.S. So what's the difference? Both study the ethical and political aspects of criminal justice and are a great start for those interested in law enforcement or government. But the differences could drastically change your college experience. 

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

  • Requires a foreign language (generally to "proficiency" level)
  • Usually doesn't require internships
  • More widely available

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

  • No foreign language requirement
  • Statistics or other math requirements
  • Generally need to complete an internship or practicum

If you're nervous about learning another language or taking higher level math courses, that might dictate which degree you earn. But if all you know is that you're interested in the field, how do you choose?

The Bachelor of Science is a more focused degree. You can expect to take more technical and scientific field classes and might be better set up for work in criminology or criminal psychology. Plus you can expect to take part in an internship. 

The Bachelor of Arts is a degree more commonly associated with liberal arts and the humanities. While still taking science courses, you'll also spend more time in the social sciences and communication. If you think you'd like to go into academia or law enforcement (or already have law enforcement experience), the B.A. might be a good step. 

Either way, criminal justice majors are much sought after in the law enforcement, government and criminology worlds. If you have other questions, it's best to ask your adviser or admissions counselor for any schools you're thinking about.


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