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A Bachelor of Science (B.S., B.Sc. or BSc; less commonly, S.B. or Sc.B. from the Latin Scientiæ Baccalaureus) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years (see below).

International differences

Commonwealth and Ireland

Commonly in the Commonwealth and Ireland graduands are admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Science after having completed a programme in one or more of the sciences. These programmes may take different lengths of time to complete.

A Bachelor of Science receives the designation B.Sc. or B.S. for a major/pass degree and B.Sc. (Hons) or B.S. (Hons) for an honours degree. In Ireland the former B.Sc. was changed to B.Sc. (Hons.) which is awarded after 4 years. The B.Sc. (Ord.) is awarded after 3 years.

Whether a subject is considered a science or an art can vary between universities. For example, an economics degree may be given as a B.A. by one university but as a B.Sc by another. Biology, Biochemistry, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, General science, Earth science, Information Technology and Computer Science are almost universally considered to be sciences.

Even in these cases, there are exceptions. The London School of Economicsmarker offers B.Sc. degrees in practically all subject areas, even those normally associated with arts degrees, while the Oxbridge universities award arts qualifications almost exclusively. In both instances, this is generally for historical and traditional reasons. The first university to admit a student to the degree of Bachelor of Science was the University of London in 1860. Prior to this science subjects were included in the B.A. bracket, notably in the cases of mathematics, physics, physiology and botany.Formerly at the University of Oxfordmarker, the degree of B.Sc. was a postgraduate degree; this former degree, still actively granted, has since been renamed M.Sc.

In Pakistan, one can obtain B.A. /B.Sc. degree after four years of study after matriculation from high school. One can obtain a B.Sc. in an engineering discipline after six years of study after matriculation from high school. The students matriculate from high school and then study for two years at a college to obtain either an F.A. or F.Sc. and then another two years to obtain a B.A. or B.Sc. for arts and sciences, respectively. Matriculation, F.A. /F.Sc. and B.A. /B.Sc. exams are given by various education boards e.g. Sargodha Board. These exams cover the last two years of curriculum and run for several weeks where students take written examinations lasting two hours each e.g. Biology I, Biology II, Mathematics I, Mathematics II etc. followed by practicals and viva voce in Physics, Chemistry, Biology etc conducted by invigilators from other colleges. B.Sc. degrees obtained from engineering universities, e.g. UET Lahore, takes four years. B.A. /B.Sc. Honours programs require extra work and are conducted concurrently.

United States

In the United Statesmarker, a Bachelor of Science degree may be a more specialized version of B.A., with more focus on the subject and less on a broad liberal arts background; for example, a B.S. in economics may require several more advanced economics courses than a B.A. in economics and possibly more support courses (such as statistics), while requiring fewer lower-level liberal arts classes that do not directly relate the major in question. The B.S. is also frequently used for professional areas of study such as engineering, journalism, accounting, and advertising. At least five American schools (Caltechmarker, Babsonmarker, Georgia Techmarker, MITmarker, and HMCmarker) and five service academies (United States Military Academymarker, United States Naval Academymarker, United States Air Force Academy, United States Merchant Marine Academymarker and United States Coast Guard Academy) award the BS for all subjects. On the other hand, many schools (especially Liberal Arts colleges) do not offer a BS at all.

In the US a B.S. and B.A. may distinguish between more focus on study within the sciences rather than the arts, respectively. For example, a general curriculum might be common among the two degrees, while those pursuing the B.S. might have to study further material in the sciences, and those pursuing a B.A. the arts. This is the case at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Continental Europe

The B.Sc. from Germany was equivalent to a B.Sc. (Hons.). Note that many universities in German speaking countries are changing their systems into the BA/MA system, thus of course also offering the full equivalent of a B.Sc.In the Czech Republicmarker and Slovakiamarker a Bachelor of Science places the pre-nominal letters Bc. before his name.

Other countries

In Brazilmarker, a Bachelor of Science degree is a graduation degree and is also more specific, usually containing a one-year mandatory probation time by the end of the course followed by relatively elaborate written and oral evaluations.

Typical completion period

Three years

Australia, Austriamarker, Barbadosmarker, Belgiummarker, Belizemarker, Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker, Canadamarker (Quebecmarker), Cameroonmarker, Cote d'Ivoiremarker, Croatiamarker (mostly three years, sometimes four), Cubamarker, Czech Republicmarker (mostly three years, sometimes four), Denmarkmarker, Englandmarker (three or four years with a one-year placement in industry), Estoniamarker, Finlandmarker, Francemarker, Germanymarker (mostly three years, but can be up to four years), Hong Kongmarker, Hungarymarker, Icelandmarker, Indiamarker, Irelandmarker (Ordinary), Italymarker, Jamaicamarker, Latviamarker (three or four years), Lebanonmarker (three or four years), Malaysiamarker, The Netherlandsmarker (three or four years (HBO/HTS/HEAO), New Zealandmarker, Northern Irelandmarker, Norwaymarker, Polandmarker, Portugalmarker, Romaniamarker, Sloveniamarker, Scotlandmarker (Ordinary), Singaporemarker (honours degree takes 4 years), Slovakiamarker, Swedenmarker, Switzerlandmarker, Trinidad and Tobagomarker, United Statesmarker (three or four years), Walesmarker, Zimbabwemarker and South Africa.

Four years

Albaniamarker, Afghanistanmarker, Azerbaijanmarker, Australia (honours degree), Bangladeshmarker (three or four years), Bahrainmarker, Belarusmarker, Belizemarker, Bruneimarker, Bosniamarker, Bulgariamarker, Canadamarker (except Quebecmarker), Cyprusmarker, Guatemalamarker, Greecemarker (four or five years), Indonesiamarker, Iranmarker (four or five years), Iraqmarker, Irelandmarker (Honours Degree), Israelmarker, Japanmarker, Jordanmarker, Kazakhstanmarker, Koreamarker, Kuwaitmarker, Lithuaniamarker, Libyamarker, Malawimarker (four or five years), Maltamarker, Macedoniamarker (three, four or five years), Montenegromarker (three, four or five years), Mexicomarker, Myanmarmarker, New Zealandmarker (honours degree), Pakistanmarker, People's Republic of Chinamarker, the Philippinesmarker (four or five years), Romaniamarker, Russiamarker, Saudi Arabiamarker, Scotlandmarker (Honour Degree), Serbiamarker (four or five years), South Africa, Taiwanmarker, Thailandmarker, Turkeymarker, Sri Lankamarker (three or four years), Haitimarker (three or four years), Ukrainemarker (four or five years), United Statesmarker (three or four years), Yemenmarker, Zambiamarker (four or five years).

Five years

Greecemarker (four or five years), Venezuelamarker, Perumarker, Argentinamarker, Brazilmarker (four or five years), Colombiamarker, Mexicomarker (4.5 years), Chilemarker (usually four years dedicated to coursework plus one year of research thesis), Egyptmarker, Haitimarker (four or five years), Nigeriamarker (four to five years), 6 months dedicated to SIWES (Students Industrial Work Exchange Scheme) but for most sciences and all engineering courses only. A semester for project work/thesis not excluding course work during the bachelor thesis. Excluding 1 year for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), para-military and civil service, Syriamarker, Macedoniamarker and Sierra Leonemarker (four years dedicated to coursework).

See also


  1. page xiii of The University of London and the World of Learning, 1836–1986 By Francis Michael Longstreth Thompson Published by Continuum International Publishing Group, 1990 ISBN 9781852850326

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