Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Four Science units - Computer Science, Geography, Mathematics and Statistics, and Psychology - offer B.A. degrees through the Faculty of Arts in addition to B.Sc. degrees through the Faculty of Science.
Why is it important to choose the degree or faculty that is right for you?
Students are accepted at McGill into a certain faculty (i.e., Arts for B.A., or Science for B.Sc.). It is sometimes possible to switch to a different degree or faculty (e.g., from B.A. to B.Sc.), though this requires a transfer application and you may have to take additional courses. In contrast, it is easy to change your major within a faculty.
Why should you choose Science?
If your background lies in Science, and if your interests lie more in Science, choose Science. You can include Arts minors and electives in your science program. Choosing Science will allow you the most flexibility now and later on when choosing possible second programs (majors, minors, honours, joint honours) or if you wish to change your area of study.
Why should you choose Arts?
One reason to consider a B.A. rather than a B.Sc. is if you have the prerequisites for your discipline (i.e., for Computer Science, Geography, Mathematics and Statistics, or Psychology), but you do not have all the basic science prerequisites. (However, note that all Computer Science programs have a strong mathematics component, whether you choose the B.A. or B.Sc. stream.) Another reason is that some combinations, such as the Joint Honours in English and Mathematics, are available in a B.A. but not in a B.Sc.
If you choose Arts, here are some additional considerations:
Arts major concentrations offer less depth than corresponding Science majors. An Arts major concentration alone may not be adequate preparation for graduate studies in a given field. However, combinations in Arts (of major concentrations and minor concentrations) can often approximate some of the corresponding Science majors, e.g.,:
|Arts Maj. Conc. in Psychology||(36 credits)|
|Arts Min. Conc. in Behavioral Science||(18 credits)|
|Science Maj. in Psychology||(54 credits)|
|Arts Maj. Conc. in Computer Science||(36 credits)|
|Arts Supplementary Min. Conc. in Computer Science||(18 credits)|
|Science Maj. in Computer Science||(60 credits)|
|Arts Maj. Conc. in Mathematics||(36 credits)|
|Arts Minor. Conc. in Statistics||(18 credits)|
|Science Maj. in Mathematics||(54 credits)|
Additional notes – mathematics and statistics: The Arts combination for Math (given just above) focuses on statistics, whereas the B.Sc. major program allows you to orient your program toward your choice of statistics, computer science, applied mathematics, secondary school teaching, or vocations in business, industry or government.
Additional notes – computer science: There are additional choices for software engineering and computer science: see Choosing the right major in Computer Science or Software Engineering on the School of Computer Science's webpage.
Additional notes - geography: For Human Geography, choose the B.A. program; for Physical Geography, choose the B.Sc. program. For more information on this distinction, please visit our page for prospective geography students.
What about the Bachelor of Arts and Science (B.A. & Sc.)?
See our B.A. & Sc. page.