Academic Excellence



BS versus BA

 BS versus BA

What’s the difference between a BS in Economics at Wharton and BA in Economics in a liberal arts program?

We get this question all the time, and the answer comes down to curriculum and teaching and learning methods.

Curriculum

At Wharton you will learn how to apply business methods and economic theory to real-world problems, while a BA program will focus mostly on theoretical issues without the real-world component.

Wharton’s curriculum allows you to concentrate on specific areas of business such as finance, marketing, or management. With a Wharton degree, you become a specialist in a business area – a BA in economics does not allow this customization.

Teaching & Learning Methods

Wharton classes focus on hands-on problem solving, using teaching methods such as case studies, negotiations, group work, and simulations in addition to traditional lectures. Students learn by starting with a problem or concrete example. After fully understanding the problem, they look for solutions and then begin to examine theories to see how they might apply.

In a liberal arts setting, students often learn by starting with a theory or abstract idea. After fully understanding the theory, they then look for problems to understand how the theory applies.

When you are deciding on where to go to college, you should ask yourself whether you want to focus on the theory of economics (BA) or the application of economics and business knowledge (BS).

49%
complete more than one Wharton concentration

Perspective

Ann Hewitt

Houston, TX

“The cases we studied generated lots of discussion among my classmates, as we were expected to develop our own solutions to the issues before coming to class.”

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