Should I Choose an A.B. or B.S. Degree?

How to choose between the A.B. and B.S. Programs in Psychology

The Department of Psychology at UC Davis offers both an  A. B. (Bachelor of Arts) and B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degrees. Other than the differences in the major coursework, the differences between the A.B. and B.S. degrees are:

  • The B.S. degree requires a total of 90 units in natural science/mathematics in order to fulfill the L&S Area Breadth requirement; in contrast students choosing the A.B. degree fulfill the L&S Area Breadth requirement through filling the GE requirement.
  • The A.B. degree requires one years fluency (or 15 units) of a single foreign language; the B.S. has no foreign language requirement.

Graduate and professional schools in general are not concerned with the kind of degree you possess but rather with the courses you have taken. Generally speaking, graduate programs check your GPA, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation and GRE test scores. If you are genuinely interested in math or the natural sciences, you may prefer to go the B.S. route. The A.B. degree may be attractive to students interested in earning a minor or perhaps pursuing a double major, and for students who desire more freedom when choosing their elective psychology courses.

The B.S. and A.B. degrees are equally acceptable for students interested in Psychology graduate school and pre-professional schools (check with the pre-health, pre-law, or pre-graduate advisers in Advising Services, South Hall, for details). There is a good deal of overlap between the B.S. degree and many health program requirements, so those students interested in the health field generally choose the B.S. degree. The important point is to determine what courses would best prepare you for the programs to which you may be applying. For guidance, see a faculty member in your area of interest and check course requirements in individual graduate programs. Also take advantage of campus resources, such as Pre-Graduate Advising and Health Professions Advising. There are additionally many external online resources, such as and